Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Tennessean,
The lawyer for the Predators’ prospective new owner says Jim Balsillie wants to take a run at the Stanley Cup in the coming season and that Balsillie plans to give general manager David Poile the payroll to do so.
Toronto-based attorney Richard Rodier made the comments in response to a Tennessean report which stated that Poile had not received any payroll guidance, despite the fact only three weeks remain before the unrestricted free agency period begins.
“We want to give David Poile a very generous budget to build the team however he wants, having regard only to the league salary cap and not to any budget restraints imposed by ownership,’’ Rodier said. “This is about winning, buying a team that has a shot at winning the Cup in our view.’’
from the National Post,
Canada’s Competition Bureau is believed to have launched an inquiry into the franchise relocation practices and policies of the National Hockey League amid speculation that one of its financially strapped teams in the United States could be relocated to Southwestern Ontario.
Jim Balsillie’s $220 million purchase of the Nashville Predators last month may reflect renewed confidence in the future of the National Hockey League.
In selling the Predators, Tennessee businessman Craig Leipold almost tripled the $80 million he paid for the expansion team in 1997, even though the club lost $15 million this season and is ranked in the bottom third of the league in attendance.
“The league continues to be on the rebound, attendance and revenues are strong, and the limited number of teams to buy right now is driving demand,” said Rob Tilliss, chief executive at investment banking firm Inner Circle Sports LLC in New York.
more… *including a brief look at how NHL franchise values measure up against those of other major league sports
from the Tennessean,
Balsillie’s vow of silence has not immediately affected the number of current season-ticket holders, whose renewal rate of 66.5 percent is near even to the 66 percent last year at this point. But it certainly is having an adverse effect on the mental state of an anxious Predators fan base.
“I always say fear of the unknown is the worst,” said Joy Kimbrell, who has owned two lower-bowl season tickets since the team’s inception in 1998. “If we knew one way or another what to expect, we could deal with it. Not knowing leaves us in limbo.
“It makes most loyal fans feel like we are a tradable asset. I would say we are disenfranchised, worried and bitter.”
A very rough translation of this article in the AftonBladet follows, but Forsberg states he feels good and if he doesn’t play in Europe he is leaning to play for one of the three teams he has played for in the past (Philly, Colorado or Nashville).
Read on for the translation…
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
Balsillie could still try to move the team, of course, but would likely face a thicket of legal woes – the last thing any CEO would want, let alone one whose company is entangled in controversy over the alleged backdating of stock options.
Yet even if Balsillie was able to navigate the Predators out of Nashville, there are indications any move could be complicated. While the NHL board of governors would ultimately decide whether Balsillie could move a team to southwestern Ontario, one investment banker who specializes in sports transactions said the RIM executive is similarly interested in burgeoning Las Vegas.
That city is in the midst of trying to coax architects and builders to make proposals for a new downtown arena suitable for hockey and basketball. They were due back to a sports marketing firm representing Las Vegas yesterday.
from the National Post via Canada.com,
Owner Craig Leipold has signed a letter of intent to sell the Predators to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, a deal with a closing date of June 30.
The National Hockey League’s free-agent window opens the very next day.
Nashville has seven players set to become unrestricted free agents, including captain Kimmo Timonen and forwards Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg.
The NHL’s board of governors still has to approve the sale, leaving players and agents in need of answers from the team and general manager David Poile.
“I don’t think the league wants David Poile to hit July 1 not knowing who his owner is and not knowing what direction it’s going to go in,” Timonen’s agent, Bill Zito, said Tuesday. “We have a 100-point team, and now, all of the sudden, it’s going to disintegrate because of the timing of legalities? That doesn’t make any sense.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The Nashville Predators may be headed for Hamilton, at least temporarily.
Waterloo billionaire Jim Balsillie, who has a letter of agreement to buy the Predators that closes June 30, last night re-activated an exclusive lease arrangement with Hamilton city council in which he could use the facility temporarily or permanently as home to an NHL team.
From Alan Adams at Sportsnet.ca,
News item: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman isn’t sure a second franchise in Southern Ontario is a good idea.
“Frankly, I live in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area and it’s tough for all the clubs to get media attention, particularly when they’re having tough years on the ice. There’s some real downside to having multiple teams in one market,” Bettman said Monday in his state-of-the-union address.
My spin: Is Gary Bettman that afraid of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Do the Leafs have that much power that they can veto a second team coming to Southern Ontario?
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
But the cold fact is, Nashville wasn’t buying what they were selling and Leipold, who had the benefit of one of the most forgiving leases in the history of sports arenas, simply couldn’t make it work.
And that’s the scary part for a great many hockey markets in the U.S and Canada.
Nashville was, and is, bleeding red ink. According to Liepold’s open letter to the hockey fans in that community the team lost $27 million in real cash losses over the last two seasons despite a team that garnered 216 points in the standings over the same time span.
That means one of hockey’s great winners on ice was one of its biggest losers at the gate.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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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