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SBD/May 11, 2012/Franchises
Blues' Tom Stillman, Local Ownership Group Pledge To Be Guardians Of The Franchise
Published May 11, 2012
FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT: In St. Louis, Dan O'Neill writes it would "be an embellishment to say [NHL Commissioner] Gary Bettman was a driving force for Tom Stillman in negotiations," but Bettman "recognized hockey passion when he saw it, and he saw it in Stillman." Bettman said Thursday, "It was passion, perseverance and patience. This was not a simple, easy process. And Tom hung in there, more than hung in there. He was committed to getting it done. The fact that we're here today speaks volumes about what he can accomplish in difficult standards." O'Neill writes, "Maybe Stillman and his local group would not have prevailed without the support, non-partisan as it must be, of the league's commish. The city and its Blues had a friend in Bettman." Stillman said Thursday, "Gary has just been great to us, great to me. I think he's very clearly recognized the importance of local ownership and, as of several months ago, he really took on our cause and really helped to make it happen." O'Neill writes there is a "provincial flavor to the Blues that Bettman recognizes, a flavor best served by local ownership." Bettman said, "I don't think anybody should be concerned about this franchise's stability going forward because of the people that now own it" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/11). Bettman said, "We know the future is extraordinarily bright. The balance sheet looks much, much better, much, much stronger" (AP, 5/10).