The Phoenix Coyotes or Balsillie vs the NHL


wulfie68
#1
OK by now I think we've all seen this in the news. It seems every year, Jim Balsillie makes news at this time of year by trying to get involved with a troubled NHL team and bring them to Windsor, London or Hamilton. He's gone through it with Pittsburgh, Nashville and now Phoenix.

Now I don't have a problem with southern Ontario finally getting an NHL team, but this guy is starting to irk me for a couple reasons, and in fairness I'll admit maybe some of it isn't his fault but some is. I don't fault him for wanting a team: he's got money and drive/ambition which might make him into a decent owner (or he might be a wingnut in waiting... think someone like Al Davis of the NFL's Oakland Raiders). I'm not a fan of how he goes about it: with both Nashville and Pittsburgh he talked about maintaining the team where it was as long as his conditions were met (which were stretches), and in Phoenix he's trying to circumvent the NHL entirely from word go. This whole attitude makes me wonder what kind of owner he'll be, when he shows little respect for the league and its protocols before he's even "in the club". It also sits wrong with me that he seems to start each campaign with press statements/releases, getting the Ontario sports public worked into a frenzy, ending up in the whole "Balsillie vs Bettman" thing and trying to leverage that populist support into getting what he wants. Part of it also stems from the fact that this always happens in the playoffs, once Toronto and Montreal are out of it, and it pulls coverage away from the remaining teams involved, with the media bias (they go where the people are) creating a "national" issue out of a local one.

I also think its unfair the way people in this country characterize Gary Bettman. First of all Bettman is more or less a spokesman for the NHL team owners and his actions reflect what THEY want. People come down on Bettman for the movement of Winnipeg and Quebec, calling him anti-Canadian, but at the same time one of the first expansion franchises under his watch was Ottawa, and when Edmonton and Ottawa were both in danger of being sold and moving (presumably south of the border), they were given chances to find local ownership and sponsourship which led to the saving of those franchises. He was also the commissioner that brought in the salary cap that made the game more competitive, instead of just being a league of haves and have-nots. Bettman also has said (now that our dollar isn't at 65 cents US) that the possibility of future expansion or relocation of teams to Canada isn't out of the picture. Now I'm not a huge fan ofthe guy: he's not my first choice as a commissioner and I think under his stewardship the NHL has over expanded (and subsequently dilluted the talent pool), especially into markets where its not been able to establish itself.

I didn't watch too carefully when the Rockies left Colorado to become the new Jersey Devils, or when Nordiques left Quebec City to become the Colorado Avalanche, or when the Minnesota Northstars left to become Dallas. I did watch more closely when the Winnipeg Jets moved to become the Coyotes, and being a northern Albertan I saw a LOT more of the efforts involved in keeping the Oilers in Edmonton. I empathize with fans losing their teams but at the same time I see some of the failures and have to admit objectively that the cities and thew NHL weren't a fit. I don't know if Phoenix can be viable for the NHL but at the same time, I think Phoenix deserves the chance Winnipeg, Edmonton and Ottawa all had, to try to keep their team. If no one wants to try then move it, but moving it shouldn't be the first option, as Mr Balsillie appears to want.

Damn. I almost wrote a book...
 
GreenFish66
#2
Good message wolfie 68..There's always more to an issue than meets the eye..I believe Canada/ontario could use and proudly support another hockey team..But I have no doubt in my mind this issue is more for political/business positioning than it is an actual possiblity for Canada to get a failing american Hockey team..

My bid is for a new areana and a new NHL hockey team in southern ont..
 
GreenFish66
#3
Go K-W Coyotes...All the way to the cup..!


......Come on Mr. Bettman ..Canada needs another nhl team...K-W Coyotes..

For Canadians/ontarians/kw'ers/Jim Balsilliens.

Go K-W Coyotes....Just what we need...We'll even build a new Areana!

 
Johnnny
#4
bring back the Winnipeg Jets , or the Quebec nordiques.... When i was in winnipeg last month, i asked about the Jets and everyone person said they wanted them back... And im sure the Quebecois would support a 2nd team if they had the oppourtunity.

But im sure reality would say otherwise
 
YukonJack
#5
Let us face it:

If the people of Quebec City had not been so cheap, the Nordiques would not have had tio move.

If the people of Winnipeg had not been so cheap, the Jets would not have had to move.

And there are some people who want either or both of these teams back in Canada?
 
