Friday, June 22, 2007
Some papers pitched the issue as 'the deal has been rejected' or 'Leipold no longer wants to sell to Balsillie', but here are Leipold's exact words:
"We did send the NHL a letter today requesting that it not do any further due diligence on Jim Balsillie's offer for the Nashville Predators until we reach a binding agreement... If Jim is interested in reaching a binding agreement, we are prepared to move forward." (from cbc.ca)
This latest development can be interpreted in two ways: (1) they are trying to scare Balsillie away from the deal, in the same way they scared him away from purchasing the Penguins; or (2) they want things done properly and by the book to ensure the few Nashville fans don't 'come out fighting' as them southerners are prone to do.
The only question that remains is why? Why should Leipold care where Balsillie moves the team? Why is the NHL doing everything in its power to keep a team out of Hamilton? These developments are nothing short of insulting to Hamiltonians and the rest of Canada.
I am starting to get depressed.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
It looks like more politicians are stepping up and helping out with this NHL movement--Judy Marsales, MPP, has organized an online poll and is providing window signs. I doubt an online petition will serve as a 'deal-maker' for Hamilton, but it surely wouldn't hurt. Go to http://www.hamiltonloveshockey.com/ for more information.
I also pointed out that two of the three logos on their website are poorly drawn replicas (discussed here). Ah well, at least Hamilton's NHL history is being recognized.
The only interesting tidbit of information I could extract from today's articles is that the NHL will not consider Balsillie's incomplete application. Although we do not have the details about what was not completed, Bettman suggested that a binding agreement between Basillie and Leipold is required. Balsillie's game plan was to avoid a binding agreement unless he receives assurances that he can relocate the team, a request that was rejected by the NHL. It was obvious when viewing a video of Bettman's press conference that he had a rather smug look on his face, providing the odd smirk every time he explained Balsillie's 'shortcomings'.
All these supposed 'rules' Bettman cites are really just arbitrary policies that can be changed. You can bet that if Balsillie was Bruckheimer, and Hamilton was Las Vegas, the sale and possibly the relocation plans would have already been signed and sealed.
To summarize, according to Bettman, there are three things that need to happen: (1) Balsillie submits a complete application, by complete he means a 'binding agreement'; (2) NHL will make a decision on the sale based on the complete application; (3) only after the sale is complete will they consider any relocation plans. Since Balsillie wanted assurances for step 3, it will be interesting to see how he responds. The ball is now in Balsillie's court.
Aside: In the world of the NHL, where we really do not know what happens behind closed doors, plans may already be in place for the sale and relocation to happen, and these comments (and gag-order) are just a way to temporarily appease the people in Nashville while papers get signed. Bettman confirmed he spoke with Balsillie as recently as last Monday--if only we had a wire tap.
An interesting note: The Toronto Maple Leafs sent FOUR delegates to this meeting: Richard Peddie (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment CEO), Larry Tanenbaum (chairman), Dale Lastman (board member), and John Ferguson (general manager). Eight arms are better than two, I suppose, at strong-arming the other owners. The battle between 'the greater good and greed' continues.
For an interesting interpretation of yesterday's events, I recommend an article by Damien Cox in the Toronto Star.
Here are some quotes from the Globe and Mail article...
"First, it's a great thing for [Balsillie],” Gretzky said. “Obviously, he's excited about it. If it actually works out that he gets to move the team to Hamilton is something that we'll have to follow over the next little while."
"On the other side of it, I feel very disappointed for the people of Nashville. But that's business, that's life. I will say this that if the team is allowed to move to that area [Hamilton], it will be tremendously successful."
"You're not just drawing from Hamilton, you're drawing from places like Brantford,” Gretzky said, chuckling at the mention of his hometown, “Burlington and Oakville. I'm not worried about the success for that franchise. I remember back in 1987, when we played the Canada Cup there. It was overwhelming."
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
To all Nashville Predator fans:
Excuse us Canadians (particularly Hamiltonians) if we are not sympathetic to your impending NHL loss. Yes, there are some Nashville fans who will be upset with spending their money on season tickets and merchandise, only to see their team move up north. But with a team that finished third overall with a fan base that barely cracked an average attendance of 14,000 and season ticket sales of less than 9,000 is quite simply pathetic. You have been coddled by the NHL, and are now acting like spoiled brats, wanting something you do not deserve.
