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Sources: Gretzky not close to buying Stars Add to ...

Both a banking source familiar with the Dallas Stars sale process and a representative of Wayne Gretzky say the hockey icon has not contacted the NHL team or the investment banking company handling the sale about a purchase.

The banking source said a large number of potential buyers have expressed interest in the team but that does not include Gretzky, his friend Brett Hull, a Stars executive, or Stars centre Mike Modano. A report from the Dallas Observer, a weekly newspaper, said Gretzky was joining forces with Hull and Modano to buy the Stars from owner Tom Hicks. Modano said Monday he is not part of any potential purchase.

While the banking source said Gretzky "can raise money," he has not expressed an interest in buying the team. The sale is being handled by Galatioto Sports Partners of New York, one of the Stars' major creditors.

Darren Blake, Gretzky's agent, also said Gretzky has not contacted anyone about buying the team.

"Wayne has not had any conversations with Mr. Hicks or the Stars regarding the sale of the team," Blake said in an e-mail message. However, Blake added that "Wayne gets investment opportunities presented to him every day. The Dallas Stars situation is no different."

The banking source said he would not be surprised if someone had approached Gretzky about putting together a group to try and buy the team but there was no word of any concrete plans.

One person whose name surfaced a few months ago in connection with buying the Stars, Calgary oil man Bill Gallacher, said Monday that he has not contacted anyone about the team either. Gallacher, the chairman of Athabasca Oil Sands Corporation, said he is "too busy with my day job," to look at the Stars.

"If you ask me today, probably not," Gallacher said, adding that he is tied up with a business transaction involving his oil interests but might make an enquiry about the Stars in the future. Gallacher also owns the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League.

However, the sale of the Stars could be wrapped up fairly quickly even though a buyers' prospectus has yet to be released on the team. A source said the deal could be completed by the end of June because the list of suitors includes "real guys who can write the cheque."

With a report from Eric Duhatschek

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