A Couple Ownership Updates
photo © 2008 Dave Herholz | more info (via: Wylio)
Before the title gets you overly excited, unfortunately, there isn’t any major news to report regarding new owners and the St. Louis Blues. However, it does seem increasingly likely that 1) the team will have a new owner prior to the 2011-12 season and 2) the team will remain in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has ran two articles recently covering the topic of the change in ownership and both have painted a pretty positive light on the situation at hand.
First, an article from April 22nd where Jeremy Rutherford explained that Tom Stillman’s group, which had made a failed offer to purchase the Blues back when only 70% was up for sale, will likely continue in his efforts to secure the team. Stillman’s previous offer of around $100 million was originally rejected by Checketts back in March before the team was officially placed for sale.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this article aside from the fact that Stillman still intends to move forward with plans to buy the team, are the actual members of his group.
Rutherford reports that U.S. Senator John Danforth, Steve Maritz of Maritz Inc and Bill DeWitt, president of the Cardinals are all members of the group led by Stillman. For now, this group appears to be the clear front runners as we haven’t really heard anything else about any other interested parties at this time. That’s not to say there aren’t other potential buyers, but that they have remained quiet until now.
Secondly, an article from April 23rd insists that the NHL doesn’t have any concerns about the future of the Blues in St. Louis. Realistically, there likely weren’t very many (or any) serious concerns that the Blues might leave the St. Louis area, but the NHL and commissioner Gary Bettman have offered some reassurance.
The article also points out that other franchises including the Dallas Stars and Atlanta Thrashers are also for sale, as well as the situation involving the NHL-run Phoenix Coyotes which appears yet to be decided.
Overall, the main points to take away from these articles is that the Blues appear to be on the right track to securing a new owner. Currently, a deal looks likely before the 2011-12 season. Also, the main group that has shown interest is composed of several individuals who would like to keep the team right where it is.
As for what ownership limbo might mean to the current group of free agents the team has on its roster as well as what moves/acquisitions it might make this summer is up for debate. We can safely bet that there won’t be any major purchases while cornerstone players will be retained until a new player steps in.