Tag:Matthew Hulsizer
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: October 7, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: October 7, 2011 10:05 am
 

Daily Skate: Deal or no deal to buy the Blues?

By Brian Stubits

There are 12 teams getting their season under way tonight in the NHL. Two of them will come early in Europe as the Kings-Rangers and Sabres-Ducks battle at 1 ET. Then tonight there are four more games back in North America, including the Rick Nash/Jeff Carter era beginning in Columbus. Scoreboard

DEAL OR NO DEAL? It recently came out from Jeremy Rutherford at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Matthew Hulsizer, the Chicago man who nearly bought the Coyotes, has reached a verbal agreement to purchase the Blues. But Andy Strickland at True Hockey says not so fast, there is a lot of work that needs to be done, but at least things are promising.

EARLY RETURN: Nothing like a small sample size. Yes, the Flyers played solid defense on Thursday in beating the defending champion Bruins in Boston, but Ryan Bright says the plan of GM Paul Holmgren that saw sweeping changes this offseason already looks good. It very well could be, but remember; Matt Cooke is on pace for 164 goals, too. Time will truly tell. (Philadelphia Sports Daily)

HIS WAY OF HELPING: Ilya Kovalchuk is doing his part to raise money for the Yaroslavle Victims Families Fund. He is going to give away signed 8x10 photographs of himself to anybody who donates $17 dollars or more. To make a donation, contact PuckAgency, LLC at info@puckagency.com to say you want to donate. A response e-mail will be sent to you with instructions on what to do. (Fire and Ice Blog)

TWITTER TRASHTALKING: Speaking of good causes, the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers are encouraging fans to engage in a Twitter battle for Friday's game in Sweden. The Kings have announced that for ever #GoLAKings hashtag, that follower will be entered in a contest for a free round-trip flight and the Kings will donate to the Children's Hospital in L.A. for 5,000. Safe to assume the Rangers have a similar plan. (Pro Hockey Talk)

HERE TO STAY: Last season, ballyhooed Hurricanes prospect Zac Dalpe got just a taste of the NHL, playing in just 15 games a season ago, scoring three goals and an assists. But this year he hopes to stay from beginning to end in Carolina and the 'Canes would love it if he could bring home a second straight Calder Trophy to Carolina. (News and Observer)

QUICK STARTS: The Colorado Avalanche will have No. 2 overall draft pick Gabriel Landeskog on the roster, getting meaningful minutes this season. So that begs the question: who are the best rookies in Avalance/Nordiques history? Here is a list of the Top 10. (Denver Post)

NEW AND IMPROVED: Things are finally feeling they are headed in the right direction in Columbus. The team has some Stars, the financial future seems fixed and there's real excitement for the team. Aaron Portzline previews the season that lies ahead, including one interesting cereal box. (Columbus Dispatch)

HE CAN BE YOUR HERO: Meant to include this in yesterday's Skate, but here is Kris Versteeg of the Florida Panthers being put on the spot at a preseason fundraiser after a bidding war (jacked up by GM Dale Tallon) buys a song from the crooner. Credit to Versteeg, who doesn't hesitate or shy away from a, um, rendition of Enrique Iglesias's Hero. The song starts right around the 2-minute mark.

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 19, 2011 11:11 am
Edited on: August 19, 2011 4:42 pm
 

Ex-Sharks CEO Jamison interested in Coyotes

By Brian Stubits

It's another day, so naturally there's another name being thrown out in the Phoenix Coyotes ownership search. I must admit, this one seems like it could be legit.

Glendale spokeswoman Julie Frisoni confirmed Friday that Greg Jamison, former Sharks president and CEO as well as current part-owner, is one of the bidders to buy the franchise and that no bonds would be sold as part of any proposed deals. She would not elaborate on the negotiations or who the other bidder was.

Last week it appeared a Canadian group was moving toward a purchase of the team that would contain an eight-year out clause that would allow them to relocate if conditions didn't improve. It made sense. It also helped substantiate a report earlier that said there were two as-of-then unnamed suitors with serious interest in buying the team.

The Phoenix Business Journal reported that Jamison is at the head of a new ownership bid to buy the team and is looking to keep them where they are. The Journal says a sales agreement is expected to be worked out very soon with the NHL, which includes money down front, giving Jamison's group exclusive negotiating rights.

ESPN.com, meanwhile, reports the talks aren't as advanced as the Journal indicates, saying that Jamison isn't poised to make an offer as of yet.

A little background on Jamison: He was the head of Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment from 1996 until late in 2010. He still serves on the Sharks' board of ownership and also served on the NHL's executive committee. That past relationship could seriously help a bid here considering the team is now owned and controlled by the league itself. But the ownership ties with San Jose would obviously have to be severed first.

Things have certainly picked up since Matthew Hulsizer dropped out of the process. When that happened, the future was very dim in the desert as it seemed the potential suitors had dried up. But in the last week two seemingly serious and viable bidders have emerged.

As always, we have learned not to count our chickens before they hatch in this never-ending Coyotes story. But optimism is on the rise after sinking.

Photo: Getty Images

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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.

Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:08 am
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:33 pm
 

Daily Skate: another fresh start for Esposito

By: Adam Gretz

ESPOSITO GETS ANOTHER FRESH START There was a time prior to the 2007 Entry Draft when Angelo Esposito was projected to be one of the top picks (if not the top pick) after putting up monster numbers in the QMJHL while playing on a line next to Alexander Radulov with the Quebec Remparts. By the time draft day came around his stock had fallen (due in part to declining production) to the point where he wasn't selected until late in the first-round by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the 20th overall pick. Within a year, Esposito's value continued to fall and he was packaged in a trade to Atlanta, along with Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen and a first-round pick, in exchange for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis at the NHL's trade deadline. It was a deal that was supposed to help re-build the Thrashers, but ultimately came up empty. Very empty. Armstrong and Christensen have already left the organization and the first-round pick (Daultan Leveille) has yet to play a pro game. On Saturday, the Jets organization (which was the Thrashers organization until a month ago) officially parted ways with Esposito, sending him to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Kenndal McArdle. Esposito has spent parts of the past three seasons in the AHL, having scored just three goals to go with 14 assists in 70 games.

PANTHERS ACQUIRE TWO OTHERS Along with the Esposito acquisition the Panthers made two other small moves on Saturday, acquiring forward Sergei Shirokov from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for forward Mike Duco. The team also picked up Keith Seabrook from the Calgary Flames for Jordan Henry. Shirokov has appeared in eight NHL games in his career, scoring one goal. Seabrook, 22, spent the 2010-11 season split between the Abbotsford Heat and Manitoba Moose of the AHL.

LUNDIN SIGNS WITH Wild The Minnesota Wild signed free agent defenseman Mike Lundin to a one-year contract on Saturday. He spent the past four years with the Tampa Bay Lightning after being selected in the fourth-round by the team in 2004.

HULSIZER INTERESTED IN Blues? After withdrawing his offer to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes, Matthew Hulsizer has reportedly set his sights on becoming the owner of the St. Louis Blues. David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail has the story.

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

Posted on: March 7, 2011 1:47 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 1:53 am
 

Morning skate: Don't four-get Pacific Division




The Pacific Division could be very well represented when the playoffs commence next month. 

Four teams would currently get berths if the playoffs started this morning: San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings. Had the Anaheim Ducks not dropped a 3-0 decision to the Vancouver Canucks Sunday night, they would have booted the Kings out of the eighth seed. 

No other division has more than three teams in contention at the moment. Here’s a look again at our playoff tracker.

The Pacific has placed four teams in the playoffs twice since the current division system was established before the 1998-99 season. (The Northeast leads the way, placing four teams in on four occasions.) The Pacific has only had fewer than three teams in the playoff mix only three times and two Pacific teams skated with the Stanley Cup --- Dallas (1999) and Anaheim (2007) -- during that span.

How tough would it be for all five to make it in, something that hasn’t happened in the division era?

It would take a freefall by the Calgary Flames (3-2 winners Sunday over the Nashville Predators) or the Chicago Blackhawks -- two of the hottest teams in hockey. The fourth-place ‘Hawks are riding an eight-game winning streak and the fifth-place Flames are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

Making the chances even more remote is the fact teams typically face only other division opponents in the closing weeks of the season, meaning it’s very difficult to make up ground in the conference standings without darkening a division foe’s chances.

Not that it enters into the equation this time of year. 

DEAL NOT SO SUITE: An opinion page columnist at The Washington Post called for Capitals and Wizards principal owner Ted Leonsis to take back the two luxury boxes at Verizon Center donated to the city by previous ownership. The suites were a gift to city hall after D.C. approved a $50 million upgrade to the arena in 2007 and the boxes that cost as much as $175,000 annually for everybody else are meant for “economic development purposes.” Colbert I. King wrote that it’s unclear whether the two free suites are actually being used in that manner.
So taxpayers don't know whether the luxury suites have been used only to promote the city or whether they have been used to reward campaign contributors and volunteers, to curry favor with special-interest groups, to entertain family members and friends, or for the officials' personal enjoyment.


COYOTES' LOSSES MOUNT: The Chicago investor seeking to take over the Phoenix Coyotes and Jobbing.com Arena told The Arizona Republic this weekend that the team has already lost $40 million this season --- $10 million more than a season ago. The NHL, which has run the team since its previous owner filed for bankruptcy protection two years ago, still expects to sell the team to Matthew Hulsizer without losing money, a price that currently sits at $210 million. 

The Coyotes, who enter action Monday sixth in the Western Conference, have shown signs of life financially, according to team president Mike Nealy.

Despite ownership uncertainty and the NHL tightening the team's front-office budget this season, the Coyotes made gains in ticket sales, ticket revenue and overall revenue per game, according to league statistics dated last month obtained by The Republic.
Nealy said at the end of the season, with lucrative sell-outs and a potential playoff run this spring, he expects losses to drop below last year.


The long-running ownership drama took another turn when ESPN.com reported that the City of Glendale is expected to file a lawsuit today against Goldwater Institute, a watchdog group opposed to a bond sale that would help finance the sale. 

Confused? TSN.ca has created its own Jets Meter.   

LINE CHANGES: Marian Gaborik, out the last two weeks with a concussion, returned to the lineup for the Rangers’ 7-0 rout of the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. In 14 minutes, 28 seconds of ice time, he had four shots and two penalty minutes.  . . . Jarome Iginla became the 10th NHL player to reach 30 goals in 10 consecutive season as he netted a second-period tally in the Calgary Flames’ victory over the Nashville Predators on Sunday.  . . . . For a complete look at Sunday’s action, click here

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