|A statement issued Friday by the Saskatoon Blades.|
OK. So the Saskatoon Blades have been sold. Well, they have been according to at least one report.
But, then again, Jack Brodsky, who is the WHL franchise’s majority owner, and Mike Priestner, the Edmonton-based auto dealer who may, or may not, be first in line, say a deal hasn’t been done.
Ahh, who to believe?
I’m thinking that we go with Brodsky and Priestner, who admit that they are talking. Priestner, in fact, has told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that he plans on checking back with Brodsky on Tuesday, this being a long weekend up here. (Unless I missed it, Brodsky has yet to indicate why he suddenly is interested in divesting himself of the franchise, which makes the situation all the more interesting.)
I have been told that a deal is close, which is hardly news. I also have been told that the sale price appears to be $9.8 million, and if that is the case it will make other WHL franchise owners beyond happy. That is about $3 million more than the Kamloops Blazers sold for in 2007.
Yes, Priestner was involved in that situation, too.
What follows is from a story I wrote in early August of 2007:
River City Hockey Inc. (RCH), a five-man group led by Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi and including four ex-Blazers players, made an offer of $6.1 million July 18. Under the terms of that offer, the shareholders would be bought out, the coaching staff would be retained and remaining monies after all expenses had been paid would go to the Kamloops Blazers Sports Foundation. As is standard in a lot of deals such as this, the society would terminate other front-office employees — and be liable for any severance packages. Those people then would be allowed to re-apply for the positions.
At the time, Priestner had hired former WHL commissioner Dev Dley, then a Kamloops-based lawyer, to represent him. (Dley now is a B.C. Supreme Court justice.)
According to Dley, there would be minimum disruption to the organization under Priestner’s offer.
“He wants to keep the local shareholders involved so he will keep the shareholders intact,” said Dley, adding that Priestner would purchase 55 per cent of the franchise, leaving shareholders with 45. “The end result is that the community continues to own a portion of the team and there is a guarantee of money flowing into the foundation.
“It’s the best of both worlds . . . it’s the absolute best of both worlds.”
Dley added that what Priestner has done is "put a value on the team that is more than Gaglardi's people and then offered to buy the majority of the team."
Priestner’s offer, Dley said, also is worth “more (than RCH’s), and the actual details provide a much greater return to the community and on a longer term basis.”
A week later, this appeared in a story in The Daily News:
RCH was rebuffed in an attempt to purchase the franchise for $6 million early last summer (2006). RCH, which wants to purchase 100 per cent of the operation, came back July 18 with a second offer, this one for $6,100,176.
Mike Priestner sent an offer to board members Friday — he calls it a partnership proposal — that would have him take over 51 per cent of the franchise, with the society retaining 49 per cent. Priestner is offering to pay $3,626,100, something that would place a value of $7,110,000 on the Blazers.
Of course, the Gaglardi group ended up purchasing the Blazers, paying somewhere above $6 million for the franchise. Should the Blades sell for anywhere above $9 million, the value of all WHL franchise certainly would increase.
And you may recall that True North Sports & Entertainment, which owns the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, was sniffing around not that long ago, apparently interested in purchasing a WHL franchise.
You have to wonder if they still would be interested if the price of poker now is approaching $10 million.
A second group that is hoping to purchase the Saskatoon Blades is hoping that it still is in the running. That group includes, among others, former Blades players Kelly Chase, Rhett Warrener and Dave Chartier. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.
Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix takes a look right here at the history of the Blades’ ownership and wonders why Jack Brodsky wants out and also ponders the future.
F Liam Stewart of the Spokane Chiefs has been named to the preliminary roster of Great Britain’s U-20 team that will play in the IIHF Division 1, Group B world championship. Great Britain will be playing at home, with the tournament to be held in Dumfries, Dec. 9-15. . . . Stewart, the son of legendary rocker Rod Stewart and model/actress Rachel Hunter, is one of 18 forwards on the preliminary roster. . . . The complete roster is right here.
THE COACHING GAME:
The BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers have added Dave Johnston and Brad Leeb to their coaching staff as assistants under GM/head coach Mike Vandekamp. . . . They will the void created when Michael Olson left after last season. . . . Leeb, who played four seasons with the Red Deer Rebels, retired after playing last season with the Coventry Blaze of the U.K.’s Elite league. . . . Josh Aldrich of the Nanaimo Daily News reports that Johnston also will be the assistant GM and director of business operations. . . . Aldrich has more right here.
One of the big stories of the next few months is going to involve Russia and it’s suddenly very public campaign against gays. So how did Russia get there from there? Mariam Elder of BuzzFeed explains right here.
To boycott or not to boycott the Sochi Olympic Winter Games over Russia’s anti-gay stance, that is the question. Dave Zirin, from grantland.com, states his case right here.
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