Yesterday, the President of the United States urged the National Hockey League and the player’s union to “do right by your fans.” The President also commented that as the Chief Executive he shouldn’t have to get involved in a sports lockout. (Not unless we really strike oil in Edmonton.) He commented that both sides “make a lot of money and you make a lot of money on the backs of the fans, so do right by your fans.” He further told his interviewer at WCCO-TV that both sides should be able to “figure out how to spread out a bunch of revenue.”
Well, for what it’s worth Mr. President, I do appreciate that you agree with us. (Does anyone else remember when the Bruins went to the White House and he had to play ‘Where’s Waldo’ with Marchand?)
Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban was in town and offered a very pro-owner response last night “If you don’t fix the problems, they escolate. They didn’t fix them the last time, and they should of, and so you see where they are now. When you have all of your southern franchises basically sucking wind, there’s a message there, and you gotta fix it.” In his opinion he believes there are too many teams.
The ‘Sun Belt’ teams are the problem here. The owners took the expansion money for these teams that are not hockey towns. The league under Bettman shoved these expansion teams in areas that they KNEW weren’t going to make money. Now, with another CBA disaster looming the owners are trying to force the players to pay for THEIR mistakes. The NHL’s Sun belt moves damaged the profitability of the league due to poor choices.
The NHL should seriously look at re-organizing. Toronto is a hockey market that is a license to print money. The Maple Leafs have been struggling for a decade, and they are the first billion dollar franchise in NHL history. Seattle is a solid market town that could bring in fans from both sides of the border. Minnesota used to have the North Stars, and they would do well with a franchise again. Quebec had the Nordiques, and even Hartford could come back as a viable hockey market. (I was told yesterday that my first hockey game was in fact a Whalers/Bruins game very early in my childhood.)