A pre-game meal at Yaletown's trendy Glowbal Grill on Nov. 3, 2003 was the setting for Tom Gaglardi, Ryan Beedie and Francesco Aquilini's first meeting to discuss buying the Vancouver Canucks and General Motors Place.
"We were all hockey fans, we were all Canucks' fans and had season tickets," Gaglardi said yesterday in B.C. Supreme Court.
According to Gaglardi, they discussed John McCaw's $250-million price, the threat of the NHL players' lockout and the lucrative real- estate opportunity.
GM Place is zoned for a 250,000 square-foot office tower at its Griffiths Way and Expo Boulevard corner.
They wondered if it would be worth more as a condominium site and whether city hall would approve.
Gaglardi said they met a week later and settled on a three-way partnership to bid for 50 per cent interest in the team, plus options to buy GM Place and the rest of the franchise. "The ultimate goal was to own all of the club and [of] all the building," Gaglardi said.
Gaglardi said he agreed to lead negotiations, though Aquilini wanted a greater role. Gaglardi testified Aquilini said, "I've got this great relationship with [Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment president] Stan McCammon" that he could use to finalize a deal after Gaglardi bargained into a deadlock. Gaglardi rejected that strategy.
Gaglardi said Aquilini got to know McCammon when Aquilini showed interest in buying Orca Bay in 2001.