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The New Arena Talk In Canada

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

This pouting sense of entitlement is a recurring theme across the world of professional sports, where billionaire owners have their hands out looking for taxpayer help in growing their businesses.

The whining in Ottawa is particularly distasteful because the billionaire owner in question, Eugene Melnyk, doesn’t know or care about the burden on the ordinary taxpayer because he had the wherewithal to avoid paying taxes by establishing his residence in Barbados. He rediscovered his Canadian roots two years ago when he needed life-saving liver transplant surgery.

If Melnyk needs a new arena, let him pay for it with all the money he saved by not paying taxes.

If the owners in Ottawa and Calgary aren’t happy with their arenas, there’s a new one in Quebec City crying out for an NHL team.

Bettman, who will be in Montreal this week to help celebrate the NHL’s 100th anniversary, could serve the game better if he stopped worrying about how Canadians spend their tax dollars and more about important issues like the rise in concussions and the anemic state of the game in places like Carolina, Arizona and South Florida.

more and a few other topics too...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

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Bravo, Pat Hickey

Posted by George0211 on 11/13/17 at 09:48 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

I wish there more people willing to write this kind of article. Unfortunately, in today’s corporate media no one wants to offend anyone. This results in make no waves journalism, which never questions authority or midget Commissioners.

Posted by Down River Dan on 11/13/17 at 10:35 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I wish there more people willing to write this kind of article. Unfortunately, in today’s corporate media no one wants to offend anyone. This results in make no waves journalism, which never questions authority or midget Commissioners.

Agreed!

Re: new arena’s, I couldn’t agree more.
These guys are billionaires. Let them pay for a new facility.
If I want to open a new Walmart, the tax payers don’t pay for it.
There have been dozens (if not hundreds) of studies done on the correlation between sports teams and local finance, and there isn’t any link between the two.

These billionaire d’bags hold everyone hostage making it sound like if they move their team, hundreds of jobs will be lost and their town will look like North Haverbrook after they invested in the Monorail.

I hope Calgary and Ottawa stick to their guns and tell the Flames and Sens to shove it.
Make them move or pay for their own building.

What I find ironic is that the average Joe, who will miss the team the most, can’t even afford to attend games. So will it really make any difference if the Flames are playing out of Quebec.
You’re still going to watch them on TV where you do now.

 

Posted by Hank1974 on 11/13/17 at 10:40 AM ET

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If I want to open a new Walmart, the tax payers don’t pay for it.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. Just look at all the incentives being thrown at Amazon to entice them to build their additional corporate headquarters. Some cities have been smart enough to say “no” but many are throwing out incentives that will cost taxpayers for decades to come.

Things are almost at a critical mass for hockey and some would argue we are already there. When an owner/league can no longer threaten to move the team, their biggest leverage disappears. Cities/taxpayers shouldn’t let their emotions rule. These billionaires make money hand over fist when they eventually sell the team. How much of that profit comes back to the taxpayers? If ownership is so certain a new arena is necessary, put their own money where their mouth is.

Melnyk has to be the worst. He never stops bitching about his situation. Just sell the team if it all that bad.

 

Posted by evileye on 11/13/17 at 11:48 AM ET

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If I want to open a new Walmart, the tax payers don’t pay for it.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. Just look at all the incentives being thrown at Amazon

A new Walmart department store isn’t the same thing as a new corporate headquarters for a global company. It is completely, completely different. To quote Jules Winfield, “ain’t the same f*ckin’ ballpark, it ain’t the same league, it ain’t even the same f*ckin’ sport.”

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 11/13/17 at 12:13 PM ET

Steve in San Francisco's avatar

A new Walmart department store isn’t the same thing as a new corporate headquarters for a global company.

No, but, as it pertains to Walmart, specifically, the taxpayers do pick up the slack for the business owner, in the form of food stamps and medicaid for the employees, since Walmart won’t offer its employees health insurance (in the US) or a livable wage.

But to get back to the point of the article, it’s unconscionable that these billionaires get away with these stadium money grabs. Ask the fans in St Louis, where they’ll be paying off their football stadium for something like 12 more years, and they don’t even have a team any more.

Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 11/13/17 at 01:11 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

A new Walmart department store isn’t the same thing as a new corporate headquarters for a global company. It is completely, completely different. To quote Jules Winfield, “ain’t the same f*ckin’ ballpark, it ain’t the same league, it ain’t even the same f*ckin’ sport.”

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 11/13/17 at 12:13 PM ET

Tax breaks are often offered to large employers to convince them to build stores in specific areas. Has happened with Wal-Mart and Meijer both in Bay County in the last decade.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 11/13/17 at 04:18 PM ET

Avatar

I’m glad Pat Hickey called out Melnyk by name, not just to complain about
greedy but tightfisted owners in a general sense, but to make it clear the pathetically
unpatriotic lengths he went to to tell his fellow Canadians - taxes for your average chumps,
not for me.

While I’ll never make light of how scary it must be for anyone who needs major organ
transplantation (just updated my organ donor status with new driver’s license) or their
friends and family, think of the Canadians or lesser means whom Melnyk could have helped
if he hadn’t pretended for tax purposes to be a citizen of Barbados and had paid his fair share.

The way it’s supposed to work is entrepreneurs should be able to take chances, build companies,
hire people, and do extremely well themselves, but don’t depend on the public to subsidize your
denial of health care and poverty wages; don’t pollute the land or water in ways that threaten people’s
health and require endless cleanup. Because entrepreneurs also depend on the rule of law, on all kinds of
public infrastructure, and on an educated workforce. Not to mention the tax abatements and other subsidies and breaks they commonly receive from the government (taxpayers).

That’s why Panama and Paradise Papers stories ought to be a turning point. Maybe these tricks are technically legal, but that’s only because lobbyists for unpatriotic tax evaders make sure they are technically legal…and hard to follow, without documents being leaked. We will tolerate a fair amount of largess if it results in a lot of solid jobs. And we obviously like our sports teams as unifying diversions that help define our communities. But when the wealthiest take all the advantages and subsidies average taxpayers contribute - and then use tricks to opt out of our countries’ tax systems altogether, those people deserve to be named and ostracized - citizenship is about responsibilities as well as rights. And a guy like Melnyk who apparently decided he valued being a Canadian citizen only when he needed a liver transplant, ought to be ashamed of himself. His family and friends ought to be ashamed. And I can see why many Sens fans might love their team but remain ambivalent about the franchise.

Posted by Lefty30 on 11/13/17 at 06:43 PM ET

Canucklehead's avatar

I really hope that Ottawa tells Melnyk to pay for his own damn arena.  He just won a bid to redevelop a prime bit of real estate in downtown Ottawa.  I drive by that place every day going to and from work and you probably couldn’t ask for a better spot in Ottawa for a hockey arena (assuming public transportation figures out how to move thousands of people at the same time).  If he can afford to redevelop Lebreton Flats, he can afford to pay for his arena from his own pocket.

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 11/13/17 at 10:05 PM ET

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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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