Car dealer poised to purchase Saskatoon Blades
Mike Priestner, the owner of a number of car dealerships, is poised to become the new owner of the Saskatoon Blades hockey club pending approval from the Western Hockey League.
In a release issued Tuesday, the WHL said a special meeting of the board will take place Sept. 4, in Calgary, to consider the sale of the Blades to Priestner.
The team is currently owned by Jack Brodsky and his brother Bob and sister Debbie. They have been involved with the club as part owners since 1976 and majority owners since 1980.
Les Lazaruk, longtime play-by-play broadcaster for the Blades, said this sale wasn't a spontaneous decision.
"I think it was just time," Lazaruk said. "Jack (Brodsky) had told me that they're looking at a situation with his own family where he doesn't have any more children at home, he and his wife live on their acreage west of Saskatoon, (and they) are looking for some extra time with themselves."
Lazaruk also noted Brodsky's involvement with Tourism Saskatchewan, Prairieland Park and various other commitments in Saskatoon.
"This past season especially, hosting the Mastercard Memorial Cup, really taxed him as far as the time goes and it was probably the busiest year he's ever had," Lazaruk said. "So I just think that the one thing that he could unload off of his plate that would take up a huge burden of time from him was being the owner along with being the president of the Saskatoon Blades."
The Blades are one of the oldest junior hockey teams in Canada.
According to the WHL, Priestner owns an Edmonton-based company, called Go Auto, with 30 dealerships in Western Canada.
If approved, Priestner would assume control of the franchise before the start of the next hockey season.
Lazaruk said he would be "very surprised" if the sale was not approved. However, he's unsure how fans will react to the sale.
"A couple of weekends ago, I asked the question, 'What do you think the Blades should do as far as a sale goes?'" Lazaruk said. "Some people, not very many, felt the Brodsky family should hang on to it. But the majority of people wanted the group of former players that had bid as well."