Tom Gaglardi and Northland Properties, the parent company that owns the Dallas Stars, announced the intention today to purchase the Texas Stars franchise and take over operations of the Cedar Park Center. Currently Hicks Cedar Park LLC, operated by Mack H. Hicks, owns and operates the team.
The Stars have made it a focus point the past five years to create a great highway of development between Cedar Park and Dallas for the players in the organization and this is just another step in growing the Stars brand of hockey even further. Gaglardi has been interested in purchasing the AHL franchise for some time but likely needed finances for the Dallas franchise to stabilize before moving forward with this decision.
The Texas Stars are the recent winners of the Calder Cup and the past few seasons have created a culture of success that has turned the organization into one of the premier teams in the AHL. After a bit of a hiccup a few years ago the structure of development between the organizations has been streamlined to the extent that there is rarely a pause for players coming from the AHL to play for Dallas in an NHL call up, and this will only further that mission.
The purchase of the Texas Stars will have the biggest impact on the business side, however, and we could see some front office turnover in Cedar Park after the organization is purchased. The Stars have seen some grand success in Cedar Park the past five years but the business has struggled at times, specifically with sponsorship and consistent attendance -- this should only bolster those efforts further.
The press release:
FRISCO, Texas - Northland Properties Corporation, the parent holding company of the National Hockey League's (NHL) Dallas Stars, announced today the intent to purchase the Texas Stars, Dallas' development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL), including the operations of the city-owned Cedar Park Center from Hicks Cedar Park LLC.
"The Cedar Park Center is the premier multi-use entertainment facility in Central Texas located in one of the fastest growing cities in the United States," President of Northland Properties Corporation and Dallas Stars Owner Tom Gaglardi said. "The impact that the Hicks Family has had in growing the sport of hockey in the state of Texas over the last two decades is immeasurable and they have done a tremendous job in both building the Texas Stars and operating the Cedar Park Center. In that same spirit, they have been a tremendous partner through this process and we now look forward to engaging with the city of Cedar Park to turn our intent to purchase into a reality."
"It has been a privilege and honor for our family to own and operate the Texas Stars for the last five seasons," said Mack H. Hicks, Managing Partner and Governor of Hicks Cedar Park LLC. "The Cedar Park Center is a world-class venue that is making a huge impact on the area. We're extremely proud of the on-ice success in our time, with the biggest achievement winning the 2014 Calder Cup championship. Our partnership with the Dallas Stars was vital to that success, and working towards this deal, we are confident that they would continue to build on the foundation and legacy that our team has built in Cedar Park."
Cedar Park Center holds 6,863 seats for hockey, 7,200 for basketball and up to 8,700 for concerts and other events. The state-of-the-art arena has 24 suites (including four party suites) and 545 club seats with a private club lounge.
"The City of Cedar Park has enjoyed a trusted partnership with Hicks Cedar Park LLC and the Hicks family in developing and operating the Cedar Park Center the last five years. The City appreciates all of their contributions in building the championship winning Texas Stars and operating a very successful Cedar Park Center. Both are a source of tremendous pride in our community," said Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell. "The City is excited about the potential in partnering with Northland Properties Corporation and their intent on solidifying the Texas Stars' status as the premier franchise in the AHL and cementing the Cedar Park Center as the top entertainment venue in the Greater Austin area."
The building hosts more than 130 events per year including sporting events, concerts, and family shows. Cedar Park Center is home to the 2014 AHL Calder Cup champion Texas Stars. The building also serves as the homecourt to the Austin Toros, the NBA Development League affiliate of the 2014 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. Since opening in September of 2009, the Cedar Park Center has hosted world-class performers and events such as George Strait, Rascal Flatts, Alan Jackson, Tool, Jason Aldean, Def Leppard, Eric Church, Cirque du Soleil and Disney On Ice.
"The Cedar Park Center is an extremely attractive venue that entertainers and teams want to perform in," Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites said. "We would remain committed to providing the Greater Austin area with top-flight entertainment options, whether it is concerts, variety shows, basketball or Texas Stars hockey."
In their first five seasons in existence, all of which have been as the AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars, the Texas Stars have proved to be one of the most successful franchises in the entire AHL and captured the team's first Calder Cup championship in 2014. The club has made two trips to the Calder Cup Finals (2010, 2014), qualifying for the playoffs in four of their five seasons (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014) and have posted 40-win campaigns four times. During the 2013-14 regular season, Texas posted a franchise record 48 wins, claiming the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL's regular season points champion, as well as the John D. Chick Trophy as the West Division Champions. Many of the Dallas Stars young core of NHL players have spent time skating for the Texas Stars including captain Jamie Benn, defenseman Brenden Dillon, center Cody Eakin, forward Ryan Garbutt and forward Antoine Roussel.
"Some of the most successful organizations in the NHL own and operate their AHL affiliate and we look to bring that same organizational synergy between Dallas and Texas," Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill said. "The Texas Stars have been a crucial part in the training and development of our young players over the last five seasons. It is important to continue the process of producing NHL-caliber players, coaches and front office staff at the American Hockey League level."
The Dallas Stars and Texas Stars enjoy one of the closest NHL-to-AHL franchise distances in the Western Conference, with only 184 miles between American Airlines Center and Cedar Park Center. Upon completion of the purchase, the Dallas Stars would become one of 14 NHL clubs to own their AHL affiliate: Buffalo Sabres (Rochester Americans), Calgary Flames (Adirondack Flames), Edmonton Oilers (Oklahoma City Barons), Los Angeles Kings (Manchester Monarchs), Minnesota Wild (Iowa Wild), New Jersey Devils (Albany Devils), New York Islanders (Bridgeport Tigers), New York Rangers (Hartford Wolf Pack), Pittsburgh Penguins (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins), San Jose Sharks (Worcester Sharks), Toronto Maple Leafs (Toronto Marlies), Vancouver Canucks (Utica Comets) and Winnipeg Jets (St. John's IceCaps).