SPRINGFIELD, Mass./FRISCO, Texas … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the league’s Board of Governors has unanimously approved the transfer of ownership of the Texas Stars franchise to Northland Properties Corporation, the parent holding company of the National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars.
Northland Properties Corporation jointly announced that the newly-created Texas Stars, L.P. will now operate the city-owned Cedar Park Center. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A press conference will be held Thursday, December 18 at 10:15 a.m. CT at Cedar Park Center with Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites, Texas Stars President and Alternate Governor Rick McLaughlin, and Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell to discuss the acquisition.
"My goal since taking over as owner of the Dallas Stars has been to create a culture that empowers people at all levels of our organization to strive for excellence," said Northland President and Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi. "Part of creating and instilling that culture means that you have to have direct leadership over all aspects of the formative and developmental levels of your team. The acquisition of the Texas Stars is a crucial part of that leadership and development chain, and reaffirms our vision of becoming an elite organization, both at the NHL and AHL levels."
"Since coming to Cedar Park, the Texas Stars have been a wonderful partner of ours in bringing world-class sports and entertainment to the area," said Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell. "We look forward to working closely with Northland Properties and the Dallas Stars in this outstanding partnership as we continue to fulfill the vision of Cedar Park Center and the city.
In their first five seasons of existence, all of which have been as the AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars, the Texas Stars have proved to be one of the most successful franchises in the entire AHL. The team captured its first Calder Cup championship in 2014. The club has made two trips to the Calder Cup Finals (2010, 2014), qualifying for the playoffs in four of their five seasons (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014), and have posted 40-win campaigns four times. During the 2013-14 regular season, Texas posted a franchise record 48 wins, claiming the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s regular season points champion, as well as the John D. Chick Trophy as the West Division Champions. Many of the Dallas Stars young core of NHL players have spent time skating for the Texas Stars including captain Jamie Benn, center Cody Eakin, forward Ryan Garbutt and forward Antoine Roussel.
"With the level of intense parity in the NHL, teams have to strive for every advantage they can get," said Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill. "Owning and operating your own AHL affiliate brings immeasurable benefits and allows for a more seamless process to develop and train NHL-caliber players, coaches and front office staff."
The Dallas Stars and Texas Stars enjoy one of the closest NHL-to-AHL franchise distances in the Western Conference, with only 184 miles between American Airlines Center and Cedar Park Center. The Dallas Stars are one of 14 NHL clubs to own their AHL affiliate: Buffalo Sabres (Rochester Americans), Calgary Flames (Adirondack Flames), Edmonton Oilers (Oklahoma City Barons), Los Angeles Kings (Manchester Monarchs), Minnesota Wild (Iowa Wild), New Jersey Devils (Albany Devils), New York Islanders (Bridgeport Sound Tigers), New York Rangers (Hartford Wolf Pack), Pittsburgh Penguins (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins), San Jose Sharks (Worcester Sharks), Toronto Maple Leafs (Toronto Marlies), Vancouver Canucks (Utica Comets) and Winnipeg Jets (St. John’s IceCaps).
Rick McLaughlin, who has served as the President and Alternate Governor of the Texas Stars since its inception, will remain in his role, with all business operations continuing as normal.
In addition to the acquisition of the Texas Stars, Northland Properties Corporation also announced the formation of Texas Stars L.P., who will operate the city-owned Cedar Park Center under the long-term lease, running through 2034.
"The Cedar Park Center, and the land surrounding it, is located in one of the fastest growing regions of the United States," Gaglardi said. "The opportunity to grow the area’s footprint as the top-flight entertainment region in Central Texas is immense, and we are looking forward to engaging with the city of Cedar Park to make that happen."
Cedar Park Center holds 6,863 seats for hockey, 7,200 for basketball and up to 8,700 for concerts and other events. The state-of-the-art arena has 24 suites (including four party suites) and 545 club seats with a private club lounge.
The building hosts more than 130 events per year including sporting events, concerts, and family shows. Cedar Park Center is home to the 2014 AHL Calder Cup champion Texas Stars. The building also serves as the home court to the Austin Spurs, the NBA Development League affiliate of the 2014 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. Since opening in September of 2009, the Cedar Park Center has hosted world-class performers and events such as George Strait, Rascal Flatts, Alan Jackson, Tool, Jason Aldean, Def Leppard, Eric Church, Cirque du Soleil and Disney On Ice.
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League serves as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.