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Dallas Stars fall into Canadian ownership

Brad Richards of the Dallas Stars, pictured here during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 5, 2011, is now playing for a new owner.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Dallas Stars are now officially in Canadian hands.



On Friday morning, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., approved a pre-packaged bankruptcy deal that saw the team handed over to Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi. ESPN.com has all the details: http://espn.go.com/dallas/nhl/story/_/id/7250370/bankruptcy-court-approves-tom-gaglardi-own-dallas-stars



The NHL announced Friday afternoon its board of governors unanimously approved Gaglardi as the new owner of the team.

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"Dallas hockey fans have been waiting a long time for today," said Jim Rossiter, a partner in the law firm Baker and McKenzie, who led Gaglardi's acquisition team.  "Tom loves hockey, has roots in Dallas and is in the hospitality business. This is a great day for hockey in Dallas."



According to those familiar with Gaglardi's plans, he feels the most important thing to do now, since Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk has the team on the rise, is to win back the fans who left the team in droves over the past several years. The feeling is former owner Tom Hicks alienated them in several ways, from sticking long-time season-ticket holders with big price increases when the team moved from Reunion Arena to the American Airlines Center to shoving those who wouldn't pay into way worse seats.



Then, when the fan base eroded, the Stars began heavy discounts on tickets and lots of giveaways, which dropped them among the NHL's worst teams in producing revenue.



The personnel move to watch for is president. Tony Tavares, a veteran NHL executive, was brought in by Hicks' creditors and the NHL to run the Stars but he is expected to depart any day.



Gaglardi's people have said there will be a new president but haven't offered any candidates. However, an ESPN.com report says former Stars president Jim Lites, who was not successful in putting together a bid for the team, may return to his old job.

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