Tag:Dave Checketts
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:57 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 3:50 pm

Tom Stillman signs purchase agreement with Blues

Tom Stillman (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The ownership saga in Phoenix and the now concluded one in Dallas have taken most of the headlines when it comes to who is paying the bills where, but don't forget about the St. Louis Blues. The long process is still ongoing to find a new owner to replace Dave Checketts.

It looked like the solution was near a couple of months ago. That's when Matthew Hulsizer -- you might remember him from such failed ownership bids as the Phoenix Coyotes -- signed a purchase agreement. He had exclusive negotiating rights up until Jan. 1.

Obviously nothing came of that.

So it's on to the next potential buyer. Turns out, he's a familiar one to the Blues already.

Current minority owner Tom Stillman has filled the void left by Hulsizer and signed a purchase agreement with the Blues this week according to multiple reports out of St. Louis, including Jeremy Rutherford at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Blues and Stillman must now complete the sale and have it approved by the NHL, a process that could take several weeks. The league's Board of Governors will meet Jan. 28 in Ottawa during the all-star festivities, but it's expected that only an update on the Blues' situation would be discussed, not a vote. ...

The price of the package, which includes the Blues, the team's top minor-league affiliate in Peoria, Ill., the Scottrade Center lease and significant interest in the Peabody Opera House, is expected to be approximately $130-135 million.

In December, the Blues were valued at $157 million, ranking 27th in the NHL, by Forbes.com.

The purchase agreement between Stillman and the Blues is an adaptation of the Hulsizer deal, which was signed in late October but after two months could not be closed because the NHL would not approve Hulsizer's financing structure.

While Blues chairman Dave Checketts and TowerBrook Capital Partners are listed as the sellers in the process, the league is guiding the transaction. Sources have indicated in recent months that if the club went much longer without the completion of a sale, bankruptcy was a strong possibility for the franchise.

Rutherford goes on to mention that there is a group of investors along with Stillman involved. Another name that is in talks to join the group is former Blues star Brett Hull.

This is a great time for Stillman to be entering the picture, particularly at such a low value for the franchise. With the season they are having, the Blues are again a hot item in St. Louis. They haven't had problems selling tickets despite their struggles, but the value is only going to rise the better they play. And they can't play much better than they have under Ken Hitchcock.

The sooner a deal could get done to transfer ownership to Stillman the better for the Blues. If they could clean up any uncertainty around the ownership situation, one that has been murky for two years now, it would likely bode well for a stretch run and a chance to add any players they might feel helps them advance further.

One thing is for sure: the fans in St. Louis would love for this whole thing to just be wrapped up already whether it's Hulsizer, Stillman or anybody else.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.
Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:56 am
Edited on: October 13, 2011 1:30 pm

Report: Hulsizer close to agreement to buy Blues

By Brian Stubits

Matthew Hulsizer appears to be on the verge of owning an NHL franchise. Again.

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Chicago businessman could sign a purchase agreement as early as Thursday to buy the St. Louis Blues.

Hulsizer, you might remember, seemed to have a done deal after a long courtship of the Phoenix Coyotes. Eventually he gave up, however, when a watchdog group in Arizona threatened to sue the city of Glendale over the plan to use bonds as part of the deal. So since then, Hulsizer, intent on owning an NHL team, turned his attention to the Blues.

Current owner Dave Checketts put the team up for sale in March. In that time there was flirtation with a few prospective owners including Hulsizer, Calgary businessman Max Chambers and current minority owner Tom Stillman. After Chambers said his $167 million offer was rejected, Hulsizer seemed to re-emerge in the picture.

The plan/hope for Checketts was to have this taken care of by opening day, but such goals never seem to be met. And the completion of a deal is still probably a few weeks away, but Hulsizer might have an expedited process. Because of his pursuit of the Coyotes, he was already approved unanimously by the Board of Governors to become an owner.

Hulsizer, a big hockey fan, has long desired to own a franchise. You have to hope, if you're a Blues fan, that that means he'll bring with him a strong enthusiasm and desire to win. Nobody is expecting a Terry Pegula-in-Buffalo scenario, but somebody that could bring a little life and hope to the organization would certainly be welcomed.

According to Rutherford's report, the sale would also include the lease to Scottrade Center, St. Louis' AHL affiliate in Peoria, Ill., and the Peabody Opera House, which Checketts would most likely stay in the ownership group to operate.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 21, 2011 5:10 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 5:17 pm

Blues suitor says his offer to buy team rejected

By Brian Stubits

So it seems that beggars can be choosers. That's lesson that's starting to emerge from the sale of the St. Louis Blues.

Max Chambers, a Calgary businessman leading a group to try and purchase the team from Dave Checketts, tells Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his all-cash bid of $167 million was rejected. Instead, a counter offer was given of $190 million.

"The offer of $167 [million] was my maximum," Chambers said. "We think that’s the most they’ve been offered. Obviously they haven’t been offered $190 because $190 was the figure to take it off the auction block. I don’t think anyone has over-topped our offer of $167.
"I think $190 is a little aggressive with the value of the franchise. We felt $167 was aggressive, so their counter at $190 was real aggressive in our view."

Considering Forbes magazine valued the Blues franchise at $165 million in last year's rankings it seems to be a fair amount. But obviously the sellers don't agree. Of course, if no better bids come along -- and they don't appear to be forthcoming -- Chambers' bid will look better and better as the offer doesn't seem to have an expiration date on it any time soon.

Chambers' group had previously made overtures toward the Coyotes and Kings in their recent (or still on-going in the case of Phoenix) sales. But they have zeroed in on St. Louis partly at the suggestion of former Islanders and Penguins player Bryan Trottier, part of the prospective buyer group.

