Is The NHL Now Running A Franchise?

There were lots of stories yesterday about the status of the Phoenix Coyotes. I largely ignored them in that they weren’t really newsworthy. The story yesterday was that the league allegedly, as part of their recent loan to the Coyotes had taken as part of it’s security on the loan the ability to take control of the franchise should the debt not be repaid in accordance with the terms of the agreement. That, is nothing unusual. It would have been more unusual if the league didn’t get that right. It’s not like the Yotes have a ton of other assets to offer as collateral.

Today, the story is much different and it paints a picture of utter disaster out in the desert:

“The National Hockey League, which loaned the Phoenix Coyotes money in February to keep the team in business, is now running the franchise and has promised Glendale that the NHL would reimburse the city for parking fees and security costs owed by the team, Glendale City Manager Ed Beasley said. “The NHL is in charge of the team right now,” Beasley said. “We have assurances from the NHL the money will be paid . . . .We are sitting down with the NHL and working confidentially with them, and the city expects to be paid in full.”

No, why would the happy commissioner deny that things are dire? Well, it’s hard to attract top dollar investors when one of your teams is being run by the league itself! For the city manager to come out and say that the league is operating the team is pretty telling. To say the least.

“Beasley said the NHL started running the team around the time the rent payment was made in late February. It remains unclear what role the NHL has in operating the franchise. The NHL and Coyotes declined to comment. Coyotes Owner Jerry Moyes could not be reached.”

Yet Bettman continues to publicly deny all discriptions of doomsday with any of his teams or specifically the Coyotes. None of this sounds good for fan out west.

You can read more of this mess here

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April 29, 2009 9:28 pm

I get the strategy/need to have adequate coverage in the USA to help grow the game and attempt to get a more lucrative TV deal one day for the shareholders (owners)….and yes, it can take time to make a new market work. I applaud the league and the specific owners for trying. That said; they need to recognize mistakes too – admit them and move on….And, even though another Canadian team might not help get that big ESPN or NBC deal – another healthy club can make the league stronger and help afford market development activity. Which takes me to another point…what the heck are teams like Phoenix doing to create / grow the hockey market in their area? Other than putting stadiums in the wrong parts of town and doing terrible stadium deals (from what I’ve heard)…what are they doing?

1. Put teams in places that will work first (e.g. another Ontario team – with concessions for MLS&E if needed).

2. Hire someone on the NHL Exec team that will lead market development efforts with owners…maybe even contribute league cash to the effort (invest up front versus rescue dollars later makes sense to me).

May 2, 2009 5:49 am

Bring them back to winnipeg where they belong.

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