TenPenny
#6
What upsets me is that the NHL had no issues with moving teams to the US, or from the northern US to the sunbelt.

But now they have all kinds of reasons for not liking the idea of moving a team to Canada. This whole 'play by the NHL rules' is foolish - it's called collusion, or a cartel, and would be illegal in any other sort of business. The whole thing is a thinly disguised effort to protect the value of the Leafs, the most-valuable franchise in professional sports.

The NHL is simply a business, but the old-boys club that runs it is trying to pretend it's more than that. I think Balsillie might as well buy up the Canadiens.
 
talloola
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

The NHL is simply a business, but the old-boys club that runs it is trying to pretend it's more than that. I think Balsillie might as well buy up the Canadiens.

Bettman and his henchmen would 'kill' that too, they would find a way.
He is a horrible commissioner, and we have to sit by and put up with it.
He has no interest in anything in canada, just kansas and las vegas, makes
me sick.
He does enjoy all the money the canadian teams bring in, which he can hand over
to those failing u.s. teams, works for him i guess.
 
wulfie68
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

What upsets me is that the NHL had no issues with moving teams to the US, or from the northern US to the sunbelt.

I see this as a blade that can cut two ways: if a team in the sun belt does well, it can broaden the market and expand the game as a whole which is a good thing. However I agree that the NHL has been overly aggressive in trying to reach into the southern markets and in most cases it hasn't worked. And lets be honest here a couple years ago, Chicago, one of the Original Six, had more empty seats than full ones, primarily because of the way the club was being run, which demonstrates that markets can be turned around (but it definately helps to have a history, like Chicago does).

Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

But now they have all kinds of reasons for not liking the idea of moving a team to Canada. This whole 'play by the NHL rules' is foolish - it's called collusion, or a cartel, and would be illegal in any other sort of business.

No its called franchising. If you own a MacDonalds but don't like the rules and disobey them, they can strip you of your franchise. You can still sell hamburgers but you can't sell/use anything related to the MacDonalds chain. Its the same deal. As well, the NHL, like the NFL, MLB and the NBA are under an anti-trust exemption (at least in the US) but that doesn't give them carte blanche: its puts them under the direct supervision of gov't. And as I said above, I don't know how much effort the NHL put into finding new ownership in QC or the 'Peg, but they tried hard to keep Edmonton and Ottawa in place so I really don't buy the anti-Canadian thing, especially given where over half the players are from. They just want teams to make money and for a long time our dollar was an impediment to that.

Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

The whole thing is a thinly disguised effort to protect the value of the Leafs, the most-valuable franchise in professional sports.

Forbes magazine says you're wrong. According to them the Maple Leafs are worth just over $400 million, topping the NHL. There are 24 teams in other sports valued in excess of $1 billion, including Manchester United of the EPL, the New York Yankees and 19 of the 30 NFL teams (the NFL's least valuable team is Minnesota at $839 million, still well above the Leafs). Here's the link: The Most Valuable Teams In Sports - Forbes.com


Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

The NHL is simply a business, but the old-boys club that runs it is trying to pretend it's more than that. I think Balsillie might as well buy up the Canadiens.

I agree to an extent but most industries are Old Boys clubs at the upper levels. You don't always have to get along with everyone but the networking is important, and even more so when you're in a situation like a sports league: you need common ground rules to make it a go, from the actual rules of the game, to financials (collective bargaining agreements, salary caps, marketing agreements, etc), to recruiting and tampering, etc. At this point Balsillie has tried to do end runs around the NHL 3 times: Pittsburgh, Nashville and now Phoenix, so where is he showing the league he can be trusted to abide by the rules if he becomes an owner? I don't know if the NHL will ever allow him to purchase a team, even if George Gilette decided to sell him the Habs. And as for the fans, I'd be nervous about this guy: I think he's the type that could be an Al Davis or Mark Cuban.
 
TenPenny
#9
Your comments are spot on - in order to get into the old boys club of the NHL, you have to suck up to (or off) the establishment. It's not about anything else. Genuflect to the anointed, and we'll let you in.

It doesn't matter what kind of idiot you are (see Tampa), as long as you suck up to the king.
 
Cannuck
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by YukonJackView Post

Let us face it:

If the people of Quebec City had not been so cheap, the Nordiques would not have had tio move.

If the people of Winnipeg had not been so cheap, the Jets would not have had to move.

And there are some people who want either or both of these teams back in Canada?