If I'm a Blues fan, I'm hoping this offer is revisited, because Chambers says he's still interested. But what's more, he has no interest in relocating the franchise ("St. Louis is not a franchise that is movable") and would put more into the team than the current ownership group is ("I think the Blues, with $8-10 million more, a legitimate Cup contender, not just a playoff team").

It wouldn't exactly be akin to Terry Pegula taking over his favorite team in the Sabres, but it would sure be nice to have an owner invest in a franchise to make it a winner.

So Blues fans take your team's advice and don't stop believing that Chambers can be your owner some day, just not yet.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 14, 2011 9:36 am

Daily Skate: Belak's depression; Blues update

By Brian Stubits

BELAK'S DEPRESSION: Here is a very powerful piece written by Michael Landsberg at TSN, a good friend to the late Wade Belak. It's a terrific read that gives a closer look into each of their issues with depression, offering up a different perspective. Really worth a read.

ST. LOUIS SALE: The Blues are still searching for a new ownership group as Dave Checketts tries to separate himself from the franchise. A new and promising group has emerged (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) to possibly push this sale closer to a reality. The group, led by Calgary businessman and former Coyotes suitor Max Chambers, includes six-time Cup winner Bryan Trottier.

TWEET BEAT: Do you enjoy following some of the Flyers on Twitter like Ilya Bryzgalov or James van Riemsdyk? They might not be entertaining as much in the coming months. The Flyers are cracking down on how much the players Tweet during "business hours" as prospect Zac Rinaldo recently found out (from Puck Daddy/Courier Times).

QUITE A PAIR: Welcome to Detroit, Ian White. The defenseman is getting a nice signing bonus, opening training camp as the defensive partner of Nicklas Lidstrom. The other Red Wings pairings will be Brad Stuart with Niklas Kronwall then Mike Commodore will join forces with Brendan Smith when camp opens.

THE FIGHT GOES ON: The fight over fighting in the NHL has grown to an all-time high this offseason. Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun is one of those who would like to see the pugilism expunged from the sport, but believes the only way that will get done is with a strong-willed GM.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: It's awesome enough when your season tickets arrive at your house, nothing gets the blood pumping quite like seeing your admission slips. Now just imagine those season tickets being delivered by none other than Sidney Crosby? That's what a few Penguins fans got to experience.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 23, 2011 10:20 am
Edited on: August 23, 2011 11:03 am

Daily Skate: Should Sid retire? Blues tough sell

By Brian Stubits

ADVICE TO SID: Yesterday brought about another round of Penguins star Sidney Crosby retirement banter with a station in Halifax reporting he won't be ready for the season only to have it denied by his agent. The uncertainty of the report didn't stop Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star from writing a column on why Crosby should retire. The man has already left an indelible mark on the NHL and won a Stanley Cup, so why risk it? Here's the crux: "There are no goals left for him in the game. At best, all he achieves from now on is more of the same. He still has an entire life to lead after hockey, whether it ends tomorrow or in a decade. What’s in the balance is how capable he will be of leading it fully."

TOUGH SELL: The St. Louis Blues are still on the market and have been a while. Owner Dave Checketts had asked for proposals to be submitted to buy the organization and only one bid came through, that of current minority owner Tom Stillman. The problem is the offer is the same as his previous one (via Andy Strickland), below even the team's current debt, so there's hope another offer can come up. That could still come from Matthew Hulsizer, who didn't submit an offer but that doesn't mean he's done. Either way, the hockey market is hardly favorable (via Globe and Mail).

MIKITA'S BATTLE: It was in May that Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita announced he had Stage 1 oral cancer. Well, the good news is that Mikita says he is "coming along real well" (via Daily Herald) and he'll have a better idea next week when he visits his doctor.

HAWAII HOCKEY: You've heard the relocation cities -- Quebec City, Hamilton, Ont., Seattle, Houston, Las Vegas -- but here's a new one: Honolulu. Seriously. The On Goal Analysis blog makes the argument why Hawaii should be considered for a hockey franchise down the line. If you don't believe me, you can read it for yourself here.

JERSEY TALK: The Winnipeg Jets still haven't revealed their new jersey, but that's not stopping "leaks" from coming out. Check out the latest one down below. Of course, True North Sports and Entertainment has denied it, saying the leaked look is "not even close" (via Slam Sports). Considering that was the case with the logo, I'll imagine he's telling the truth. But time will tell.

Photo: Slam Sports

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 1, 2011 8:59 pm

Report: Blues owner sets deadline; Hulsizer out?

By Brian Stubits

Last week the Dallas Stars took another step toward selling the franchise to a new owner and moving on to the next era. The St. Louis Blues are about to do the same. But they look like they will be down one prospective owner.

According to Andy Strickland at truehockey.com, current owner Dave Checketts has set a deadline of August 22 for interested buyers to put in their formal offers. One name who might not be among the list of entrants is Matt Hulsizer (pictured), the Chicago businessman who pursued the Coyotes for some time before throwing in the towel.

After he withdrew from the scene in Phoenix, Hulsizer said he maintained interest in owning an NHL franchise and the prevailing wisdom was that he would court the Blues. The problem, Strickland says, is the asking price might be too high for Hulsizer's taste, which is supposedly around the $200 million mark.

If Hulsizer is out on both the Blues and Coyotes (and not in the Stars equation), it will be interesting to see where he might show up again. The market is getting pretty thin.

Another name in the hunt is Tom Stillman, who is currently a minority owner of the team. He is trying to assemble a group to make a bid on the team themselves.

Much like the Stars, Checketts hopes to have the team sold by early October and the start of the season.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com