NHL Approves Stillman Bid To Buy Blues, Close Of Sale Expected Today
The NHL BOG yesterday "unanimously approved" a bid to purchase the Blues made by a group of St. Louis investors led by team minority Owner Tom Stillman, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The final step "is the closing of the sale, which is scheduled for today." Stillman, who has been a minority owner since '07, will be "introduced at a news conference Thursday at Scottrade Center." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is "expected to be on hand." Stillman's group "will become the eighth owner of the Blues since the franchise's inception," following Dave Checketts/SCP Worldwide ('06-present), Bill Laurie ('99-'06), Kiel Center Partners ('91-99), Mike Shanahan ('86-91), Harry Ornest ('83-86), Ralston Purina ('77-83) and the Salomon family ('66-77). Stillman "will pay an estimated" $130M for the team, which was purchased in '06 for $150M (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/9). In St. Louis, Jeff Gordon wrote Blues President of Hockey Operations John Davidson "was Checketts' guy," and the Checketts-Stillman relationship became "chilly." Gordon asks, "Will there still be a place for [Davidson] in the grand scheme of things? Let's hope so, because this is the man who devised and executed the plan that brought the Blues from dead last in the NHL to the Elite Eight." Under Davidson, the franchise also "engaged disenchanted fans and drew them back into the building" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/9).
A LITTLE HELP PLEASE: In Winnipeg, Gary Lawless writes prospective Coyotes Owner Greg Jamison "wants to negotiate a 20-year lease with a bloated arena management fee" that would have the city of Glendale "continue to prop up" the club. Before the Jets' relocation from Atlanta last summer, Winnipeg residents "were asked to put their cards on the table and end the suspense over whether they would support the NHL." Doing the same in Phoenix "right now would seem smart except Bettman knows what the answer would be and likely doesn't want to hear it." Lawless: "Blame it on bad management. Blame it on bad arena location. Blame it on anything you want." Lawless adds, "None of that changes the reality that has the City of Glendale and its municipal government are clinging to the Coyotes despite the obvious financial hardship brought upon its citizens." If the Coyotes are "going to stay in Arizona, someone has to help." A show of interest "like Winnipeg's Drive to 13,000 from a year ago would let us all know if that help is there" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/9).