As it turns out, the NHL’s board of governors might have two ownership transfers to approve at its meeting June 21.
The owners will definitely vote on the sale and transfer of the Atlanta Thrashers, but a source believes the Dallas Stars sale to Vancouver businessman Tom Gagliardi could be completed soon as well. With the Phoenix and Atlanta situations resolved – at least temporarily in the case of Phoenix – the NHL is thought to be turning its attention to Dallas.
It’s believed the banks that are running the Stars and Gagliardi are deeply into negotiations that will see Gagliardi buy the team and half the lease to the American Airlines Arena in Dallas for about $160 million.
Having an owner in place for that board of governors meeting would be a boon to the Stars and would give them a chance, contrary to published reports, to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent Brad Richards before July 1. Without an owner in place, there’s virtually no way Richards will stay in Dallas.
After Dallas gets taken care of, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will then focus on the situations in New Jersey and Los Angeles. The equity fund that owns 49 percent of the Devils reportedly wants out and a buyer is being sought. And rumors that Kings majority owner Philip Anschutz also wants to sell simply won’t go away.