If that does not explain our lack of sympathy, perhaps a history lesson on Hamilton's numerous disappointments will suffice. Since the 1970's, Hamiltonians have been subjected to at least seven relocation and two expansion opportunities. Each time, the citizens of Hamilton and Southern Ontario were elated and even provided proof of their support (e.g. built an arena, sold out season tickets in 2 days during the 1990 expansion bid), only to have their hopes crushed. Not only have we been used as leverage for other owners to get better deals in their city (e.g. Pocklington in Edmonton), our expansion bids by any objective measure were superior to others, only to lose out Southern American cities and less deserving bids. And I am just touching the surface here. For more details I recommend seeing http://hamiltontigers.blogspot.com/2006/10/bringing-nhl-back-to-hamilton-synopsis.html.
No one, not even Canadians up until now, cared much about these heartbreaking events. You had a gift that Hamiltonians could only dream of, and you (the collective you, including corporate sponsors) could care less. So please, excuse us for not shedding a tear.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Just last week, Brunt also gave us a one-liner that epitomizes Hamilton's territorial rights situation: "it's the greater good versus greed". If you have time, send Stephen an e-mail thanking him for educating people on these matters (or thank him indirectly by buying his book).
Friday, June 15, 2007
AM 900 CHML and sister stations Y108 and Country 95.3 are holding a pep rally Monday morning.
It will be broadcast live on the morning show of all 3 stations.
When you show up at our parking lot at 875 Main Street West, we'll ask you to sign a petition of support for the team, that will be sent to the NHL.
Show up to show your support!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
A more objective measure of true interest is in the number of season ticket sales.
Results as of June 15, 2007
Keep the Preds in Nashville Groups (team established 9 years ago)
7 Groups: 4,182 members
If the Predators come to
Bring the Predators to
Running Tally of Ticket Sales
As of 8:42pm, June 14, 2007 (Canadian Press)
After 10hours, 42 minutes
4,700 Lower Bowl ($4,700,000)
2,500 Upper Bowl ($1,250,000)
60 Suites ($300,000)
TOTAL: 7,260 ($6,250,000)
As of 9:28pm, June 14, 2007 (Shoalts, Globe & Mail)
After 9 years
<9,000You be the judge of where a team belongs.
So here we are. It has been 17 years since season tickets for an NHL team in Hamilton has gone on sale without actually having a team, and now we have an opportunity to do it all over again. As disappointing as that 1990 outcome was, I suggest we provide the NHL another whopping statement that despite their bullying over the years, we are still a hockey-mad city. Last time it took us 24 hours to sell out, I wonder if we can match that today.
Tickets are now on sale! I bought mine, did you buy yours? Click on the image to get a taste of things to come (hopefully).
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
You probably think I'm getting ahead of myself, and you are probably right. I figure we might as well enjoy this while we can (assuming this may be another dead end for Hamilton).
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
The timing could not be any better. Reports from the National Post tell us that
Whatever happened to a free market? Imagine a city that allows established businesses to veto other businesses from setting up shop on the other side of town so that everyone in the region has to travel and shop there for the product. That is essentially what Balsillie faces in moving the Predators to
We can only hope that the combined effort of Balsillie and Canada’s Competition Bureau will not only confirm that Hamilton’s NHL dreams have been hampered by greedy owners and ‘old boys club’ camaraderie (if you don't believe me, read this), but will set the stage for an NHL club representing Hamiltonians and others from the Golden Horseshoe.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Golden Horseshoe Tigers?
Balsillie is operating a group called 'Golden Horseshoe Sports and Entertainment Inc' (GHSE). I simply love it. Not only does it smack MLSE in the face, but it might foreshadow his vision for another team in Southern Ontario. I now have a feeling that he will market the team as the 'Golden Horseshoe [Predators, Tigers, Loyalists, or whatever]'. This gives him some leeway for possibly keeping the team in Hamilton while he builds a new one in Cambridge. As much as my preference is for GHSE to bring back the Tigers, I would be happy with the 'Golden Horseshoe Tigers', and would live with anything else he called it, as long as the team is based in Hamilton.
Jim Balsillie: Hamilton's New Thomas McQuesten?
There are few people in Hamilton's history that made significant changes to our image, economy, and landscape (e.g. Thomas McQuestion brought McMaster University to Hamilton and supported the Royal Botanical Gardens). It looks like the deal for rights to Copps Coliseum includes operating the other facilities owned by HECFI, which suggests a long term commitment to downtown Hamilton. If in a perfect world this deal works out, Balsillie may play an integral role in Hamilton's renaissance.
Cat out of the bag?
Did Mayor Eisenberger make a faux pas by telling the Hamilton Spectator that Balsillie intends on moving the Nashville Predators to Hamilton, or is it part of GHSE's scheme to reduce investor interest in Nashville? This is all very interesting, and will definitely lead to many sleepless nights as I try to make sense of it all.
1. Dreschel (May 31, 2007). Another shot at NHL team for Hamilton. The Hamilton Spectator.