This One is for you Jim Balsillie... You'll Get Your Team Yet!

By Kevin Michaluk on 4 Oct 2009 10:18 am
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I'll never stop being amazed by the things people send in to us on the CrackBerry Tips line... 

Ever wonder what happens when a hockey loving, BlackBerry-using family gets together on a Saturday evening to celebrate a birthday? Apparently after the cake is eaten they gather around the pool table to leave Research in Motion's co-CEO Jim Balsillie a little motivational message.

Don't worry Jim. Your attempt to buy the Phoenix Coyotes may not have gone down as planned, but we all know you'll get your hockey team sooner than later. Stick with it. Want my advice? Offer the NHL that you'll buy two teams. I'm sure if you told Gary Bettman you'll stick one of the teams back in Winnipeg (Bring Back the Jets!) they'll let you put your second team wherever you want it. Hell, I'll even manage the Jets for you!

Kevin Michaluk Kevin Michaluk "Founder, Editor in Chief " 3921 (articles) 3285 (forum posts)
18 comments

codeyh

After the Phoenix situation, Balsillie's done. There's no way that the NHL is going to sell him a franchise.

Why? His wrong moves (especially with Nashville) no...
Why? Rodier being a sketchy, slimy hunchback? no...

Toronto. There's no way that Toronto's going to allow another team in Ontario. So sorry, but it's true.

wirelessgal

It's not Toronto that doesn't want another team here, it's Buffalo. Hamilton has been itching for an NHL team for along time now and that's close to where Buffalo is. Buffalo was close to bankrucpty a few years ago, but the NHL bailed them out. They never sell out, so they feel threatened if a team was to come to Hamilton. The Leafs is completely sold out for the first part of the season. They always sell out, so they don't have an issue now. They did many years ago when an agreement was made with the NHL to not bring a team situated between Toronto and Buffalo.

Anyway, Gary Bettman hates Canada, everyone knows that. He should retire already and hire someone who would look after all teams equally.

Xander99

The NHL has had it's share of clueless financiers leading various teams. I don't mind a team in Hamilton, but not under Balsilie's ownership nor as major shareholder. We don't need another Harold Ballard.

Rev0lver

Just because a team is in canada doesn't mean it'll be a cash cow. Franchises have sailed everywhere - Winnepeg, Montreal, New York, Quebec...you know why? They sucked!

You can have the best management, biggest mountain of cash to sit on, everything...it means nothing if you have no product worth watching on the ice. Why did the Hurricanes make it in Raleigh? Why did the Stars make it in Dallas? Hint: It's got to do with a certain piece of hardware they've won and have come close to winning on multiple occasions.

SuperMesh

So, is it coincidence that all 6 Canadian teams are in the top 10 of revenue generated in the NHL? Tell me why, regardless of the team's season record, Canadian teams continue to sell out each and every game, each and every year.

Also, by your logic... Tampa Bay should be rolling in the money because of 03-04... have you seen the crowd at St. Pete Times Arena?

Rev0lver

If it's so coincidential, why did the Jets move? Why did the Nordiques move? It's not nearly so cut and dry as that, friend. All of my statistics have been taken from October 5-11th edition of Sports Business Journal.

There have been 9 teams in the NHL Sun Belt expansion from the 90s - San Jose, Anaheim, Phoenix, Dallas, Nashville, Atlanta, Florida, Tampa Bay, and Carolina.

The league average of NHL attendance in the last three season has been 17,229. Of the Sun Belt teams in the NHL's recent expansion, three of those teams have actually been over-performing compared to that baseline: Tampa (18,356), Dallas (17,878), and San Jose (17,440).

Two Belt teams are performing on par with the NHL average: Carolina (16,864) and Anaheim (16,855).

Four of the team have been under performing: Atlanta (15,589), Florida (15,476), Nashville (15,060), and Phoenix (14,895).

There's a trend here: All of the teams performing on or above par with the NHL average have either won a Stanley Cup and have been making the playoffs on a somewhat consistent basis; or have just been good teams who have made the playoff with legitimate Stanley Cup winning potential.

Winnepeg had obscene operating costs, and was like the fourth smallest market the NHL had, and they flat out sucked. Guess what? They had to move!

The Nordiques made the playoffs twice in eight years. The canadian dollar was VERY weak by 95ish, and Quebec city was by far the smallest market the NHL had at the time. compound that with rising player salaries, and you've got a flop on your hands.

Hockey can succeed in unlikely markets. You just need to not suck.

codito

Doesn't matter who he buys Red Wings will always be supreme!

Rev0lver

You're better off not commenting about subjects you know nothing about. Ensures that you don't end up looking like a fool.

SuperMesh

Agreed... go buy yourself an iPhone and make yourself feel better about your all mighty opinion.

Ziggi_cam

SuperMesh..
You know i wish he would have gotten the team up there..And hockey has to do with the fans. Take for example the NY Rangers they always have a pretty full arena. I know its Madison Square Garden but its NYR hockey. and they have only a couple of cups only one in the past 40 years.. It depends on fans and there love for there team and canada has alot of hockey fans..and so does the US...FANS FANS FANS. like in the baseball movie. IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME....

SuperMesh

I know that the US has lots of fans. Take Minnesota for example, in 2007 (not sure if it still applies), they sold out every single game since the expansion went there.

No doubt in my mind that hockey will be nothing but money in St. Paul, but places like Tampa and Florida have no business in hockey.

Florida went to the cup finals in 95-96, small strong fan base.
Tampa WON the cup in 03-04, still no strong fan base. To expand on this point, during the SC finals, Calgary had the C of Red and Tampa had their fans wear white. My point behind this is that the fans in Calgary all bought their own merchandise to contribute to the C of Red. Ticket holders going to the SC finals received FREE WHITE T-SHIRTS to get the arena looking white. Even if Calgary didn't win the cup, the revenue generated is making ownership laugh at Tampa.

My point is that even if teams win, if there is no market, there will be no success.

And hockey isn't the only sport. I believe the latest Canada-US casualty are the now defunct Vancouver Grizzlies. Anyone remember that?

jlb21

"Want my advice? Offer the NHL that you'll buy two teams. I'm sure if you told Gary Bettman you'll stick one of the teams back in Winnipeg (Bring Back the Jets!) they'll let you put your second team wherever you want it. Hell, I'll even manage the Jets for you!"

Oh come on now.......are you serious?!?! Everyone knows the best team of the former WHA was the New England/Hartford Whalers. That's the ticket! :)