April 05, 2010
What made the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain such a blast was watching Rambo and The Terminator and John McClane from "Die Hard" wave to the crowd at red carpet openings knowing that (a) they'd never let their hired help eat there, let alone eat there themselves and (b) the entire venture would be on the slow march to failure, eventually retreating to Las Vegas.
If Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull and Mike Modano(notes) were to purchase the Dallas Stars — as the Dallas Observer (via Kukla) reported Monday morning on their strong interest in doing so — then at least two of them wouldn't be absentee owners.
Modano's been rumored as a potential owner for weeks should he choose to retire (or go the Mario route of player/owner, of course), and he's a Dallas guy. Hull's been a part of the Stars since retirement, and owns a sports restaurant with Modano (sadly not named "Planet Hullywood"). How many times Gretzky would be seen in the owners' box is anyone's guess ... provided, of course, that he isn't busy behind the Stars bench (shudder).
The greatest hockey player ever is teaming with two of the sport's most iconic local faces in an attempt to buy the Dallas Stars, according to two sources familiar with the organization's current business landscape. With long-time owner Tom Hicks intent on selling the team, a group led by Wayne Gretzky, Mike Modano and Brett Hull has emerged as a serious bidder. "It's nothing formal, as if they're about to sign on the dotted line," says one source. "But it's gone past kicking the tires. This could happen."
Which would frankly be wonderful. Because just like Sly and Arnold and Bruce, seeing these guys attempt to own and (one assumes) operate an NHL franchise would be pure entertainment. Not circus entertainment ... unless they invite Len Barrie to join their team; just a star-studded experiment that could boom or bust.
Consider Gretzky's time with the Phoenix Coyotes in player development and coaching, in which the franchise embarked on a record-setting campaign of success upon his departure. Consider Brett Hull's stint as "Ambassador of Fun" and assistant GM with the Dallas Stars, in which he was the catalyst for Sean Avery's signing and a contract the Stars are still paying as Avery plays for the New York Rangers.
(Modano's record as a team executive is clean, although we hold out hope that Willa Ford could develop into Cameron Diaz in "Any Given Sunday" under the right ownership conditions.)
Modano's already denying the story or any discussion with Gretzky; but if there's anything to it, a plea to Tom Hicks: Sell, baby, sell. We all want to see what three Hall of Famers do as a hydra of NHL ownership. Maybe they lead this franchise back to the Stanley Cup. Or maybe they do something immensely silly, like firing Dave Tippett for Marc Crawford. Wait, what?