Criteria for buying an NHL team

Ryan Lambert
August 26 2009 01:02PM

balsillie_jim_getty_260

With all the craziness yesterday about the NHL formally submitting a bid for the Phoenix Coyotes, I found myself wondering what, exactly qualifies someone to submit a bid for an franchise.

As it happens, there are probably at least eight qualifications that the NHL uses to gauge whether or not you are qualified to own an NHL team. At least, that's at least as many as I figured out before I stopped caring.

1. Do you have the money?

It's the most important consideration, I bet, and I'd imagine that goes for any sports league. I remember back when the Red Sox were up for sale back in the first few years of this decade, and I think the current owners submitted a bid of over $700 million dollars, which was substantially more than the $2,200 I offered. I guess I get why this is an important factor, but, because the league has repeatedly told Jim Balsillie to take a hike despite his large bids, it can't be the only one.

2. Are you a good dude?

Remember, the NHL Board of Governors recently rejected Jim Balsillie's bid for the Coyotes, which is considerably greater than some of the other bids that have been kicked around over the last few months, on the grounds that he didn't seem like a nice person. Well, the term was that he lacked the "character and integrity" to own an NHL team. For real. He can't hang with regular nice guys like Charles Wang, who underreported TV ad revenues so he could pocket more money while keeping the team terrible. He can't hold a candle to a stand-up guy like Eugene Melnyk, whose company maybe could've bribed doctors to prescribe an experimental drug it was putting out (charges here in the US are pending) and also possibly defrauding insurance companies over the value of a truck that crashed by anywhere from 2.5-5 times its actual worth. Y'know, real gentlemen like that.

3. What is your status as a Canadian?

This is HUGE, and it's a yes/no question. I'm sure the application paperwork reads, "Are you Canadian?" Answering in the affirmative gets you sent straight to the reject pile no questions asked.

4. Are you willing to ignore geographical fact to make a point?

Sure, Phoenix has repeatedly shown that it has no interest whatever in attending hockey games, for any number of reasons. The most often-cited is that the Coyotes don't actually play in Phoenix, but rather Glendale, which is, they say, a bit out of the way for Phoenix residents. And if you've never been to Phoenix, then this might sound like a logical argument. But I have, and Glendale is very close to the city. Google Maps says it's just over 14 miles. BY HIGHWAY. This is like if the NHL cried over lack of attendance at Flames games because the rink was, by way of comparative distance and travel time, in Chestermere.

5. Would you like to lose boatloads of money for "the good of the game?"

Sure, the Coyotes are losing money by the bucketful and are unlikely to turn a profit any time in the next billion years thanks to a number of factors which boil down largely to crumminess of team and market. But how good of an owner you are depends largely upon how willing you are to live life on the red side of the ledger (are ledgers separated into sides? I don't know). If you'll suffer the indignity and financial burden of losing something like $40 million a season for forever, on top of your already-hefty bid, then you're an ideal candidate.

6. Did you possibly try to circumvent the NHL's rules for buying a team?

If the answer is only "maybe," then you're fine.

7. Are you and your bid a complete fraud?

No problem, buddy, come on in.

8. Did you invent the BlackBerry?

This is apparently very important. If you have high hopes that you'll land an NHL franchise, please do not be a person that invented a piece of technology that changed the way we think about cell phones. This is the kind of thing that makes an interviewer frown across his desk at you before sighing deeply and checking "No" on a single sheet of paper held to a clipboard.

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#51 cableguy
August 26 2009, 05:14PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

He plays for Colorado now (in case you hadn’t heard)

game....set.....match.....

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#52 The Menace
August 26 2009, 05:16PM
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Thanks for that - I was never sure.

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#53 The Menace
August 26 2009, 05:19PM
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@ Ender the Dragon: This big issue might be that Gary promised the people that built that arena that he would do everything possible to keep that team there. I can't say for sure, but that's the only scenario where his actions here make sense. I don't know why they built that thing way out in the middle of nowhere.

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#54 Ender the Dragon
August 26 2009, 05:35PM
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@ The Menace:

That may very well be. Here's a similar situation: you're playing 5-card stud and the only thing between you and a royal flush is a jack. You've invested some fairly heavy betting money, but in the end the jack has failed to materialize and you're sitting on a broken flush. Do you go all-in and pray that everyone else folds?

That strategy is seemingly what Bettman has adopted here. He promised a solvent team in Phoenix and hasn't found a way to deliver to this point. Rather than cut his losses, Bettman has gone all-in. We'll have to wait and see if it works out for him.

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#55 The Menace
August 26 2009, 05:36PM
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@ Ender the Dragon: Mt bet is, it doesn't.

