Thursday, May 31, 2007

Balsillie eyes Hamilton

Just days after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Jim Balsillie had no plans to move the Nashville Predators, a company controlled by Mr. Balsillie was given exclusive rights by Hamilton city council to operate an NHL team at Copps Coliseum.
The new twist of linking exclusive rights to Copps with running all the city-owned venues connected with Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc. strongly suggests Hamilton may be more than just a bargaining chip.
I think we're getting every indication that things are going to move along a lot faster than anyone originally thought with the Predators.

It may now only be a question of how quickly can he get this team out of Nashville.

7 Comments:

At 9:09 AM, May 31, 2007, Anonymous Lyle Richardson said...

But James, Gary Bettman said Balsillie doesn't have any plans to move the Predators, and we all know the Commissioner's word is gold, right?

Like when he said that cost certainty could lower ticket prices? And make salaries more affordable? And allow more teams to be competitive?

 
At 9:35 AM, May 31, 2007, Blogger The Forechecker said...

Just remember that Balsillie obtained similar rights back in 2004, well ahead of his aborted attempt to move the Penguins. He's being smart in lining up a number of options here - if Nashville fails to hit the 14,000 mark (which I believe to be obtainable given any half-decent marketing attempt), he can get Hamilton, Kansas City, and the KW area all scrambling for his attentions.

For him to pick only one spot for a potential relocation so far in advance would needlessly undermine his negotiating position.

 
At 1:50 PM, May 31, 2007, Blogger sager said...

The hook here with the Hammer is "exclusive rights." Before, I believe it was just a deal to use Copps, not operate all the facilities.

 
At 5:49 PM, May 31, 2007, Anonymous Vin said...

I would like to know if Copps is NHL-caliber ---- When it was built, didn't it have less than the 14,000 seats? No luxury boxes? If this arena & metropolitan area are that worthy, why has NHL expanded in TB, Anaheim, Minn, Atlanta, Nashville, Florida, Columbus ahead of Hamilton?

 
At 5:52 PM, May 31, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The arena will not be a permanent home to the team.

Balsillie will build an arena, or significantly upgrade Copps, once he can pull the Predators out of Nashville.

 
At 6:00 PM, May 31, 2007, Blogger Sherry said...

Regarding Copps, the capacity right now is 17,500 for hockey games.When it was first built in the '90s, it would have been suitable for a NHL team. One of my old professors was on the board back when they were trying to bring the league back and he says right now it would require at least about $5 million in renovations before it would be ready.

There's also the Bulldogs to consider. They might have trouble filling the seats during the playoffs but as far as I know, they're still a considerably strong team by AHL standards.

 
At 5:08 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger Russ Harrison said...

Actually, Copps Colisseum opened in 1985. It hosted a number of Canada Cup games in 1987, including the Cup finale (made famous by Mario Lemieux's winning goal and Dan Kelly's call thereof).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copps_Coliseum

Balsillie will use it as a temporary venue before building a new arena. Where he builds that would be another question.

 

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