FIRST EXPANSION BID
1986—Doomed from the start?
The earliest reports I could find of a possible NHL expansion team going to
October 27, 1989
When people from August 15, 1990—The Race Begins
August 15, 1990—The Race Begins
*dropped out before formal bid presentation
August-December 1990: Preparing Bids
Individuals involved with
1. A building (Copps Coliseum, check)
2. 20 year lease in place (check)
3. Local owner (Ron Joyce, check)
4. Owner with deep pockets (Owner of Tim Hortons, check)
5. Minimum of 10,000 season tickets sold (14,000 sold in 24 hours, check)
6. Market that would support hockey team (50 mile radius, 5 million people, check)
7. Corporate support (70 corporate companies committed to purchasing 70 corporate boxes for a minimum of 5 years, check)
December 5, 1990—Bid Presentations
That night, at a party hosted by Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, four NHL governors began a movement to focus on bids that did not deviate from the financial plan. The only two teams who guaranteed $50 million up front were
December 6, 1990—Black Thursday
The NHL announced that the winning bids came from
The announcement sparked outrage in
Speculation on the causes of this result began to hit the presses. Reports coming from
December 12, 1990
The Buffalo Sabres organization placed a half page advertisement in the Hamilton Spectator that read: “The Buffalo Sabres wish to assure the hockey fans of the City of Hamilton that neither the Sabres nor the Toronto Maple Leafs in any way ‘blocked’ or ‘vetoed’ the granting of a franchise to Hamilton”. The Sabres declined to make any further comments on the topic. It sounded more like damage control, especially considering about 15% of
FIRST RELOCATION HOPE
April 28, 1993
The owner of the Edmonton Oilers, Peter Pocklington, gave the City of
Even at this time, Hamiltonians were weary of being used as a bargaining chip. The prescient Dominic Agostino (Hamilton Alderman) said “all [Pocklington] is doing is raising people's hopes and expectations and trying to exploit Hamilton and our citizens for his own purposes" (Toronto Star, Apr 28, 1993). Memories of Black Thursday must have still been lingering in the back of Dominic’s mind.
July 5, 1993
Pocklington decided to keep the team in
SECOND RELOCATION HOPE
May 6, 1996
Mayor Bob Morrow requested cash from the Federal Minister of Finance Paul Martin and Ontario Premiere Bob Rae to help lure the troubled Winnipeg Jets to
May 13, 1996
This week, a group of Hamiltonians, including Bob Morrow, Gabe Macaluso, and a group of American invenstors, traveled to
SECOND EXPANSION BID
The second expansion bid was not as eventful as the first. This time around the Hamilton Spectator gave the city the $100,000 expansion application fee. Mayor Bob Morrow and his team of city councilors traveled to
THIRD AND FOURTH RELOCATION HOPE
January 25, 2003
Richard Rodier (works for law firm in
FIFTH RELOCATION HOPE
An article in the Star Ledger (Oct 8, 2006) stated that at one point, New Jersey Devils owner John McMullen threatened to move the team to Hamilton, until he got a better lease from the Meadowlands of course. I could not find a date for this though. Now that I look back at this exercise, I could have saved myself some time by outlining teams who did not threaten a
SIXTH RELOCATION HOPE
In an interview with the Hamilton Mountain News, Hamilton Councilor Terry Whitehead mentioned that HHC Acquisition Corp. were in talks with owners of the St. Louis Blues. No other developments have been reported on this lead.
SEVENTH RELOCATION HOPE
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the latest player in the ‘move the team to
Richard Rodier once again emerged on behalf of HHC Acquisition Corp. and paid Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc. $250,000 for exclusive rights to bring an NHL franchise to Copps Coliseum.
Deadline for HHC Acquisition Corp.’s rights to Copps Coliseum was June 30th, 2006, so they paid an additional $50,000 to extend their rights for another year.
July 11, 2006
Reports out of
Other interested groups included: (1) Andy Murstein (presidenet of Medallian Corp.) and Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban (who owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks); (2) Sam Fingold (owner of Kenyon Investments) who has ties with Kansas City; (3) Jim Renacci (Ohio businessman and owner of Columbus Destroyers); and (4) Lawrence Gottesdiender (CEO Northland Investment Corp.) who was interested in bringing a team back to Hartford.
July 21, 2006
Not even ten days after a
September 16, 2006
When contacted by the Kitchener Record to comment on rumours surrounding his involvement, Jim Balsillie replied “I do not comment on speculation”.
September 18, 2006
September 19, 2006
Hamilton Spectator headline read “RIM’S Balsillie graduates to ‘no comment’ on NHL talk” (
October 6, 2006
Jim Balsillie purchases the Pittsburgh Penguins for $175 million. This event sparked many news articles and comments on sports forums debating the merits and possibility of moving a team to
Going back to Balsillie, at no time did he nor anyone else provide confirming evidence that he was linked to HHC.
October 13, 2006
HHC withdrew their rights to Copps Coliseum. Journalists discussed two possible explanations for this move. The first hypothesis is that Balsillie is still playing a game because his purchase still requires the NHL’s rubber stamp. By withdrawing their rights to Copps, Balsillie could alleviate any worries the NHL board of governors might have about his intent to move the team. Once they NHL approves the purchase, and the Isle of Capri deal falls through, Balsillie will make his move to
October 15, 2006
Balsillie answered questions for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette about possible places to relocate the Penguins. Here is what he said:
"Hamilton? Yeah, the [Toronto Maple] Leafs will be really supportive of that," he said. "Kansas City? I mean, come on. Now I've taken a 40-minute flight [to Pittsburgh] and made it two hours, and to an unproven market.
"They talk about Oklahoma [City]. It's like, puh-lease. And Portland? Puh-lease. Now I'm going from the frying pan into a big fire."
EIGHTH & NINTH RELOCATION HOPE
The saga continues with the Nashville Predators and now the Phoenix Coyotes. Too much going on--will update this section once we know the outcome of the bankruptcy auction. Good luck Balsillie and Hamilton!
Toronto Star (Feb 16, 1991)
Kitchener-Waterloo Record (Dec 13, 1990), Sabres purchase newspaper ad to deny they vetoed
Hamilton Spectator (Jan 25, 2003) Sens longshot for Hamilton, Ken Peters, E. 01
Star Ledger (Oct 8, 2006). A black cloud for Pens’ fans, Rich Chere.