Cheapness had nothing to do with it. Business did. At that particular moment in time, a team in Winnipeg or Kweebeck City was not economically viable. A team is viable in Winnipeg now because, unlike ten years ago, the dollar is stronger, the city has a new arena and there is a workable agreement with the players.

I always thought it was the NDPers that had a tough time grasping free enterprise concepts...are you sure you are a conservative?
 
DichotoMe
#11
The state of professional sports leagues themselves has become overblown. There are many reasons for this. Some might include huge profit, insane salaries, drug-use, owner apathy, bitchy players, violence issues, strikes, watered down talent and cartel-like leagues... It was because of these issues, among others, that my interest in certain leagues has come, gone and came back a couple times. The NHL is one of these leagues.

I don't, nor have I ever, lived in Winnipeg. Yet the Jets were my team. When they were moved I stopped watching the NHL regularly until about 2008. I filled my hockey thirst by watching other leagues such as the CHL, AHL, IHL.... whatever I could find. I did watch the playoffs occasionally when a Canadian team had a shot. The last few years have been getting me back into the NHL. Hockey is a matter of national pride for many many Canadians, myself included. So when I see the game improved in some cases yet bastardized in other cases I have mixed feelings. Gary Buttman has been at the helm for all of my NHL-detached life. Coincidence, maybe?

I can accept the economic reasoning behind moving the Jets & Nordiques. What I can't accept is that this same reasoning is not being applied now in places like Florida, Atlanta, Nashville and Phoenix. These teams have been around long enough that they should have built enough of a fan base to support their team. How much longer should owners lose money on these investments. The major flaw in the NHL's expansion was not building the sport in these areas long before moving in. There is no easy way to build interest in a new sport to people who don't know anything about it. These places need the grass roots infrastructure in which they can learn to play hockey and, in playing the game, then they start to love it. The old "If it don't fit force it" mentality won't work. At least Nashville and Dallas both now have fairly well implemented minor hockey associations and the fees for tots/mites leagues are comparable to Canadian tot rates. My fear is that not enough people will be exposed to playing the game. Only kids whose parents have the money can play, potentially making hockey an elitist sport down south. It is quite expensive to register a kid even in some junior leagues. In Florida it can cost around $2400 plus gear to register your kid in a junior league. There are many obstacles to growing hockey in the states. This should be the domain of the Hockey USA with some help from the NHL. This is the second chance for a few of these locations and they are still struggling. Once there is a city, with money and arena, interested in a NHL team down south then move there.

All that being said, the economic situation in Canada has improved. We have cities that can support NHL teams. We need more Canadian teams. This will "grow the game" (well, REVENUE, we all know what league owners want) much faster than waiting for hockey to catch on in the desert. Jim Balsillie knows this and is obviously a smarter business man than Buttman, he is simply opening the can of worms. Kudos for that. This is his third attempt to purchase a team. He went through the motions the first time but was denied. The second time sorta the same thing. He now realizes what it will take for him to get a team in Hamilton and is doing just that to make it happen. His tactics are the same as Buttman's, loudest mouth and biggest bite wins. Balsillie has the support of, i'm guessing, 75% of Canadian hockey fans. He now has the loudest mouth. However, Buttman's Board probably has the bigger bite and will chew up as much time as possible dragging this out. Just have to wait and see.

For me, bottom line ... F@*$ the NHL. Go Balsillie, I need a new team!
Last edited by DichotoMe; May 25th, 2009 at 12:26 AM..Reason: more accurate phrasing
 
talloola
#12
If the courts rule that the phoenix coyotes can go into bankrupcy, then so be it,, but the NHL board of governors will still vote 'down' his bid to buy the
team, and they will sell it someone else, even if the price is much lower, and
the courts can't do anything about that, it is their league, and their decision.
The 'ole boys club', will go behind closed doors and do what they do, they obviously
don't care at all about the owner of the coyotes, he is losing millions, and knows
someone who will buy his team, but they will sit back and watch him lose and lose
and lose millions each year, and do nothing about it.

Why didn't he fight to keep hockey in winnipeg and quebec, as he is in phoenix.
Can someone explain that to me?
 
shadowshiv
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by talloolaView Post

If the courts rule that the phoenix coyotes can go into bankrupcy, then so be it,, but the NHL board of governors will still vote 'down' his bid to buy the
team, and they will sell it someone else, even if the price is much lower, and
the courts can't do anything about that, it is their league, and their decision.
The 'ole boys club', will go behind closed doors and do what they do, they obviously
don't care at all about the owner of the coyotes, he is losing millions, and knows
someone who will buy his team, but they will sit back and watch him lose and lose
and lose millions each year, and do nothing about it.

