Ex-Blazers make pitch for team
The Kamloops Blazers Sports Society’s board of directors has, for the first time, heard from the two groups that are wanting to purchase its WHL franchise.
Mike Priestner, the owner of the Edmonton-based Mike Priestner Automotive Group (MPAG), was up first Monday morning, meeting the board at 9:30. He was accompanied by his son, Jared, who works with MPAG, and Kamloops lawyer Dev Dley, a former WHL commissioner.
Tom Gaglardi, the Vancouver businessman who heads up River City Hockey Inc. (RCH), followed, accompanied by partners Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor, both ex-Blazers players. Shane Doan and Jarome Iginla, the two other ex-Blazers who are partners in RCH, weren’t able to attend.
The Blazers are owned by a large group of shareholders, and the team has long operated on a not-for-profit model that is unique in junior hockey. The situation's really not altogether different from the overtures being made to buy the community-owned Oilers by billionaire Daryl Katz, albeit on a far smaller scale.
That said, I'm not close enough to the situation back home to know if the KBSS operating the team is a good fit for the team or not. Junior hockey has been moving increasingly towards a profit-generating, professionally run model for years, something that was ushered with the big-market Vancouver Giants winning the Memorial Cup this season.
What I do know is that the Blazers front office has been marred by scandal, the team has underperformed on the ice for a decade and attendance, unbelievably, has sagged. Maybe it is time for a new way of doing things, and I honestly believe Recchi and friends would put in whatever they could to make the team successful once again.
- On a related note, Gregg Drinnan, the sports editor at the Kamloops daily, has a new blog that follows all things hockey out west.
Labels: junior hockey