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Gary Bettman, the Puppet Master

From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail:

Bettman’s maneuvering could have backfired, but he had luck on his side. When Glendale politicians kicked in another $25-million recently toward next season’s Coyotes losses, Bettman won another year to sort out the sale of the Coyotes to Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer. The Goldwater Institute has effectively blocked that deal by threatening to sue if the sale of $116-million of municipal bonds is allowed to proceed. Revenue from the bonds is meant to finance the sale, along with $97-million in arena management fees that would be granted to Hulsizer.

Glendale’s second consecutive $25-million gift allowed Bettman to redirect True North from a brief dalliance with the Coyotes, and back to the Thrashers.

It is now conceivable that Bettman will deprive the Atlanta Spirit group - nine partners led by Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon Jr. - of any proceeds from the $60-million relocation fee. He may even insist that the league deserves a $30-million cut from the $110-million franchise price, too.

The commissioner can argue that he, with the help of Hulsizer, created artificial value for the Thrashers by keeping the Coyotes in Glendale. Bettman may also claim a finder’s fee of sorts, by arguing the league brought True North and its $170-million to the table after Levenson and partners failed to sell the Thrashers after several years forlornly seeking a single credible buyer.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Alan's avatar

Except it wasn’t “several years.” The history is already being re-written.

Due to litigation (ASG is good at litigation, unlike operating sports franchises), they were in no position to sell to anyone. That changed in December 2010, when the buyout of Steve Belkin was finally completed.

The team has been (or was, depending on what the papers are writing today) “on the market” for six months.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 05/21/11 at 02:53 AM 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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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