Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/3/2009 (3081 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It's come to my attention that a few of our dear readers are growing weary of repeated references to the fiscal nightmares surrounding the Phoenix Coyotes.
To that constituency, I offer this morsel of contrition: Too freaking bad.
Listen up, the Phoenix Coyotes were ripped from this city for several reasons, largely involving the inability or resistance -- take your pick -- to building a new arena with public money. We couldn't pay the bills, the existing barn was inadequate and the market was not considered up to the NHL's lofty standards.
So they left for the desert. Fair enough.
But if you think there's not a hint of glee about what's become of the Winnipeg Jets in these parts -- or an appetite for any news relating to the monumental failure the Coyotes have grown into -- then we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Besides, it's only exacerbated by the NHL's stubborn refusal, in the face of astounding losses that amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, to acknowledge the Enron-ish error of their ways.
However, it's not just that lack of comprehension that's so mind-boggling. Because, have you heard the latest? New York Islanders owner Charles Wang is threatening to move his team if Nassau County doesn't approve his proposed $3-billion development project very soon.
The project has been bogged down at the municipal level -- geez, that never happens here -- where apparently Wang requires environmental approval for the massive development that includes a new arena, luxury hotel, retail stores, housing units and we're guessing a miniature golf course.
The details are not germane to this discussion, only this tidbit: Wang vows that if he isn't given the go-ahead by the county and other municipalities soon, he's going to move the Islanders to... (drum roll) Kansas City.
Now, you're thinking this is another lame, "Why doesn't the NHL come back to Winnipeg?" column. No, not this time. There'll be plenty of other opportunities over the next two years to be so lame.
On the contrary, I'm rooting for Kansas City. Honest. After recent years where the NHL has derived around 35 per cent of its overall revenue from six Canadian-based teams, I want to see just what level of delusion Gary Bettman and his band of owners can reach.
Kansas City? Really? You're going to try selling hockey in Missouri in the heartland of the American recession?
OK, we know there's a brand new state-of-the-art arena just sitting empty in Kansas City desperate for a tenant. Understood. What's the point of building an arena if you don't have a team?
Well, ask them in Nashville, where now the city (a.k.a. taxpayers) are heavily subsidizing the Predators because it would probably cost them more if the team left. Ask the same question in Phoenix, where taxpayer funds not only subsidize Coyotes losses now, but they were used to build the arena in the first place.
In other words, they're totally screwed.
Hey, if I'm a resident of Nassau County, I'd tell Wang, who receives between $1 million and $2 million from the county each year for arena upkeep, to just shut his pie-hole and patiently wait for the political process to play itself out at its usual excruciatingly slow pace.
And if Bettman ever started making overt noises about the possibility of moving the Isles to Kansas City, I'd offer to call for the moving vans.
Chances are, cooler heads will prevail. Wang will get his project approved and the project will generate thousands of jobs and ensure a more viable NHL team for Wang on Long Island. Whatever viable means any more.
But just the fact that after all these years -- and all the colossal failures the NHL has and continues to experience -- that Kansas City would remotely be considered a sober relocation spot for a hockey team is a fascinating display of hubris.
That's why we're still waving our Kansas City banner. Just to see how far Bettman and the NHL are prepared to go. Just to see how long Bettman will continue to put franchises in non-hockey markets and then go to great lengths to deny they are money pits that are costing the league tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Go ahead, Gary, give Wang the thumbs-up to relocate to Kansas City. Again.
We dare you.
After all, the only thing better than watching one never-should-have-been NHL team go down in financial flames is watching four.