By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The Internet being what it is these days, Tom Gaglardi’s name was all over the sports world on Monday.
It began late Sunday night after The Globe and Mail reported that Gaglardi, the majority owner of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, and Bill Gallacher, a Calgary businessman who owns the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, were the last men standing in pursuit of the ownership of the NHL’s Dallas Stars.
“The next owner of the Dallas Stars will be a Canadian, according to an NHL source familiar with the sale negotiations,” wrote Dave Shoalts of The Globe and Mail. “The sale is now down to a two-horse race between Calgary oil man Bill Gallacher and Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi. A third group, headed by former Stars president Jim Lites and Dallas businessman Billy Quinn, which got some attention because it courted Stars hero Mike Modano, has dropped out of contention, according to two sources.”
The Shoalts report spread like wildfire across the Internet and it wasn’t long before Gaglardi’s name was all over the place.
On Monday afternoon, ESPN.com reported that a source had told it that “the sale of the Dallas Stars is down to two main potential buyers” — Gaglardi and Gallacher.
Gaglardi, however, isn’t talking, telling The Daily News that “I don’t comment on stories like this.”
Gaglardi is the president of Vancouver-based Northland Properties, the parent company to Sandman Hotels, Denny’s Restaurants of Canada, Moxie’s Restaurants, Shark Clubs and various other businesses in the hospitality industry, as well as real estate.
He owns 51 per cent of the Blazers, with the rest shared evenly by Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor, all of them former Blazers and current NHL players.
Gaglardi has attempted to purchase at least one other NHL franchise.
Gaglardi, along with Ryan Beedie, who is president of the Beedie Group, a real estate developer based in Vancouver, tried to buy the Vancouver Canucks, a bid that ultimately ended up in court after Francesco Aquilini bought the team.
A year ago, there was speculation that Gaglardi was attempting to purchase the Atlanta Thrashers, whose ownership has been in turmoil for a while now, and move the team to Hamilton.
Gaglardi has never offered public comment on the rumours involving the Thrashers.
True to form, he has chosen not to comment on anything to do with a possible purchase of the Stars whose owner, Tom Hicks, is working to reshape his business empire.
It could be, however, that Gaglardi really doesn’t have a whole lot of interest in the Stars.
One source familiar with the situation told The Daily News on Monday that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been pursuing Gaglardi, rather than it being the other way around.
Gaglardi, the source told The Daily News, “doesn't really like the Dallas situation or actually any team in NHL. Bettman has been trying to get Tom involved big time.”
At this point, the source stated, “Tom is lukewarm” to NHL ownership.
“He actually really loves the Blazers and is content,” the source continued. “I’m not saying an NHL team that makes (sense) at some point for him won't be there. But he's not pursuing them. (The) league (is) coming to him.”
Time will tell, of course, if Gaglardi is interested in the NHL at the ownership level.
In the meantime, he continues to work at getting the Blazers back on track.
With that in mind, he will travel to Calgary today and, as the franchise’s president and governor, take part in the WHL’s annual general meeting.