Dallas Stars President and CEO James Lites discusses his return to the team now under new ownership. Learn how The Stars are strengthening their roster hoping to land once again in the playoffs. Lites shares his strategy on boosting lack-luster attendance and returning the franchise to profitability.
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Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi appointed Jim Lites President and CEO of the Stars on November 18, 2011. Lites is very familiar with the position having held it twice previously under prior owners Norm Green and Tom Hicks.
Lites returns to the Stars with a reputation as one the finest administrators in professional sports. He is responsible for all aspects of the Dallas Stars hockey and business operations and reports directly to Mr. Gaglardi. Lites also returns as an Alternate Governor on the NHL’s Board of Governors, a role he held from 1982-2007. Over the years Lites has served on the Board’s marketing, broadcasting, expansion and game committees.
Over the course of Lites’ two prior stints with the Stars (1993-2002; 2003-2007), the team won seven Division Championships, two Western Conference Championships, two Presidents’ Trophies, and the 1999 Stanley Cup. He played an active role in the conception, design and construction of American Airlines Center and the construction of the Dr Pepper StarCenter ice facilities.
From 1999-2002, Lites also served as president of MLB’s Texas Rangers, becoming one of only four executives to simultaneously manage the affairs of two major league franchises. He served three years on MLB’s Executive Council and was President when the Rangers captured the 1999 AL West Championship.
Prior to joining the Stars in 1993, Lites served 11 years as Chief Operating Officer of the Detroit Red Wings, who during his stint won three Norris Division Championships and two Norris Division Playoff Championships after having missed the playoffs in 10 of the 11 seasons before his hiring. During his tenure, the Red Wings were named by Financial World magazine as the most valuable franchise in the NHL in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993. Lites was also instrumental in the defection of former Soviet stars Sergei Fedorov, Vyacheslav Kozlov and Vladimir Konstantinov, each of whom played important parts of the Red Wings’ record-setting and Stanley Cup Champion hockey clubs.
While with Detroit, Lites also served as Chief Operating Officer of Olympia Arenas, Inc., one of the Midwest’s largest facility management companies. He was also responsible for the redevelopment of Detroit’s historic Fox Theatre, now the most successful entertainment venue of its type in the United States and the cornerstone of Detroit’s growing northside sports, entertainment and gaming complexes.
From 2007 until being rehired by the Stars this fall, Lites has managed the New York Football Giants’ Personal Seat licence program at its new stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. In addition, he has been a consultant to, and a member of the Board of Directors of, Worldplay Networks, a highly successful technology company headquartered in Calgary.
Born and raised in Pentwater, Michigan, Lites received a bachelor of arts degree with highest honors from the University of Michigan in 1975 and graduated cum laude from Wayne State (MI) University Law School in 1978. He specialized in litigation and labor contract negotiations when he practiced law.
Jim and his wife Kim reside in Frisco. They have four children, son Chase, 28, an executive with Northwestern Mutual in Dallas, daughter Brooke, 27, an attorney in Detroit, son Sam, 22, a scout for the Detroit Red Wings, and son Chandler, 20, a junior at SMU.