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Stars agreed to sell team to Vancouver businessman, pending bankruptcy deal

DALLAS - The Dallas Stars signed an agreement to sell the team to Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi and filed a prepackaged bankruptcy plan Thursday to help facilitate the transaction.

The deal is subject to a court-approved auction and NHL approval.

In a release, the Stars said the prepackaged Chapter 11 plan has support of the NHL and the team's lenders, who voted to accept it before filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington.

NHL Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the filing Thursday culminated "months of co-operative effort" by the league, the team and its lenders, and the operators of the American Airlines Center, the team's home arena.

"It represents an extremely positive step toward what we expect will be an orderly transition to new ownership for the Dallas Stars," Daly said.

A court hearing is scheduled for Monday, when the Stars are expected to present customary motions for court approval.

The Texas Rangers, who were also once owned by Tom Hicks, went through a similar process before that sale was completed last year to a group headed by Nolan Ryan two months before they went to their first World Series.

A big difference between the two plans is that creditors opposed the prepackaged deal filed by the Rangers.

The Rangers' sale was stalled for months by creditors' concerns over Hicks' financially strapped ownership group. The team was eventually put up for a court auction, in which Ryan's group outbid Jim Crane and Mark Cuban and finally got the team nine months after entering into exclusive negotiations with Hicks.

The Stars said their prepackaged plan was the result of negotiations involving input from the league and the team's senior secured lenders.

Because the plan has already garnered substantial support from lenders, the Stars expect to expeditiously move through the legal process. They hope for a hearing in 60 to 75 days to confirm the plan and proposed sale, allowing the team to exit bankruptcy and complete the sale of the franchise by the end of November.

"This is a significant step toward completing the transition in ownership," Stars president Tony Tavares said. "We are pleased that our lenders have shown substantial support for the plan and the sale process, but the Dallas Stars are focused on one thing: hockey."

The Stars open training camp on Friday.

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