Iggy takes ownership of Blazers

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

DALLAS -- By the end of the month, Jarome Iginla will officially hold a stake in the WHL team he credits with his development as a hockey player.

More importantly, as a man.

The Western Hockey League's board of governors voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the sale of the Kamloops Blazers -- Iginla's former junior club -- to River City Hockey Inc. from the Kamloops Blazers Sports Society. The new group is headed by Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi and former Blazers stars Iginla, Shane Doan, Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor.

All four players were at a meeting in August, when the first critical vote took place to transfer ownership.

"We had like a Town Hall meeting with the members society," said Iginla yesterday. "It was intense. You had people stand up and say why they should sell, why they shouldn't. And at the end, it's a live vote. Everybody stands up or sits down to vote whether to sell or not. People were very passionate about it, both ways on both sides.

"There were a lot of people standing who thought it was good to sell to us. It meant a lot."

Iginla felt it was important for the former players to address the members and thank them for the way they were treated during his three seasons there. He also wanted to assure them that should the sale go forward, the tradition would continue.

"I think just to let them know what an influence they had," said Iginla. "We're thankful for that, and we want to carry that on.

"We wanted to make it clear that the team wouldn't be going anywhere, that the Blazers belong in Kamloops, that they've been a big part of our lives as a group of players and had a big impact on us --not only making the NHL but you go there at such an impressionable time at 16."

Gaglardi was in Calgary to present the WHL with RCH's business plan and sent Iginla a message yesterday to let him know the deal -- thought to be around $7 million -- was all but done.

"It's really close to closing," said Iginla. "So that's great."


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