According to reports, Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie is looking at buying the Nashville Predators. If the sale goes through, it could mean the team will pack up and move north, with a few locales in the southern Ontario region being considered.
The most shocking information about this story is that Nashville has been in existence for a decade. Seriously? Holy crap, that's how much they mattered.
Ten years, no profit, never rising above the 14,000 attendance and selling 9,000 season tickets last year. The same year they landed Hall of Famer to be Peter Forsberg, lead their division and were obviously an exciting playoff team.
Nine thousand? Please. Way to go Bettman, way to boost those booming Hockey markets.
The owner must give the city a one-year warning before leaving. He has until 60 days after the end of 2006-2007 season to declare whether he would consider exercising the out option after next season.
The team could pay an exit fee of approximately $18 million and leave Nashville. The money is to help cover the expenses the city paid to bring the team to Nashville. The city could also buy up the remainder of the tickets (approx. 7500) to hold the team to its lease.
Somehow I don't think Nashville is even going to notice. Unless Vince Young straps on the blades and parades down the ice.
So with that and an email sent to the "lucky" 9,000 - Nashville Predators owner Craig L. Leipold bid adieu to his failed pet project.
Jim Balsillie waved hello. Finally. He failed to get the Pittsburgh Penguins, but waited, ironically preying on the Predators. The co-CEO of the company behind the Blackberry, and Kitchener-Waterloo resident has got his biggest toy.
The question is, where will he play with it?
Nashville has to be out of the question. Losing money probably wasn't part of his dream.
Kansas City is the next logical American city, but that's a major gamble. I know they have supported various minor league teams in the past, but any American city that doesn't have ice as a natural playing field for a major part of the year is not a good option.
So back to Ontario. Ontario which boasts as much interested cities as the amount of market teams already in the NHL. The Senators, The Sabres, The Red Wings, The Habs and oh yes the Sad Sack Leafs.
As a Leafs fan. I guess I'm not a fan, I mean I root for them, but I hate every single squad we put out. Anyways, as a Leafs fan, I'm almost begging Mr. Blackberry to drop a franchise right INTO Toronto. Not even an outskirt. I would jump ship so fast.
Why not 2 in Toronto. It's the freaking city of the Hall of Fame! New York has 2 teams in the city, and 3 in the state. Los Angeles has 2 relatively close teams as well. I mean it's obvious Toronto needs a second team.
If not downtown, then I'm cool with it being in his hometown of the Kitch (or the Loo). The 401 might be a hassle though. I heard another suggestion that Cambridge might be a good place too, since it's pretty much near to all those cities, London, Guelph included.
I would support any of those choices. I would however, support having a team in Hamilton, but boo the crap out of it. I guess that's just our regiaonal nature. Hamilton vs Toronto is our mini Boston vs New York. Ok fine, Springfield vs Shelbyville.
There is one city that has not come up in any talks. It really has me curious as to why, mostly because I think it's a perfect destination. With a tip to Slim Shady and Dr. Dre, everybody forgot about The Peg.