NHL and Maple Leafs Square Off

Ok. Despite all efforts made to avoid this ridiculous situation unfolding in Pheonix, with the potential sale of the Coyotes and subsequent relocation to southern Ontario as proposed by RIM billionaire Jim Balsillie, the plot is getting too thick to ignore.

In an article from The Globe And Mail today, it’s been revealed that apparently the Toronto Maple Leafs are at odds with the NHL regarding how many of the Governors votes are required to move a team into another teams territory. In a nut shell, the NHL states the a simple majority would suffice while the Maple Leafs argue that a unanimous vote is required. The part that’s really interesting to me is that this would qualify as “news” to anyone that Toronto (and likely Buffalo) would oppose the possible relocation of a franchise within their “territory”.

With all due respect to Mr. Brunt (I mean that honestly, I’m a fan of his) it seems pretty obvious that any business would’t want competition in their backyard, much less a business that thrives on public support and loyalty, we’re not talking about a coffee shop here.

It seems to me that the longer this drags out the worse Balsillie is looking to the general public but I’m not sure he really deserves all the critisism. Businesses are bought out of bankruptcy all the time and clearly the NHL expanded to a city that doesn’t have the hockey culture to support it. One would think the NHL would be pleased to move out of town and relocate and probably would under the right circumstances.

The simple facts are that the NHL will not act in any way to threaten the Toronto Maple Leafs profits. The Leafs are the most profitable franchise in the NHL and the leagues fortunes hang in the balance. Think about it, if you were the NHL would you allow it?


  1. Jeff

    September 1, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Go Leafs!

  2. Jeff

    September 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Balsillie’s partner at RIM, should have stepped in and bought the Tampa Lightning with dopey Len Barrie. Then bought out Barrie down the road.

    Fucking NHL, wont allow the owner of a HUGE technology company buy in, but yet Barrie joins the long list of potential criminals that are NHL owners.

    This league is due for a huge shake up, and it needs to start in the commisioner’s office.

    They need a no-nonsense leader like Roger Godell.

  3. johnny

    September 1, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    A television deal like Godell has wouldn’t hurt either.

  4. Derek

    September 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Agreed Johnny O, as usual..

  5. Jeff

    September 1, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    What?! You must be one of the 90% of Americans that dont have VS.

    Its your fault…not Gary’s.

  6. Derek

    September 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    LOL..If i recall correctly VS has the NHL for free too.. That Gary drives a tough bargain to be sure…

  7. Greg

    September 2, 2009 at 12:13 am

    Damn Gary Bettman. He came in and sure he helped the NHL make money but now he is just ruining it. Why would you not want a perfectly viable, hockey-loving city like Hamilton to have a team? Plus, come on, Balsillie is offering like 80 MILLION dollars more than anyone else. You really think he is going to mess anything up by saving a bankrupt team and moving them somewhere they will make money???

  8. Chris Newman

    September 2, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    A couple points…one, Versus did shell out for the NHL. I don’t have exact numbers but it will increase beyond the $72.5 million they paid for the 08-09 season (source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/23/sports/hockey/23versus.html).

    Secondly, the NHL technically did not “expand” to Phoenix, but rather moved there from Winnipeg. The interesting thing about this is the Jets were all set to move to Minnesota for the 95-96 season, but a “save the Jets” campaign delayed it a season, at which point the deal with Minnesota fell apart. And off to Phoenix they went…

    Balsillie himself had to pay fines for backdating stock options, which of course may actually be in his favor regarding the NHL’s love of owners that have occasional run-ins with the authorities.

    Lastly, Balsillie vs. the NHL has little to do with bankruptcy law and almost everything to do with franchising law. Baum has to decide whether bankruptcy becomes the loophole through which franchisor’s rights can be ignored.

  9. Jeff

    September 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I love that…

    “which of course may actually be in his favor regarding the NHL’s love of owners that have occasional run-ins with the authorities.”

  10. Todd S

    September 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Why would the NHL want Balsillie (or anyone) to move a franchise to the Hamilton market for only $212.5 million when they could easily get a $400 million expansion fee?

    I bet they could get over $500 million for another Toronto franchise, so I don’t blame them for wanting to stop Balsillie.

    If Balsillie had an interest in moving the team to Kansas City, I bet he’d have an easier time getting a franchise. Though he might have burned his bridges with most people who could approve him. I don’t agree with the tactics he’s used.

    And for the record, Betmann is an ass and has made a joke of the league.

  11. Derek

    September 2, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    OK, 72.5 million isn’t free per say but compared to other leagues, like the NFL who are dealing in the billions, well..
    Bettman had a deal in the past with NBC and ESPN
    http://proicehockey.about.com/od/nhlnotebook/a/new_us_tv_deals.htm but chose to go with VS?