Saturday, October 13, 2007

Canucks Court Case

It is very early to be doing much in depth analysis of the team. With tonight’s back end of a “there and here” double header with the Oilers, we will likely be given a look at the character and chemistry of this version of the team. This is even truer with last night's bounce back win after the embarrassing 8-2 drubbing by the much improved Flyers laid on us last Wednesday night. This coming week the Sharks and the Kings will visit the Garage.

For me the regular season is one of those painful things we endure with hopes of promised treats at the end. NHL hockey is about winning the Stanley Cup challenge. Hockey’s second season is where the real excitement lies. We endure 82 games over about six months with the single goal of placing eighth or better in the west. That goal accomplished only one thing. It gives us the right to enter the real challenge.

Let’s face it Canucks faithful. This franchise has never won the Stanley Cup. It has been a little longer since a Vancouver based team held Lord Stanley’s mug. It is tragic that the city with the beautiful, thousand acre park with the same name as the equally beautiful symbol of hockey supremacy has not owned right to the cup since 1915. Frank Patrick’s Vancouver Millionaires won the cup that season and challenged for the cup as late as 1924. The current franchise made it to the finals of the Stanley Cup tournament in 1982 and 1994. Both teams came away from their respective trips to the final empty handed.

As we embark on the journey of a new season there is still one little nagging problem hidden deep in the backs of some of the faithful’s collective mind – a court case.

The gist of it is something like this:

Nov-96 John McCaw becomes the majority owner of Arthur Griffiths’ Vancouver Canucks franchise. Griffiths facing mounting financial pressure from the self financed GM Place and failing Vancouver Grizzles NBA is forced out of the Canucks by McCaw’s executing a first right of refusal option in their ownership agreement.

Nov-03 three Vancouver businessmen, Tom Gaglardi of Sandman Hotels and Suites, Ryan Beedie of construction’s Beedie Group and Francessco Aquilini whose family is best known in real estate circles, discuss the possibility of buying all or some part of Orca Bay Sports from Seattle cellular tycoon John McCaw. Orca Bay owns both the Canucks Franchise and GM Place as well as some key land around GM Place.

Mar-04 Aquilini drops out of the consortium. The suggestion is that Aquilini asked if he could step aside until the fall due to a real estate project that was taking all his time. Gaglardi is said to have refused and Aquilini then withdrew from the consortium.

Aug-04 Aquilini asks to return to the consortium but is rebuffed by Gaglardi/Beedie. This is interesting in that Gaglardi/Beedie contend that they were giving Aquilini information on the progress of their bid and that Aquilini then used that information to complete his own deal. Common sense would say that if the “partnership” were still at that level then Gaglardi/Beedie should have been happy to welcome Aquilini back into the group.

14-Sep-04 CBC Sports releases news of deal in principle between McCaw and the Gaglardi/Beedie pair. Story Here

Oct-05 Aquilini went on a cruise hosted by David Ho, a well-connected Vancouver entrepreneur. Also on board was Orca Bay's president and CEO, Stan McCammon, the man directing the Canucks sale on behalf of John McCaw.

5-Nov-05 McCaw calls Gaglardi and tells him that they can not reach a deal because Gaglardi negotiated too hard.

17-Nov-04 CBC Sports releases news of minority share deal between McCaw and Aquilini. Story Here

Jan-05 Gaglardi and Beedie and their respective companies sue Aquilini, McCaw and their respective companies claiming basically that Aquilini and McCaw conspired behind their backs to reach a deal that excluded their participation in ownership.

30-Apr-07 Case Opens in BC Supreme Court. Story Here

4-Oct-07 Madame Justice Catherine Wedge hears closing arguments. The case is not expected to have a reached a decision before the All Star break.
Story Here

And we all stay tuned…


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