Why didn't he fight to keep hockey in winnipeg and quebec, as he is in phoenix.
Can someone explain that to me?

Because he wasn't going to get a piece of the pie.

Bettman talks out of his *** so many times it is no wonder he is so full of crap.
 
Kreskin
#14
This is an interesting situation. Bettman does everything he can to keep Balsillie out, and it's pretty obvious he has a dislike for the guy. But if he does get in, Bettman works for Balsillie. Considering their histories, keeping Balsillie out is now probably a matter of survival for Bettman.
 
shadowshiv
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

This is an interesting situation. Bettman does everything he can to keep Balsillie out, and it's pretty obvious he has a dislike for the guy. But if he does get in, Bettman works for Balsillie. Considering their histories, keeping Balsillie out is now probably a matter of survival for Bettman.

And now there is another reason I want him to get a team.
 
Kreskin
#16
Quote:

Why didn't he fight to keep hockey in winnipeg and quebec, as he is in phoenix.
Can someone explain that to me?

It's greed in search of the next dollar. Back then everyone wanted everything in the US, close to potential corporate money and big dollar paybacks. Especially when Canada didn't have it's fiscal house in order and the US dollar was everything. Remember Larry Smith, CFL Commish? He practically moved the entire CFL south of the border. And to him in made perfect sense. If his thinking was that way, imagine what a failed NBA Commissioner coming to the NHL would think about US expansion of a game already there.
 
Kreskin
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by shadowshivView Post

And now there is another reason I want him to get a team.

You can bet another team in Southern Ontario would hurt teams like Buffalo who have a fan base from Canadians who can't get into the AC. He'll not only have Balsillie ready to toss him, the owners of those teams will want his head.
 
Cannuck
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by talloolaView Post

Why didn't he fight to keep hockey in winnipeg and quebec, as he is in phoenix. Can someone explain that to me?

Potential. The NHL is not going to grow that much in Canada. In the US, there are are probably 250 million people that wouldn't know what a hockey puck was if it hit them in the face.
 
wulfie68
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by CannuckView Post

Potential. The NHL is not going to grow that much in Canada. In the US, there are are probably 250 million people that wouldn't know what a hockey puck was if it hit them in the face.

True, there is a tremendous potential in tapping the US market if you can access it but at the same time, if the revenue generation can more easily occur in parts of Canada, then it only makes sense to take advantage of it to some degree.

I think the problem was, no matter how they crunched the numbers, they couldn't make a team financially viable in either Winnipeg or Quebec City. I don't know if they looked at a group of investors like Edmonton did to get the Oilers from Pocklington or not, but I do remember a little bit about Jets fans hating their owner, which never helps: getting rid of Pocklington was the biggest obstacle in getting the Oilers stable. In addition both QC and Winnipeg are smaller so it makes it even tougher for the numbers to add up (Wiki cited the 2006 census so its a pretty safe bet to say these numbers are decent ones but they're still higher than they would have been in '95 and '96 when the Nords and then Jets moved south List of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in Canada - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ).

We have to be honest about our outlooks/assessments as well: with our dollar in the crapper, as it was until the last couple years, as well as the completely unregulated player salary situation, all the Canadian teams except the Maple Laughs and to a lesser degree the Habnots had problems making ends meet. People want to blame Bettman but he worked on effects not causes: if team owners in QC and the 'Peg were hemoraging cash to the point where they couldn't survive, because of the economy, how is that Bettman's fault? He didn't vote in the federal gov'ts whose monetary policies caused the problems and he had a lockout in '94 and lost half a season trying to fix the salary situation and was villified for it (for failing?), just as he's villified for the loss of the '04-'05 season. Honestly I blame the actual owners for being stupid enough to escalate salaries as they always do, more than I blame Bettman.

Honestly I would love to see a team or two come North, but I still think Balsillie isn't the type of owner anyone wants: there has to be rules, even for owners (or we end up with Salary Cap violations, etc), and he's shown no interest in abiding by them in his attempts thus far.
 
talloola
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

You can bet another team in Southern Ontario would hurt teams like Buffalo who have a fan base from Canadians who can't get into the AC. He'll not only have Balsillie ready to toss him, the owners of those teams will want his head.

And now there are two u.s. senators who have stepped foward and complained
about the possi bility of another team in hamilton, because they say it will
hurt buffalo, but no mention of the poor 'schmuck' (or rich schmuck for now), who
is losing millions in phoenix.
Last edited by talloola; May 25th, 2009 at 12:20 PM..
 
talloola
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by wulfie68View Post

Honestly I would love to see a team or two come North, but I still think Balsillie isn't the type of owner anyone wants: there has to be rules, even for owners (or we end up with Salary Cap violations, etc), and he's shown no interest in abiding by them in his attempts thus far.

Canada only needs a couple of teams to come north, and we are not asking
them to go to spuzzum or newfoundland, they would be coming to markets
where the people are hungry for a hockey team, and it doesn't have to be
hamilton either. A group is suggesting another team for southern b.c., as
I guess the marketing of such an idea has turned up positive results, I wonder.
Winnipeg would be perfect because of the hockey interest and the location,
and our dollar is strong now. Not sure about quebec, don't understand why
a province such as them, allowed their team to leave, 'french canada', hockey?
doesn't make sense, they love their hockey.
I know our dollar was weak at that time, but we are doing well now, now is
now, that was history and
why can't a u.s. owner, own another team in canada, they own everything
else here, canucks were owned by a u.s. owner.

But some teams are sitting in the u.s. with fans who don't care, and owners
who are losing 'big bucks', isn't that exactly what happened here in canada,
and he had them out of here as fast as he could, drooling and smiling his little
smirk, and couldn't wait for those teams to settle in the u.s. where he wanted
them, maybe we better be careful of some of our remaining teams, he might
snatch them up too, (just kidding), but 'just' give him a reason, lets use edmonton
as an example, if they began hurting and losing money each year, they would
be GONE, and does anyone here believe he would spend all the time he has in
phoenix, who's owner is losing hundreds of millions, and let a team sit in
Edmonton under those circumstances, not a chance, it would be his chance to
snatch them up, and relocate them.

.
 
talloola
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

You can bet another team in Southern Ontario would hurt teams like Buffalo who have a fan base from Canadians who can't get into the AC. He'll not only have Balsillie ready to toss him, the owners of those teams will want his head.

It should be handed to 'whoever', on a platter.
 
talloola
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by wulfie68View Post

Honestly I would love to see a team or two come North, but I still think Balsillie isn't the type of owner anyone wants: there has to be rules, even for owners (or we end up with Salary Cap violations, etc), and he's shown no interest in abiding by them in his attempts thus far.

There is no way he could violate salary cap rules, all have to abide by them,
and so would a team of his. He has tons of money, is passionate for a team,
he knows bettman will blackball him so his last resort is to come to the people,
where he will get support.
Once he owns a team, he has to play by the rules, simple, or his team won't
get to play.
Maybe the one area he needs to be more flexible is the 'location', and if he won't
move on that point, then he starts to become a little like bettman, why doesn't
he consider winnipeg, it's still in canada.
 
MrRight
#24
There are two major issues, a) NHL wants to expand its fan base (i.e. playing 2 absolute useless games in Europe when they have the KHL taking over across the pond, and b) the fact that the Leafs have the biggest fan base in and outside of their home barn. So this causes a massive problem. If you have another team coming into the back yard of another team which has so much influence, such a big fan base, and the fact that they can fill out every game even tho they havent won a cup, or been to the final dance in how many years, and you get another team trying to come in and possibly take away fans, owners start to get ancy, and when you have lots of money (including Teachers pension) you have a lot of power, and influence on what goes in your yard.
 
talloola
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by MrRightView Post

There are two major issues, a) NHL wants to expand its fan base (i.e. playing 2 absolute useless games in Europe when they have the KHL taking over across the pond, and b) the fact that the Leafs have the biggest fan base in and outside of their home barn. So this causes a massive problem. If you have another team coming into the back yard of another team which has so much influence, such a big fan base, and the fact that they can fill out every game even tho they havent won a cup, or been to the final dance in how many years, and you get another team trying to come in and possibly take away fans, owners start to get ancy, and when you have lots of money (including Teachers pension) you have a lot of power, and influence on what goes in your yard.

A team in Hamilton wouldn't affect the leafs, but it might affect Buffalo.
 
MrRight
#26
I think it would, you are taking away fan base ( not to mention future business meetings) when you can go to a closer game in Steel Town.
 
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