First allow me the honor to welcome you once again to the North Texas area. Your ownership, in a brief time, has injected an excitement and energy within the Dallas Stars organization that has been missing for quite some time. Even in the playoff run back in 2008, a cloud hung over the team as the financial blunder that is Tom Hicks started to gain steam.
With that said, you jumped on board a ship that has many holes and is starting to sink, in terms of ownership within the NHL. You took the time to address your team’s fans expressing your displeasure that a deal could not be reached amongst the league and the players association.
Then, in what I feel is a brilliant move on your part, you began to highlight the positives you have brought to the Dallas Stars, with the bolstering of the front office, the addition of a sure hall of famer and one of the most prolific scorers from the Phoenix Coyotes.
You note that you continue to address the fan experience at the American Airlines Center and that while a major sticking point that is giving the owners a black eye during this dispute is ticket prices, you point out that the Stars actually lowered prices across the board.
Mr. Gaglardi, you are obviously an intelligent business man. You can no doubt see that there are teams that are wining and dining on champagne and caviar while there are teams on ramen noodle budgets. Being one of those teams that doesn’t have the luxury of a large hockey market, I can’t imagine you don’t view the players association offer to reduce the speed of their salary increases with a significant increase in how the upper echelon teams share their revenue as a positive choice.
The rich continue to get richer; however, they have nothing to show for it. New York Rangers…Toronto Maple Leafs…Philadelphia Flyers. None of these teams have won a Stanley Cup in the last decade. In the last ten years, you’ve seen Carolina, Tampa Bay and the Anaheim Ducks all win cups. Carolina, Anaheim, Calgary and Edmonton have all lost in the finals.
The proof is on the list of Cup winners: you don’t have to spend to or above the cap to win. But the Stars situation the last four years have proven you at least have to be able to play with the middle of the pack teams to compete. Free agents need to want to come to your team, and since everyone is in the business to make money, those free agents are lured by the finances of contracts.
I know you are hindered by a league imposed gag-order (according to Napoleon Bettman-part, its bylaw 17.17). You are not allowed to speak your voice in regards to agreeing or disagreeing, which is what I feel is in your heart.
You barely discussed the negotiations in your letter, because I feel that you have a firm opinion on the subject and in the event that you are in dissent, you will speak your mind and heart and will find yourself in hot water. So, with that, I will thank you for being one of the first to address your fans directly. I will applaud you for not only having a plan in effect to not only refund ticket holders for un-played games, but 5% of the ticket value (the highest interest payback in the league). You have shown that you truly do care about your fan base and you will not only do what you need to do to keep your core happy, but entice others to come aboard.
Proud to be a Stars fan.