Hockey Coming to Dallas : NHL:City Council paves way for North Stars to move south next season.
The Minnesota North Stars, unable to turn a profit in eight years and facing dwindling community support, will play in Dallas beginning next season.
Owner Norman Green of the North Stars and the Dallas City Council announced the move Wednesday night, with the team to be rechristened as the Dallas Stars.
“I’m very, very proud to be able to present to Dallas the National Hockey League,” said Green, who presented North Star jerseys to council members and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett.
The relocation--the first in the NHL since the Colorado Rockies became the New Jersey Devils 11 years ago--does not have to be approved by NHL owners, according to the Associated Press, because of an agreement Green worked out with the league’s Board of Governors. The board approved Green’s proposed move in December in exchange for his cooperation in the granting of an expansion franchise to Anaheim.
With the move to Texas, where ice skating hardly commands the presence it does in Minnesota, the NHL stakes out further ground in the Sun Belt. Expansion clubs in Miami and Anaheim will begin play next season.
City Council members met in executive session for more than two hours before clearing the way for the move. The North Stars’ lease of Reunion Arena is subject to review and a March 17 final vote by the council.
Green, who purchased the North Stars in 1990, has said the club has not been profitable since 1985. This week he also complained of low ticket prices, rising salaries and lack of community support.
Green said he felt sad for the fans in Minnesota, but said they realized this was strictly a business decision.
“It’s not a personal decision. We’re both hurt . . . It was their team,” Green said. “That was the bottom line.”
He acknowledged several recent reports of Minnesota residents willing to buy the franchise.
“I have zero interest in selling,” Green said. “I’ve always had zero interest in selling.”
Fighting for first place in the Norris Division a month ago, the North Stars are now battling just to get into the playoffs.
The North Stars (32-27-9) have played in Minnesota since entering the NHL in 1967.