SBD/November 22, 2011/Franchises

Gaglardi Takes Over Stars With Goal Of Returning Franchise To Prominence

Gaglardi spent more than a year
pursuing ownership of the Stars
Tom Gaglardi yesterday was formally introduced as Stars owner, and he now is "charged with rebooting a once-proud franchise that has lately teetered on irrelevance," according to Art Garcia of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Gaglardi "takes the keys of the club with the NHL's lowest payroll, dwindling attendance and in a three-year playoff drought." His "first order of business was to bring back Jim Lites for a third tour of duty as team president." Lites "pledged to restore the Stars' bond with hockey fans in North Texas and make good on the Gaglardi promise that the franchise will regain its 'elite' status in the NHL." Gaglardi "doesn't have immediate plans to move" to the Dallas area from Vancouver, "entrusting the day-to-day operations" to Lites and GM Joe Nieuwendyk. Gaglardi "has already had several conversations with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressing realignment and scheduling issues." Bettman and Gaglardi "first had discussions about Stars ownership in 2009" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/22). ESPN DALLAS' Mark Stepneski noted Gaglardi "spent more than a year going through the process of completing the deal for the team, which went through a bankruptcy proceeding." Bettman said, "Watching him over the last year, we have the right owner at the right time for the right market for the right franchise" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 11/21).

FILLING A LEADERSHIP VOID: In Dallas, Mike Heika writes Gaglardi "will offer the team the ability to spend money." He also "gives the team direction and the ability to fill out the sales and marketing staff." But what Gaglardi "really offers is passion." The last two seasons, with lenders and the NHL "in charge, the team on the ice has too often reflected that unattached leadership." The Stars "have lacked the extra drive to get the job done." They have played "too often before tiny crowds and couldn’t get the burst of energy when they needed it most." Fans "clearly felt that lack of passion and stayed away" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/22). Also in Dallas, Kevin Sherrington writes the "most important person he brought along, if you're a Stars fan, was Jim Lites." Lites "had been part of another group bidding on the Stars," and Gaglardi "could have advised him to beat it." But he "kept hearing that Lites was just the guy to help rebuild the fan base." Gaglardi believes that to fill seats, "they 'must get out and spread the word' about a dynamic young team" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/22).

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