While you most likely slept, the Canadian national paper "The Globe And Mail" and reporter David Shoalts had a very interesting bit of new info to share in terms of the ongoing sale of your Dallas Stars and how it is now down to a two group race between two western Canadian businessmen:
The next owner of the Dallas Stars will be a Canadian, according to an NHL source familiar with the sale negotiations.
The sale is now down to a two-horse race between Calgary oil man Bill Gallacher and Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi. A third group, headed by former Stars president Jim Lites and Dallas businessman Billy Quinn, which got some attention because it courted Stars hero Mike Modano, has dropped out of contention, according to two sources.
It may be a little disappointing for Stars fans to find out that the local option that featured our favorite #9 may be out of the ownership picture, but Stars fans should be very encouraged by the prospect of either Bill or Tom becoming an owner for the Stars. Both have great connections to the sport and would not be owning a team for a simple tax write off. Both men own teams in the Western Hockey League - Bill owns the Portland Winterhawks while Tom is a majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers along with NHL-ers Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, Mark Recchi and former Star Darryl Sydor.
It's almost a dream scenario for the NHL as they are a league that could use a smooth and painless franchise transaction after having dealt or still dealing with ownership issues in Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Nashville of course Phoenix. As our pal Brandon Worley over at Pro Hockey Talk points out, it's also a move that could leave Stars fans very happy:
The key words there are "deep pockets". As Hicks' spending habits started to dry up, so did the Stars ability to continue to maintain a high level of success. While there certainly some growing pains associated with the transition to Joe Nieuwendyk's and coach Marc Crawford's new system, it's seemed for the past few seasons that the Stars were just a few players away from truly being special -- especially on defense.
The Stars are currently sitting $14 million or so under the salary cap with six spots open on the roster. In reality, the team is handcuffed by an internal budget that likely limits the Stars to $10 million under the cap; a very painful proposition for fans that see a team on the cusp of making the next step.
Of course it's easy to get carried away with such good news, but we should all keep in mind this is simply a report according to unnamed sources. The Globe's David Shoalts does have a pretty good finger on the pulse of NHL ownership matters, but still as we've seen with the Rangers sale selling off the once great Tom Hicks empire can be a tricky procedure and until we get some official words from either the Stars or the NHL, we'll have to take these bits of news with a grain of salt.
And lest we forget, as good as the news is right now in early June it still probably won't matter come July when the free agent market opens as was also pointed out by Brandon:
It's highly unlikely that a change in ownership will be able to help the Stars this summer -- free agency begins in July and the board of governors still needs to vote on which ownership group they'd approve. It's more than likely that both Gaglardi and Gallacher would be easily approved, it's just a matter now of HSG and Tom Hicks deciding on the better offer.
Still the news overall is very encouraging for both the NHL in Texas and Stars fans all over.