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Dallas Stars Sale & Tom Gagliardi: Be Cautiously Optimistic

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Not much longer and we'll be done with this mess you created, Mr. Hicks.
Not much longer and we'll be done with this mess you created, Mr. Hicks.

Late last night brought us the most significant news yet - potentially - when the Globe & Mail expanded upon last week's report by stating that not only was Tom Gagliardi the leading bidder to purchase the Dallas Stars, he had now agreed to terms to purchase the team. We only have the one report as of now, and no other news outlets have backed up this latest detail, but it seems at this point where there's smoke there might be fire; and there is plenty of smoke around Tom Gagliardi's name right now.

Of course, Stars fans everywhere began to rejoice. After two seasons of absolute futility of operating with an extremely hampered budget and the Dallas Stars falling more and more into relative obscurity and mediocrity, it was some great news during an otherwise bleak time. Here is the news that many of us have been waiting for, that a person with significant personal wealth and a love for hockey would not only be willing to purchase the Stars, but had worked out the potential terms to get that deal done.

This doesn't mean we should uncork the champagne bottles just yet, however. While this is certainly one big hurdle to get through, as we all know just because he's agreed to the terms of purchasing the Stars does not mean we'll be seeing a deal become finalized anytime soon. There are still many, many steps to take and there is still a very significant chance the sale will not be final before free agency starts.

There's even the good chance that this report might not be true at all.

The first thing to consider is that the NHL already shot down the sale of the Stars once before, when the price to purchase the team was apparently far too low for the league to accept. This time around, the NHL is much more involved in the negotiations of the sale and you have to believe that if Gagliardi has indeed worked out the terms for a potential sale then the league would have agreed to them as well.

Apparently, however, Gagliardi would have to "steer the sale through bankruptcy court with the bankers" in order to make the deal final. This fact was included in Heika's report last week and was the backbone of the Globe & Mail report last night.

Yet Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner, stated that this report was "partially true and partially inaccurate" and -- of course -- would not specify which detail was which.

If I had to guess, I'd think that the sale would need to go through bankruptcy court and as of this moment, Gagliardi might not have agreed to the terms of a sale exactly like it's spelled out in the Globe & Mail report. David Shoalts cites a single source on this report, of course acting anonymously, and as we've seen with anything coming from the Dallas Stars over the past couple of years it's very likely that a single person does not have as much information as they think they do.

Last week, Mike Heika based his report on the information from two separate sources that confirmed the same facts; Tom Gagliardi had emerged as the leading bidder and the sale might have to go through bankruptcy court in order to get done. He never went as far to say that terms had been agreed upon, and he's yet to respond to this latest article either; as with anything to do with this sale, we always defer to the man closest to the team and as of now, we have zero confirmation.

Perhaps, this time, there's enough smoke that hopefully this latest news is at least partially true.

It seems, at this point, that perhaps heading to bankruptcy court will be inevitable for the sale to be accomplished. There are just too many lenders that are owed money and too many debts by Tom Hicks to make this an easy sale to finalize, and would likely need the courts to work out all the details and appease the lenders in legal proceeding to make everyone as happy as possible. 

If this is the logical path this sale is going to take, then the best possible thing that can happen is the sale gets moving forward and into the courts much sooner than later. If the Stars have any hope of getting the sale completed by July 1 and then -- hopefully -- keeping Brad Richards, then getting the bankruptcy hearings started will be in everybody's best interest.

I've stated several times over the past few weeks that the circumstances surrounding the Stars going into bankruptcy court are much different than what happened with the Texas Rangers last summer. The lenders and potential buyer are all on the same page heading in and all agree this is the course of action that must be taken; as we know, however, once the proceeding enter the court system there are no guarantees. 

One thing to note, coming from David Shoalts, is this statement he made last night on Twitter:

Sorry Leaf and Ranger fans, but if no hitches develop in Tom Gaglardi's purchase of the Stars, look for Brad Richards to stay in Dallas.

At least there is one major media writer out there that isn't blatantly adamant that Richards is gone this summer.

So, Stars fans, we have another report that adds to the information we learned last week. How much of it is true is up in the air right now, but there's enough rumblings going on right now that you have to believe that something significant is indeed underway with this sale. It's more than we've had in quite some time, and even if things aren't exactly as close to happening as it's been said they are, this is the closest we've been to this sale actually happening -- and that's the exciting part.