According to reports out of Texas, the NHL’s Dallas Stars are attempting to file for bankruptcy and then plan on selling the club for approximately $230 million to Tom Gaglardi, a Canadian businessman. It’s expected that the NHL will support the deal since Gaglardi will be keeping the team in Dallas.

Gaglardi’s Vancouver investment company owns several businesses already, such as Sandman Hotels, Inns & Suites and Moxie’s Restaurants. The team has been up for sale for the last couple of years and it’s unlikely there will be any other bids for it. If all goes according to plan, the whole process could be completed in less than two months.

The Stars have been pretty quiet about things, but did say the franchise was working closely with the NHL and the club’s creditors as it seeks a new owner, and hopes to find one soon. The league also said it didn’t have any new information to release.

The paperwork was being finalized by the Stars and they should be filing for bankruptcy in a Delaware court on Sept.14 or 15. However, the bid by Gaglardi could attract other offers and that could complicate things. It’s believed that Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban could even be interested in the club to add to his NBA team. Cuban owns 50 per cent of the American airlines Center where the Stars and Mavericks play out of and may have ideas of owning it outright.

If there aren’t any other bids for the Stars, it appears the club’s lenders will be hit for a loss, while Gaglardi will assume the club’s unsecured liabilities, including money that’s owed to its suppliers as well as deferred pay obligations.

The Stars are currently owned by billionaire Tom Hicks and his Hicks Sports Group, but he defaulted on a large debt back in 2009. This led to the bankruptcy of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers and he also sold his share in soccer club Liverpool FC of the English Premier League. The Rangers ended up being sold in a bankruptcy auction for $593 million to a group that includes former pitcher Nolan Ryan. Hicks has owned the Stars since 1995 and brought a Stanley Cup championship to Dallas in 1999.

The NHL may have more financial difficulty on its hands as the New Jersey Devils may also file for bankruptcy in the near future and the league could also see the St. Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes sold sometime soon. During the summer, the Atlanta Flames packed up shop and moved north to Canada and ended up in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Hockey is usually hit harder than other North American professional sports leagues since the NHL doesn’t have a huge television deal in place. In addition, most hockey rinks hold only about 20,000 fans on average, which is considerably less than football and baseball.

When the Stars file for bankruptcy, they’ll be the fifth North American pro sports franchise to do so in the past two years, joining the Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), Texas Rangers, (MLB) Chicago Cubs (MLB), and Phoenix Coyotes (NHL).


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