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#56 Clarkenstein
August 26 2009, 05:41PM
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TLP wrote:

Ender the Dragon wrote: @ TLP: But why the hell Smytty? What’d he do to you? he played for and captained the oilers. imagine how delighted you’d be if iginla got traded and cried at the press conference, especially if he had girl’s hair.

For those of us getting on in years... please remind me again just when Smytty captained the Oilers?

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#57 Ender the Dragon
August 26 2009, 05:57PM
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@ Clarkenstein:

Smytty was assistant-captain. It was close enough we gave TLP the benefit of the doubt.

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#58 Milli
August 26 2009, 09:00PM
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I think Betman is gonna end up eating a pile of sh1t on this one. And, how many other teams are gonna want the league running a team, that is AMATUER. But, Betman, I think, has staked his job on this. I bet he was pissed when the other offer fell through. But come on, would it really kill the league to have another owner who is a rich as god, has crazy marketing ability? Oh, right, he wants a team in Canada...And hey, if we put an NHL team in Hamilton, pretty soon Winipeg will want one, the Red Deer will, the Calgary.....

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#59 Milli
August 26 2009, 09:00PM
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*then Red Deer will, Then Calgary...

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#60 Wanye Gretz
August 26 2009, 09:41PM
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TLP wrote:

he played for and captained the oilers

Ryan Smyth was never Captain of the Oilers. I ought to thrash you soundly for your incorrect factoids.

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#61 Deke Rivers
August 26 2009, 10:10PM
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The NHL doesnt care about Phoenix, they just want to sell the rights for a team in Ontario so 100% of that cash goes to the NHL and Owners. JB is trying to get a team in Ontario for half price, thats the only reason the NHL won't let a team relocate. I would think they were praying the Coyotes would quietly go bankrupt everyone would walk away and then they'd sell a franchise for $300million for Ontario and split the money up. If his plan works he gets the team for half price, the NHL has to clean up the mess with Glendale, and end up with nothing for the LAST prime piece of real estate for NHL Hockey in North America. There is NO way the owners will let another team in Ontario go for free.

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#62 Dallas
August 27 2009, 12:31AM
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jeff wrote:

Isn’t Smyth in LA?

Lmao smart guy yep

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#63 Dallas
August 27 2009, 12:46AM
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TLP wrote:

Ender the Dragon wrote: @ TLP: But why the hell Smytty? What’d he do to you? he played for and captained the oilers. imagine how delighted you’d be if iginla got traded and cried at the press conference, especially if he had girl’s hair.

I don't think that would ever happen cause iggy doesn't have the same heart for the flameouts as smitty had for the oil.

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#64 TonyT
August 27 2009, 04:23AM
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It's nice to see unbiased journalism...

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#65 Cam
August 27 2009, 08:08AM
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@ Pouzar: @ Wanye: @ The Menace:

So I have been nurturing this bottled rage for 15 years for nothing? That's kinda pathetic... I don't have anyone to blame for the loss of the Jets, Nordiques and North Stars now.

Thanks for setting me straight.

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#66 Chester Copperpot
August 27 2009, 08:36AM
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@ Ender the Dragon:

Wow, how in the world did you remember & find that quote from June 12th? This is page 2 of the thread and I can't remember who wrote the blog.

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#67 Colin
August 27 2009, 08:43AM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

I ought to thrash you soundly for your incorrect factoids.

Pot = Kettle.

:p

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#68 The Menace
August 27 2009, 10:09AM
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Cam wrote:

@ Pouzar: @ Wanye: @ The Menace: So I have been nurturing this bottled rage for 15 years for nothing? That’s kinda pathetic… I don’t have anyone to blame for the loss of the Jets, Nordiques and North Stars now. Thanks for setting me straight.

Sorry about that. would you like my Little Gary doll to snuggle at night?

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#69 Lofty
August 27 2009, 10:39AM
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A side from Melnyk there is also Henry Samueli and Billy Boots.

Well done Gary!

Balsillie is way behind these douches.

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#70 DeepOil
August 27 2009, 10:57AM
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Basillie has the money....some other NHL billionaires need or want to borrow 50% of the play from CIT group while looking to build a new arena http://ir.cit.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=99314&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1172580&highlight=

It appears that other NHL owners do not.... see Nashville and fill your BOOTS. http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/63088

Basillie is a good dude, a super hero for Canadian Hockey against the evil COUNT in New York, trying to keep BlackberryMan from entering the Golden zone, the most underserviced hockey market in the world. Due to copyright issues, Basillie is more James Bond than Batman....DK has that moniker already. http://www.thestar.com/article/653657

Basillie paid a fine for Ontario securities issues, much like Melnyk did and more seriously in the USA, Samueli is going to jail for stock option fraud. http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/24/business/fi-samueli24

Canadian? - does it really matter, Bettman nixed the Jets being sold to out of counrty interests and then dropped his shorts to Kokusai Green (Japanese Owner) when his USA expansion crusade was being initiated.

