Vancouver Sun article (Winter Hawks find new owner)October 16 2008 at 8:01 AM
No score for this post
|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
Winter Hawks find new owner
Calgary businessman also part owner of B.C. junior team
Kristen Odland, Canwest News Service
Published: Thursday, October 16, 2008
CALGARY -- Ron Robison was more than willing to find someone to turn around the Portland Winter Hawks.
And finally, the commissioner of the Western Hockey League feels like the foundering club is in the right hands.
The league made it official at Wednesday's WHL Board of Governors meeting, approving the sale of the franchise to Calgary businessman Bill Galacher of Avenir Capital Corp.
"We were very concerned with the way it was being operated," Robison said at an afternoon press conference. "There was no sign of real recovery in terms of the on-ice performance and the fan interest in the team.
"Consequently, there needed to be a change."
Galacher, who is currently part owner of the British Columbia Hockey League's Nanaimo Clippers junior team, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
In the past three years, Portland won 60 of 216 regular-season games while compiling the league's worst record last year at 11-58-2-1.
And after only three home games of this WHL season, the Winter Hawks were headed in another downward spiral, averaging 2,548 fans -- down from 4,460 from the year before.
Going into Wednesday's game in Spokane, they were 1-6.
"Both on and off the ice, they have major hurdles to overcome," agreed Robison. "I think with the right people managing both the business areas of the operations, they can turn around.
"We know Portland's a good market. It's been successful in the past, there's no reason why it can't be successful in the future."
The sale will close later this month, pending a purchase agreement with the current ownership group which includes majority owner Jim Goldsmith who bought the team in March 2006.
Robison added that Gallacher wants to keep the club in Portland and is looking for local ownership groups to invest.
Meanwhile, after 42 years in the WHL, the Brandon Wheat Kings will finally host their first Memorial Cup championship in 2010.
In the process, they beat out other bidding cities including the WHL's Everett Silvertips and Kelowna Rockets.
"One of the criteria for the selection was the ability to gauge the competitiveness of the host team," said Wheat Kings governor Kelly McCrimmon. "Obviously with this news, we'll work from now until then to make sure we're a real good hockey club in May ."
To contend for the bid, the club approved a $5-million facelift to the Keystone Centre which will be spent on the addition of luxury suites, a video scoreclock, another press box, new lighting and dressing room renovations.
This year's Canadian Hockey League championship is scheduled for May 15-24 in Rimouski, Que.
© The Vancouver Sun 2008
- Edmonton Journal article (Pair of late goals sink Oil Kings) - N. W. Bruin on Oct 16, 8:03 AM
- Calgary Herald article (Hitmen rough up Cougars) - N. W. Bruin on Oct 16, 8:05 AM
- Leader-Post article (Pats still perfect versus Oil Kings, but win not pretty) - N. W. Bruin on Oct 16, 8:07 AM
- Leader-Post article (Brandon's bid gets backing from opponents) - N. W. Bruin on Oct 16, 8:09 AM
- StarPhoenix article (Red-hot Blades bounce Broncos) - N. W. Bruin on Oct 16, 8:10 AM
- StarPhoenix article (Brandon stands tall after winning 2010 Memorial Cup bid) - N. W. Bruin on Oct 16, 8:12 AM
- StarPhoenix article (T-birds' Pickard takes CHL goalie honours) - N. W. Bruin on Oct 16, 8:14 AM