Who really wants to keep the Phoenix Coyotes out of Hamilton, Canada? Let’s explore some of the issues.
The Coyotes lost approximately 30 million dollars last year. Who would want to repeat that this winter? Canada’s Jim Balsillie has bid 212.5 million to buy the team and move it out of the deserts of Phoenix, Arizona and relocate it to Hamilton. His bids have been continually blocked. It can’t be for financial instability, as he is only a billionaire, successful entrepreneur , hockey fanatic and co-CEO of Research in Motion. He is also an accountant with a Harvard MBA.
His bid overshadows the latest bid by Jerry Reinsdorf of 148 million. Balsillie’s bid is 64 million more.
I thought money talked. Maybe not Canadian money. Does NHL commissioner Gary Bettman have something against Balsillie or maybe against a team going to Canada? Is he influencing the other NHL owners to toe his hard line and vote Balsillie out. Is he biased towards Teams in American cities?
Canada is hockey country. Most of the players are Canadian. There actually is some snow in Hamilton. The greater Toronto area (GTA) encompasses a population of 3 million people. These hockey starved fans would relish another team. The Leaf arena has been sold out for years. You can’t buy a ticket. There is a huge fan base there. They could easily fill an arena. They could reverse a team’s multi-million dollar deficit to one of profitability. As of now the owners are subsidizing the Coyotes; throwing cash at it to keep it afloat. What difference would an ownership change make in Phoenix anyway?
Another factor is an NHL rule that states that no other franchise can be located within the home area of another franchise. The home area extends for a radius of 50 miles. Hamilton is within the boundaries of the Toronto Maple Leaf franchise. But then again the Leaf owners have the ability to waive this clause off. Are they afraid of the competition? On the other hand, the rivalry just might turn them around and give them that edge to be a real cup contender. Hamilton is a win, win, win, for the city, the Coyotes and the NHL.
There are more bids being offered. What’s next?
By Doug McBeth