Dallas Stars purchase Texas Stars, securing area hockey for 20 years

CEDAR PARK — Tom Gaglardi always knew the importance of the Dallas Stars’ farm team, the Texas Stars, but it wasn’t until more recently that he really saw its value.

“I’ve just seen first-hand the past two or three years how important that pipeline is,” Gaglardi said Wednesday. “Every NHL team has a farm team. What we have there is something more special. There’s so many more advantages to be in a market like Austin … It really is the ideal situation for the Dallas Stars.”

Gaglardi put his money behind that statement on Wednesday when his Northland Properties, the parent holding company for the Dallas Stars, announced it had completed the acquisition of the Texas Stars from Hicks Cedar Park LLC. The deal also includes the management and operation of the city-owned Cedar Park Center.

The move, of which the financial terms weren’t disclosed, brought the two hockey franchises together under the same umbrella for the first time since 2011.

Northland Properties bought the NHL team in 2011 from Hicks Sports Group for a reported $240 million. At that time, Tom Hicks said that “at some point” Hicks Cedar Park LLC would want to “divest themselves” of the AHL franchise and Cedar Park Center responsibilities, Gaglardi said.

A deal started moving closer together late in the 2013-14 season when Hicks Cedar Park LLC reached out to Northland Properties about transitioning out of ownership. Dallas becomes the 14th NHL team to own its AHL affiliate.

It also locks in minor league hockey as a Central Texas fixture for at least 20 more years. As part of the deal with the city, Northland Properties will lease the Cedar Park Center until 2034.

“If we’re leasing the building, we’re not going to move our AHL team,” Gaglardi said. “That was part of our discussion. Let’s re-commit here and continue to build our brand in a market we feel is very valuable.”

As far as hockey operations go, not much is going to change. The coaches, players, and equipment staff were already employees of the Dallas Stars, while Texas Stars general manager Scott White is also the director of hockey operations for the NHL club.

But there will be some changes in appearance; Texas will switch to Dallas’ “victory green” colors, and the purchase paves the way for the development of the tract of land around the Cedar Park Center.

This story was originally published in the Austin American-Statesman.

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