While we sit and wait patiently for the truly official press release/announcement that we hope is coming today (could be Monday morning, this new cycle today on the Friday before Thanksgiving is pretty dead...) we had a Steve Ott show on The Ticket with Bob and Dan (Bob Sturm was kind enough to join us on the podcast this week and discuss ownership at length, make sure you listen to that here) and Otter was excited to get back on the ice tonight but just as thrilled, if not more, about the Stars finally turning the page on the ownership front.
"I have not but it's gotta be pretty exciting for not only the Stars fans but everybody in our organization," said Ott when asked if he had met Gaglardi yet. "It's a big big day for the Dallas Stars."
When asked to elaborate Ott recalled the days of his youth here in Dallas and what he knows the city can be from a hockey standpoint.
"The first 6 years of my career we had a top 3 payroll in the NHL, we had a sold out building every night...it was an extremely fun hockey town and it was awesome to come down to Dallas as a young Canadian hockey player and see how amazing hockey is in Dallas. I think that really showed the true colors of what can happen when the organization is run to it's potential."
"When the organization is run to it's potential." Powerful words as Stars fans contemplate the future while the shadow of the past dissipates. Tom Hicks ran the organization to it's full potential for a very long time and that should not be forgotten, but big missteps in recent seasons to go along with unfortunate economic circumstances took their toll on the team as well as Hicks' now irreparable reputation in sports.
More thoughts from Ott after the jump...
Ott was complimentary of the way the team has handled the difficulty while at the same time looking forward to how additional resources might be applied.
"Obviously the last few years there's been....not cutting corners [necessarily] because we've been treated first class no matter what. Through our plane, through the hotels, you name it, nothing has changed for me as a player, but the extra payroll, the extra guy at the trade deadline...things that can improve your team give Joe Nieuwendyk that much more leverage to be able to do something else when he talks to an owner first hand instead of the creditors."
It's refreshing to hear the players finally able to speak out about this a little bit. Ott is a great ambassador of hockey here and his enthusiasm was quite palpable over the airwaves, in case you missed it. He was delighted to be asked and delighted to answer. We've heard for literally years now how it's been kept away from the players and out of the locker room, but these guys are no dummies. Everyone's been looking forward to this day.
"To have a guy that is extremely excited to own us now, this is a new ball game," continued Ott. "You're going to get the marketing level back where guys will be marketed throughout the city... the people in-area, the jobs in our front office, all of those things have taken a little bit of a beating the last couple of years because of the payroll [situation]."
He hits on all of the key things there that we hope will be addressed in the short term, and none of that is personnel related in the locker room. The marketing is key for this team and it might not get you excited about their playoff chances, but it's absolutely necessary for rebuilding the franchise and the fanbase.
Also mentioned are the in-arena people and the jobs in the front office, which is where my heart goes on a day like this. When you're around the team a lot you get to know how many of what kind of people should be where at the arena, doing what. That work force has diminished greatly over the last several seasons first, because of (supposedly) budget cutbacks (this has been told to me by many AAC employees during the games over the last 18 months or so) and most recently because attendance does not warrant staffing as many folks as you would for a sellout every night. These people will all be glad to think that better times are on the way, especially in light of the fact that the NBA season is all but canceled.
As for the front office, we've made a lot of friends (or at least we like to think so) over the last couple of years and we couldn't be happier for them. A lot of people have been waiting a long time for some good news and now they've got it. I was talking to a ticket representative yesterday who sounded just as excited about the new owner as Steve Ott did. It's a good thing from top to bottom.
"Now it's a new ball game, there's excitement back in our organization, and we have a guy that wants to win the Stanley Cup, and we're going to be excited once he announces his press conference for sure."
The fans are right there with you, Otter. "Excitement back" in the organization is a beautiful, beautiful thing.