Posted by: Canadian Sports Chick | May 7, 2009

Bettman Will Block Coyote’s Move to Southern Ontario

Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research in Motion, wants to buy the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes. There’s only one condition to his offer, he has to be allowed to bring the team back to Canada, more specifically to Southern Ontario. Gary Bettman is said to be opposed to this plan, citing that three teams in a small area would be too much since the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs are already in existence.

I live in Southern Ontario and I know how passionate we are about our hockey. The Leafs suck, but the fans are still devoted. So devoted that it’s impossible to get tickets, another NHL franchise close-by would be amazing, because then more people could go to games. All those people who couldn’t afford $200 a pop for Leafs tickets, could go buy tickets for the new team at hopefully more reasonable prices. It won’t affect the Leafs, they’ll still sell out, because the demand will always be more than what can be met.

The Sabres are a different issue, this is a team that has been in financial difficulty for years and a new team close by won’t help. However, it won’t really harm it either. A few Canadians do go see Sabres games, usually against the Leafs or the other Canadian teams because tickets are cheaper than trying to see those teams at home, but I don’t know anyone who roots for the Sabres or regularly goes to their games. The same people that would jump on the chance to support a team in Southern Ontario, won’t support a team in Buffalo with that same favour, because they aren’t “our” team.

Bettman’s issue with the move isn’t a surprise. Bettman was the man responsible for bringing hockey out of Canada to the Southern US, so why would he want to see that fail? He’s never seemed to have any interest in the Canadian market, so for him this would be a step backwards and he’ll put up huge opposition to the move.

Of all the teams to move to Canada, The Coyotes would be especially sweet since they were once the Winnipeg Jets. When Bettman began his move south, two Canadian teams fell victim and to see one of those teams come home… Well, it’d be sweet, but in Bettman’s eyes it would represent total failure and he won’t stand for it.

The Leafs are said to be opposed to the move as well, big surprise. With some actual competition, they might actually have to try and actually run a successful team. However this post isn’t about how badly the Leafs have been mismanaged, so I’ll save that rant for another time. Honestly, though, Leaf fans are loyal and stupid, so people will still attend the games, the people going to see the new team, would be the ones who can’t afford Leafs tickets.

I’d love to see this move go through, but I doubt it will, at least not while Gary Bettman’s in charge of the NHL.

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Responses

  1. I think it’s time to admit the mistakes they made. They’re hiding stuff under the rug, and the league is losing money/credibility by continuing to suffer.

    At the same time, there’s still questions to be answered about where the team should go. We just did a comparison between Winnipeg and Hamilton, and I personally believe Winnipeg should get it.


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