It was rumored recently that there were as many as three groups with "serious" interest in purchasing the Dallas Stars. The first, it was revealed, was William "Billy" Quinn, Jim Lites, and to some lesser financial extent: Mike Modano. Quinn is the money man in such a group and spends his days with a "Natural Gas Partners" based in Irving.
Now yet another William ("Bill") involved with fossil fuels is starting to find his name mentioned when discussing the Tom Hicks' sale of the beleaguered Stars. That man is Bill Gallacher.
Gallacher is described in various places on the web as "Canadian Oil Magnate," "Calgary Billionaire," and here in the Globe and Mail as "Oil tycoon." That February report by Mr. Shoalts was the first time I saw Gallacher's name, but as usual, when some party prints "American Airlines Arena" (which of course, is in Miami) rather than "American Airlines Center," I tend to lose interest. Today I saw it yet again on OregonLive.com, here. They seem to indicate that ESPN's Pierre LeBrun is the main source of this quiet rumor.
LeBrun rather boldly states it as fact on ESPN.com:
Another important factor to remember is there are other interested suitors for the Stars, including Calgary oil magnate Bill Gallacher.
Mike Heika also mentioned his name back in October, here.
So if this indeed is a serious possibility, we must ask ourselves: Who the heck is Bill Gallacher? ...
He owns the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. Their website has a bio on him, including this bit:
Gallacher is the President of Avenir Capital Corporation, a private equity firm that invests in new and existing junior companies. An engineer by profession, Gallacher was an entrepreneur in the oil patch and brings experience in the financial markets and corporate structuring. Avenir Capital’s core holdings have been built on a business model that includes a solid management team, a strategic business plan and the capital to execute the plan. Currently Gallacher sits on the board of directors of Avenir Diversified Income Trust, Athabasca Oil Sands Corp., Black Diamond Income Fund, Maxim Power Corp., Mahalo Energy Ltd. and Great Plains Exploration.
Gallacher is a life-long hockey fan, and owns season tickets for both the NHL’s Calgary Flames and the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. Gallacher is also a part owner of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers.
He's a Calgary Flames season ticket holder, huh?
Jim Lites used to help run the Stars FO, and this guy is a Flames fan (allegedly). There seems little question that a local Dallas based group would be the first choice of all us here, but there will come a time when the proverbial beggars cannot be choosers. That I have seen this man described as "billionaire" on the internet might win my vote right there. This team needs money.
Then again, we could probably describe Mr. Hicks as a billionaire as well, couldn't we?
Speaking of our friend Tom Hicks, Sports Business Journal did a feature on him this weekend that you can find here.
Meanwhile, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News had this to say about the sale:
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said last week that the Stars are a very different deal than the Texas Rangers, that the sale is proceeding on schedule and that Hicks is in charge of that sale. He also said the Stars do not owe the NHL anything and have not borrowed from the NHL, as the Rangers have done from MLB.
And added later that Mike Modano could not be part of an ownership group and play at the same time, no matter what Super Mario did in Pittsburgh. Visit Mike's blog for the details.
Upon reading the quote from the Deputy Commissioner, I got excited about the phrase "on schedule." Then I realized that I don't know what the schedule is. Still, Stars fans have to be happy (and dubious and skeptical, sure, but mostly happy) that things seem to be happening behind the scenes, quietly, just like they said they'd be.