Thursday, November 09, 2006

Change At The Top

From TSN.ca:
A group headed by local businessman Francesco Aquilini has decided to become the sole owner of the Vancouver Canucks and GM Place.

The Aquilini Investment Group has entered into an agreement to purchase the remaining 50 per cent of the Canucks and their arena from Seattle businessman John McCaw, the team announced Wednesday.
John McCaw, of course, bought the Canucks (and GM Place and the Grizzlies) from the Griffiths family in 1996. For the first time since then, the Canucks will have both a local owner and a hockey person as its CEO - hopefully this will be a recipe for continued success.
While McCaw was often criticized for being an absentee owner, he did hang onto the Canucks through dark times. The team was bad on the ice and played before empty seats. It's estimated McCaw lost C$90 million.

When Brian Burke was hired as general manager, the Canucks added talent while controlling costs. The Canucks are now the dominate sports franchise in B.C. GM Place is usually sold out and there is a waiting list for season tickets.
Give Mr. McCaw credit. It's easy to be own the team when it's successful and profitable. But when I first started working for Orca Bay, the Canucks played to Saturday night crowds of as few as 13,000 people. And that was the announced attendance. He hung on and signed the cheques until the team finally turned it around on the ice and in the books.

Will Aquilini do the same? We'll see.

Postscript: More on the sale from Tony Gallagher (Vancouver Province).

Postscript: The sale is pending approval by the NHL. The Canucks have announced a press conference for this afternoon.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 6:09 AM


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