Once again, it looks like franchise relocation in the NHL (and/or the NBA) is upon us. Just like when it was clear that Atlanta Spirit, LLC was going to sell off the Thrashers and just like when Clay Bennett decided to leave Seattle, the Phoenix Coyotes seem to be on the move.
The situation in Glendale seems to be at an impasse and the Phoenix Coyotes will, most likely, be leaving the Valley of the Sun within a couple of weeks.
Coyotes deal in peril after Glendale’s latest proposal
As the Lost City of Bettman blog has pointed out so eloquently, Kansas City is NOT a possible relocation destination because Sly James has a fundamental lack of understanding of the NHL and the current situation.
As long as Sly James is Mayor, which I suspect will be for quite some time, neither the NBA nor the NHL will move to Kansas City. I think, overall, a majority of people in Kansas City would say that Mr. James has done a fine job as Kansas City’s Mayor. I agree. However, Mr. James has a fundamental lack of understanding of the NHL and, therefore, a franchise will never come here — not on his watch.
First and foremost, and let’s NEVER, EVER forget this point. There is no ownership group that wants to purchase an NHL franchise and move them to Kansas City — never was, probably never will be. I could make that point and just end the rest of this post. That’s all you really need to know. However, I’m verbose and opinionated, so I’m going to keep writing…lucky you.
What bothers me most is this comment from Mayor James:
““Let me ask you this,” James said. “Which would you rather have, the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Phoenix Coyotes? Who do you think would make more money for the city in the long run?”
What in the wide, wide world of sports was he thinking when he made this comment? First, over the last two seasons, the Penguins and the Coyotes have gone equally as far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs — both reaching the Conference Finals and losing. Is a team with Sidney Crosby more marketable than a team with Shane Doan? Sure. But, NHL teams are built from the goal crease out and there is not one single NHL fan who would take Marc-Andre Fleury over Mike Smith.
OK, I can give the Mayor a pass for not knowing this level of detail when it comes to NHL rosters. What I don’t understand is what this quote means? From 2001-2006 the Pittsburgh Penguins were one of the worst franchises in the NHL. You know what the final result of that was? They now have a roster with Malkin, M-AF and Crosby.
If I asked you, quick, name the top four teams in the NHL the last five years.
You might throw in Vancouver, Washington or Detroit. What do half of those teams have in common?
They SUCKED for several years. Not just sucked, but really, really sucked – arguably worse than the ownerless, rudderless Coyotes do now. Those teams were so bad that they were able to draft Doughty (#2), Kane (#1), Toews (#3), Backstrom (#4), Crosby (#1), Ovechkin (#1), Malkin (#2), Barker (#3), M-AF (#1), Whitney (#5),
So, yes, I suppose the Phoenix Coyotes are not in the same class as Pittsburgh. But, the NHL is a league in which you are richly rewarded for being terrible for a couple of years — unless you are Edmonton or the New York Islanders.
As a matter of fact, I wonder what Sly would say to this question, since Charles Wang came to KC to flirt and eat good BBQ? What if I said, “Would you rather have four-time Stanley Cup Champion New York Islanders or the Phoenix Coyotes?”
One final point, do you think the people of Winnipeg said, “We don’t want the Thrashers. That franchise is gawd awful. We’ll just wait until the St. Louis Blues are available.”?
So, with all due respect, Shut up, Sly.
The aforementioned blog post is a must read. The fact that James automatically thinks the franchise would be a financial disaster in Kansas City flies in the face of everything that has been said previously.
The selling point for Kansas City 10 years ago, and since then, is that Kansas City is a better market for the NHL than some of the middle-to-small markets that currently have NHL franchises. If this is true, then why would luring the team create a situation in which “It might take you from a (profit) to a negative.”? Aren’t we this wonderful market that would allow the NHL to flourish in a (kind of) brand new building that is already fully-financed? And, why would drawing 500,000+ more wallets (14,000 * 42) from October to March take Sprint Center and the city from a profit to a negative?
Sure, Sprint Center may make less money for AEG, and subsequently Kansas City, but wouldn’t the increased foot traffic take the Power & Light District “from a negative to a (profit)” making the whole thing a wash…or, perhaps, a profit. P&L is a drag on the city and always will be with this mentality. As a matter of fact, Glendale isn’t nearly as worried about losing the Coyotes than they are the foot traffic for the Westgate City Center.
Guess what, Sly, for a franchise to move to Kansas City, the franchise is going to have to be in a dire financial condition — like, for instance, bankruptcy or league ownership.
Kansas City is never, ever going to get a situation AS GOOD AS the opportunity the NHL-owned franchise located just outside of Phoenix, Arizona is providing RIGHT NOW! The fact that Kansas City isn’t jumping all over this opportunity tells me the NHL is not coming to Kansas City, not under Sly James watch.