Reports surfaced yesterday from Dallas Morning News reporter Mike Heika that Tom Gaglardi, a Vancouver businessman, has become the latest leading candidate on the carousel to buy the Dallas Stars.
The 43-year-old Gaglardi is the current president and heir to a billion-dollar Canadian hotel and restaurant chain called Northland Properties. He is the majority owner in the Kamloops Blazers (that's an interesting name), a team in the Western Hockey League andd was part of a team that tried to buy the Vancouver Canucks when they were up for sale in 2004. Hockey seems to be pretty high up on his priority list so that would a welcome change from the Tom Hicks era.
The Stars are currently "owned" by a group of lenders that took on Tom Hicks' debt. They also took over the Texas Rangers, who were eventually sold last year. The Rangers were sold in a bankrupty hearing last year, and it's just about certain that they same will with the Stars. It's not a fun process to go through but it's necessary so that the owner doesn't have the mound of debts on his plate.
If nothing else, the news is encouraging because it seems there is some motivation and urgency in the sale of the Stars. The sooner an owner can be found, the sooner the Stars can seriously start trying to find players, and retain their own, for next season. It's especially important if Dallas wants to re-sign Brad Richards, who has come out and said that he will not sign unless the team gets an owner. Richards went through a similar thing when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning team that got into money trouble and started to trade players, including himself, from a team that could have been a dynasty.
There are still other prospective owners in the process, most notably Allen Americans owner Doug Miller, but interests levels are tough to gauge until the process gets further down the road and the bidding war really starts. Stars fan can only hope that this isn't a little red herring and serious negotiations start as soon as possible.