Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie has accused NHL commissioner Gary Bettman of forcing the owner of the Nashville Predators to break off discussions about the sale of the team to Balsillie, ESPN.com has learned.
The Canadian ownership group also alleges Bettman directed Predators owner Craig Leipold to focus on closing a deal with William “Boots” Del Biaggio III, who is the front man for a group trying to bring an NHL team to Kansas City.
“We were advised by Mr. Leipold that the commissioner had found out about the existence of the negotiations and ordered him to immediately cease any further communications with us,” Balsillie’s legal representative, Richard Rodier, told ESPN.com this week.
from the Nashville Predators,
The Nashville Predators entered the newest era in equipment innovation, unveiling their newly redesigned and technologically-advanced jerseys for the 2007-08 season at a team rally held Thursday inside the Sommet Center….
“It is going to be a change that I think is needed,” Legwand said. “Obviously they are going to be tighter-fitting, and that will be weird at first, but I think we will all get used to it. The game changes, and I think it is time for a change – there really hasn’t been a jersey change since the ‘70s and ‘80s. This is going to be a big one, but people should like them.”
read on and see a few pictures of the new design…
from the Daily News Journal,
Without question, it was a feel-good day for the franchise, the local hockey community and the Predators themselves.
Chances are, though, it accomplished little, if anything.
After all, this was not the first time the Predators held a ticket drive. Back in 1997, they needed 12,000 commitments before the franchise was approved by the NHL commissioner and its board of governors. Every day for weeks the count was updated until that number was reached and Middle Tennessee’s place on the professional sports map was secured.
Then what happened? Within three or four years, the number of Predators’ season-ticket holders had dropped by more than one-third.
Let’s face it: Ticket drives (or any sort of drive, for that matter) are effective only to a point. Everyone likes to feel as if they are a part of something, but rarely do such tactics produce any sort of long-lasting results.
Geez, I leave the computer for an hour and have about 30 emails asking me about this from Dwayne…
According to a source, the Preds have entered into a letter of intent with a local group in Nashville to have the negotiation rights to buy the Preds…
Not true folks, could be down the road but not true at this time… One more things folks, you won’t find that written on his blog, because he deleted it. No, I can’t believe that…ha!
added 5:26pm, from the Tennessean,
The result of today’s meeting is that Nashville has the opportunity to move very quickly to retain the Predators and to do so under local ownership,” said David Freeman, chief executive officer of 36 Venture Capital LLC and one of the coalition leaders.
“While we have not yet signed a purchase agreement, our discussions were very encouraging for Nashville if we can move quickly and decisively to ensure the club’s long-term financial stability.”
The Nashville Predators avoided salary arbitration with Vern Fiddler on Wednesday, signing the forward to a US$1.7-million, two-year contract.
from the Tennessean,
The next step in the sale of the Predators could come as early as today.
Sources familiar with the situation confirmed late Tuesday that current owner Craig Leipold and members of a Nashville group which has bid for the team will travel to New York this morning to meet with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
It is believed Leipold plans to sign a letter of intent to sell the Predators to either the local group or to California-based businessman William “Boots” Del Biaggio III.
from the NashvillePost.com,
Thursday’s rally to drive ticket sales for the Nashville Predators seems certain to draw legions of fans, but it may not have the desired effect in a critical area for the team – companies buying tickets.
Sources say that the all-day effort, which will be broadcast live on sports talk radio 104.5 The Zone, may be getting off the message that Nashville’s corporate community needs to step up more and buy the pricier tickets in the lower bowl….
As of today, season ticket sales were about 7,452. Last year, the final season ticket number was 8,758. Of current sales, 1,201 are new, according to figures obtained by NashvillePost.com. Of those, 467 are to businesses. That’s 38.9%, a little higher than the 35 percent of ticket sales last year to businesses, a good indicator that sales are moving in the direction the team has wanted for years.
from the Tennessean,
The Predators brought three more players back into the fold Monday but still have moves to make in order to reach the minimum salary cap of $34.3 million by Oct. 4….
Predators General Manager David Poile said some of that deficit will be made up by player bonuses, which count toward the cap at the start of the season. But it’s also likely the Predators will make a trade or sign another player before the start of the regular season Oct. 4.
“There’s going to have be another move in there,’’ Poile said. “It could be a trade or something like that, but we certainly have some more flexibility to add some salary to get to the league minimum.
“That puts us, I hope, in a very enviable position to attract some players and or teams to talk to us between now and the start of the season.’‘
from the Tennessean,
The Predators, who finished last season with an average of 13,815 paid fans per game, are trying to increase their ticket base for the coming season.
An average of 14,000 paid fans per game would keep the team’s lease with the city intact, making it all but impossible for any prospective owner to move the Predators.
An average of 16,000 paid fans per game would allow new ownership to break even, according to David Freeman, chief executive officer of 36 Venture Capital LLC and one of the leaders of a local ownership bid.
“The ticket rally is very important. Critical,’’ Freeman said via e-mail. “It will show the NHL whether Nashville is a hockey market or not. It will confirm to our ownership group that our faith and investment in the city is warranted.
from George Richards at the Miami Herald,
‘‘It’s a big loss for Nashville and a big loss for these kids and their families,’’ said Jennifer Miller, a director at the Vanderbilt hospital. ‘When they found out about the trade, it was like, `Are you serious?’ He loves these kids and the kids looked up to him so much. He had such a big heart.
``To them, he could do no wrong. He could walk on water to these kids here.’‘
It’s expected Vokoun—a father of two children—will continue his work once he takes up residence in South Florida. It’s unfortunate, but pain and suffering isn’t restricted to one community.
‘‘Life is not fair,’’ Vokoun said. ``You see kids who are sick, and they did nothing to deserve that. They are just innocent kids with their whole lives in front of them. Yet they’re sick. It’s not fair, that’s for sure.’‘
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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