The NHL is not having the best of offseasons. Patrick Kane’s developed a bit of a cabbie-punching problem, their already-unwatched games are about to get a lot more unwatchable for millions of DirecTV subscribers, and the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes are still languishing on the open market like a foreclosed-upon Inland Empire stucco tri-level. To recap - bad hockey and bad ownership led to bankruptcy for the Coyotes. Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie wants to buy the team and move it to Ontario (a place where people actually like hockey), but the NHL wants to save face and keep the team in Arizona. Impasse!
The strange thing about this is that the city of Glendale, the home of the Yotes, seems completely uninterested in hanging onto their team, and Balsillie is the only legitimate buyer (or at least, the only one not an obvious front for NHL interests). A couple weeks ago, Adam Jacobi wrote in these very pages that the NHL should just give into Balsillie for the good of the league. Now, the NHL is begrudgingly admitting that Adam just might’ve been right all along. That, friends, is the SbB way.
OK, so maybe we had nothing to do with this most obvious of financial options, but it’s nice to see the NHL finally, maybe coming to their senses - if they don’t just buy the team themselves. After all, the NHL has proven itself to be so incompetent in all other matters … that said, the city seems unwilling to cut the NHL any deals on a stadium lease, so it looks like a hockey-mad owner could end up moving a hockey team to a hockey-mad city?
Only in the bizarro world of the NHL would this actually be a problem, but there they are, telling AZCENTRAL.COM:
No new lease could mean a lame-duck season in Glendale while plans are made to relocate the franchise. “That’s always a possibility. We’re hoping that’s not the case,” Daly said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “Our first priority is to find a local purchaser because we think this team belongs in Phoenix.”
The lack of a new lease with Glendale prompted the NHL to take the unusual move this week of submitting a bid to purchase the franchise. The league acted while its preferred purchaser, a group headed by Chicago sports entrepreneur Jerry Reinsdorf, pulled out because it had been unable to reach a deal with Glendale by Tuesday’s court-imposed deadline for submitting a firm offer.
Jeez. Just move the damn team to Canada already. That’s clearly the best option for everyone involved - INCLUDING THE NHL ITSELF. Seriously, could a “major” sports league be run any worse? It’s like the XFL had an affair with General Motors on a business trip to Canada or something, and this is the bastard child of their awkward drunken lovemaking.