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OREGON SPORTS HISTORY/Western Hockey League commissioner Ron Robison praises 'passionate' hockey/businessman

COURTESY: BRYAN HEIM/PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS - Bill Gallacher, a Calgary businessman, took over as owner of the Portland Winterhawks in early October 2008.Oct. 12-16, 2008

The Portland Winterhawks, plagued with poor records and attendance of late, are sold to Calgary businessman Bill Gallacher. "The starting point for any successful franchise is quality ownership. Mr. Gallacher is a very passionate individual of hockey and a very successful businessman who is committed to restoring the Portland franchise to levels the league expects, on and off the ice," Western Hockey League Commissioner Ron Robison says.

Gallacher succeeds co-owners Jim Goldsmith, Jack Donovan and John Bryant, who bought the club in March 2006. The Hawks are averaging 2,659 fans per game early in the 2008-09 WHL season, after having compiled the league's worst record two years in a row.

Gallacher is expected to name Mike Johnston, a former NHL Los Angeles Kings assistant coach, as Portland's coach and general manager.

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