Don't take it personal. Don't get angry. See it for what it is, and that's three business entities trying to work together while still forwarding individual agendas.

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This article was published 21/1/2015 (2559 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Opinion

Don't take it personal. Don't get angry. See it for what it is, and that's three business entities trying to work together while still forwarding individual agendas.

Schedules conflict and issues arise. This isn't a divorce, it's a wedding postponement.

Take away the public spotlight and the emotions of a spirited fan base and this was just another day in professional sports where progress often comes only after fits and starts.

Everyone wants their piece of the pie but in order to make that happen, lots of conditions have to be synchronized.

As it turns out, for the NHL, Winnipeg Jets and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the hockey season of 2015-16 just isn't a fit.

News broke Tuesday that the NHL, Jets and Blue Bombers could not reach agreement on when to play a Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field during the 2015-16 NHL season.

Bombers CEO Wade Miller didn't want an NHL-operated outdoor hockey game crowding his Grey Cup. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman didn't want to play in February and incur extra costs for heating the stadium and keeping it operational through three months of a Winnipeg winter.

Not an angry word was spoken on Tuesday in conversations with Jets chairman Mark Chipman, Miller and Bettman. All are legitimately hopeful they can find a resolution.

Miller came to the conclusion having the Heritage Classic played on Dec. 20, less than a month after the Grey Cup and just a few days before Christmas, would put a strain on this community's collective entertainment dollar. And he didn't want to have his organization come up short.

More to the point, Miller can't afford for the Grey Cup to be anything but a success for his debt-ridden organization. So, he stood his ground.

Winnipeggers shouldn't be angry with Miller. He has a mandate to put his franchise first. Miller isn't trying to spoil the hockey party. He's trying to do what's best for the Bombers. That's his job.

The Grey Cup can be a financial windfall for a CFL team but it only comes along so often and must be capitalized on. The Grey Cup and its success is Miller's mandate. It has to be.

So Miller's reticence is understandable. And as a sports fan or taxpayer in Winnipeg, what's best for the Bombers has to take priority over a one-off outdoor hockey game.

No matter how cool (some would say cold) a Heritage Classic held in Winnipeg would be.

The Bombers are here forever. An NHL-operated outdoor game is a one-weekend circus.

Miller can be stubborn and maybe, in this case, he was a little shortsighted. Surely there could have been marketing synergies that would have made a month of Grey Cup and Heritage Classic games a sports festival for not only Winnipeggers but sports fans from across North America.

It would have been busy and it would have been a stretch. But if it had all come together and worked, it would have been glorious.

In the end, hopefully this will turn out to simply be a postponement and not a missed opportunity for the people of Winnipeg.

Miller needed to look out for his organization. Maybe he was too conservative and a touch close-minded but after what the Bombers have been through the last few years, it's difficult to be critical of his exercising caution.

In the end, the best result for Winnipeg sports fans will be for everyone to come out a winner.

For the Grey Cup to be a smash in the fall of 2015 and the Heritage Classic to shine in late 2016.

Miller and Bettman can each have their cake. And Winnipeg can eat said cake. Twice.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless