Thursday, August 12, 2010

Stars Hope to Avoid the Same Circus with Ownership Change

With the Texas Rangers Ownership mess now behind us, the thing that Stars fans are hoping now is that the same thing doesn't happen to the Dallas Stars. For many reasons, the Stars can't afford an ownership mess as the team has missed the playoffs the last 2 years and with sagging ratings, add on the little trust with coach Marc Crawford and Joe Nieuwendyk.

And very few high level prospects in the Stars system, it would make things a lot worse for the Stars then for the Rangers as they are currently running away with the American League West with a month-and-a-half left in the baseball regular season.

Stars Fans want to see success and they need it more badly then the Rangers or even the Mavericks right now. If the ownership doesn't get done by the start of the season like Tom Hicks said it would. It could be a Tom Hicks dejavu with the Stars Ownership as the possible owners are down to 2 as the Fox News Corp. has officially withdrawn from the ownership bidding process as Mike Heika confirmed in his exclusive this morning.

In an email from FSN VP Chris Belliti to Mike Heika gave him a one line statement that read.

"Fox will not be submitting a bid for ownership for the Dallas Stars."

Belliti believes that Fox News Corp. Rupert Murdoch gotten out of the bid process and just wants to focus on keeping the Television Rights. The Rights don't expire till the 2013-2014 season, so it's not a high profile issue right now.

Here's the Full Piece from the Exclusive

The Stars are currently down to 2 with both having ties in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Bill Gallacher (Portland Winterhawks) and Tom Gaglardi (Kamloops Blazers). Both owners have taken these teams back to their former glory - and in the Portland Winterhawks - saved from them relocation as rumors of the team moving to places like Vancouver Island and Boise, Idaho were rampart just a couple of years ago.

I didn't want to see FSN get involved in the ownership, in many instances like this the ownership group usually don't care about the team. It would allow the team to sink into oblivion and just sees it as an investment and won't give the coaching staff and GM the players and know how to help the team be more success. Especially in a situation where they have been out of the playoffs the last 2 years and I wouldn't be surprised to make it 3 in a row with the team being in its current shape.

The only prominent wildcard out there right now is Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban. Heika believes that Cuban is not interested right now, but with how close he was to getting the Texas Rangers, he should never be counted out when it comes down to major sports in this town.

Personally, I would love to see Mark Cuban get into the fray here, with how the NHL has kind of sagging recently in the national and international spotlight in some places. He would have some interesting ideas to give commissioner Gary Bettman to spice up the game both on and off the ice and to help get the NHL back on the spotlight and more national television exposure.

Regardless of who the new owner or ownership group is, he needs to put a lot of pressure on Marc Crawford and Joe Nieuwendyk to put a strong team on the ice and not see another year of missing the playoffs and letting the team and the fans down. Stars fans are angry and many would like to see them both go once when the ownership comes in.

However, my take is lets see how good they are when they have the monetary resources and the ability to get be more aggressive on getting high profile players. If they don't, then it would be time to let both of them go and bring in a coach and GM.

To me, it's not critically important again yet. But to me, if we don't see much movement before the start of NHL Training Camp which on September 17 in Charlottentown, PEI. That's when I think when fans will really want to see something done as the season is getting ready to start.

Here's an article that Mike Heika wrote on Tuesday about the Ownership Situation.

While the completion of the sale of the Rangers shouldn't directly impact the Stars, the process the Rangers went through has been educational, those who are running the Stars sale say.

"I think the biggest thing is we learned a lot with the Rangers, and we're trying y hard not to make some of the same mistakes," Stars owner Tom Hicks Said. "In that regard, we do expect it to go more smoothly with the Stars."

Hicks said he thinks the deal can get done before the start of the season on October 8, and the NHL Agrees. There are three legitimate bidders, they have all gone through the diligence and should be ready to put in bids pretty soon. However, Hicks, and the NHL and brooker Sal Galatioto have confirmed that all parties have signed confidentiality agreements and that there will not be talk of specifics about the deal.

While it has been confirmed through sources that the three potential buyers are News Corp, Portland Winterhawks Owner Bill Gallacher and Kamloops Blazers Owner Tom Gaglardi, the actual negotiations process should be different then it was with the Rangers. That negotiation was done in a public bankruptcy hearing, so fans got to see which bidders were bidding what. The Stars sale is a private one, so the bids will happen behind the scenes and probably will not be released unless the information is leaked.

Because the relationship between Hicks and Major League Baseball was strained, the sale was delayed and was eventually pushed into a bankruptcy court. Currently the relationship between Hicks and the NHL is a solid one, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, and the two sides have agreed on Galatioto Sports Partners as the broker in the deal. That's important, because GSP is the second leading lien holder behind Monarch Investment Group, which holds the largest debt for Hicks Sports Group.

The thought there is GSP will be able to broker a deal that is fair for the lenders, because it is one for the lenders. However, there is some concern whetever the lenders can all agree, because there were moments in the Rangers Sale when they lenders were not on the same page. In fact, the relationship between the lenders could be the biggest wildcards in this negotiation.

The bankruptcy protection granted by the NHL by the loan covenants agreed to by the lenders will expire this month. When it does, the lenders could take the Stars into bankruptcy.

That's not currently the plan, especially when it comes to the NHL or the Stars. When the Phoenix Coyotes went to bankruptcy court, Ontario Businessman Jim Balsillie tried to put the Riders on the sale of the team that would allow the Coyotes to move to Hamilton, Ontario. The courts eventually decided a league could not be forced to move a team, but the decision cost time and money. The NHL eventually bought the Coyotes and is still seeking a permanent buyer.

That's not something anyone wants to happen with the Stars. The League, the Stars and the lenders would like to hold the auction without needing bankruptcy court. All would like the highest possible sale price, and buyers would like a fair shot at ownership. That's the plan right now. Whoever ends up owning the Stars, Hicks said he believes they will be in good shape moving forward.

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