Tampa Bay Ownership History http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampa_Bay_Lightning

Geographic - PHX residents are not the market, Scottsdale is. Should of been the Los Arcos Arena in Scottsdale, but Steve Ellman took the free land and arena in the sticks with the farmers of Glendale. This is not Chesteremere, but a 30 - 45 minute drive in traffic.

Los Arcos Mall - Arena http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/6216

Scottsdale to the outback called Glendale http://www.mapquest.com/maps?1c=Scottsdale&1s=AZ&2c=Glendale&2s=AZ

Boatloads of Money - Bettman will try to spend $140million to prevent Basillie from reaching the prize, combined with losses of $50 million per season in the desert. The truth is that if another team enters Southern Ontario, the salary cap floor will increase by 1.1mm - hurting Tampa, Atlanta, Florida, Nashville and Dallas

Salary Cap would rise http://www.fromtherink.com/2009/6/12/906940/how-would-a-hamilton-team-affect

Fraud - No, see other NHL Criminal,Bankrupt owners first.... McNall, Spanos, Boots, Firestone, Melnyk, Samueli, Rigas,

Owners in Jail http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Balsillie+more+character+than+jailed+owners/1847107/story.html

Invent the Blackberry - NO RIM and Basillie infringed on a communication platform patent from NTP, paid them $612 million dollars to shut the bleep up and then rode the stock market to $140, now at $80 climbing back up in the face of a new economy.

RIM Settlement http://searchexchange.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid43_gci1171163,00.html

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#71 Colin
August 27 2009, 11:55AM
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Aw I had hoped we had Deep Sixed DeepOil and his crazy theories, I enjoy the funny crazy not the crazy crazy.

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#72 DeepOil
August 27 2009, 12:07PM
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Colin wrote:

Aw I had hoped we had Deep Sixed DeepOil and his crazy theories, I enjoy the funny crazy not the crazy crazy.

Great article blaming Gary Bettman via Stephen Brunt http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/nhls-fingerprints-all-over-its-damaged-credibility/article1265993/

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#73 Travis Dakin
August 27 2009, 01:14PM
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@ Colin: Man I've always loved having DeepOil around. I say this with zero sarcasm.

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#74 Ender the Dragon
August 27 2009, 01:16PM
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Colin wrote:

Aw I had hoped we had Deep Sixed DeepOil and his crazy theories

I'm not a DeepOil fan, but I grudgingly point out that he appears to have done some research here and cites some credible sources. If he continues to do that, I may end up even agreeing with him one day.

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#75 jeanshorts
August 27 2009, 01:30PM
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@ Travis Dakin: @ Ender the Dragon:

And it's kind of nice to have him back right? It's like a pair of pants you always seem to piss. They're comfortable but there's always something a little off about them.

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#76 DeepOil
August 27 2009, 01:54PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

@ Travis Dakin: @ Ender the Dragon: And it’s kind of nice to have him back right? It’s like a pair of pants you always seem to piss. They’re comfortable but there’s always something a little off about them.

It appears that most males with a condition of uncontrollable urination also suffer from erectile dysfunction - when I saw it was JSBM, it then was crystal clear.

hxxp://doctor.ndtv.com/faq/ndtv/fid/14185/How_do_I_control_the_frequent_urge_to_urinate-.html

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#77 jeanshorts
August 27 2009, 02:02PM
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@ DeepOil:

I'm pretty sure I have the opposite condition though. Not only do I piss all the time, but I'm fully erect 24/7. That makes it difficult to wear tear away pants let me tell you.

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#78 DeepOil
August 27 2009, 02:08PM
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Great property for sale next door to Kevin Lowe at 5620 Whitmud Drive (RIVERBEND BRANDER GARDENS)

hxxp://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8622276

Overpriced at $18 million in Siberia, Alberta when the largest sale for a home was $10.3 million in Calgary (Mike Veron's House).

So for $10 million in Edmonton, maybe the new owner can get Lee Fogolin to knock down the 7500sq ft home and start over with a rink in the front yard.

Seems that Katz's black surburban is still parked face forward on the driveway at Valley View drive taking notes - license plates of people looking at houses, with new construction of the Katz guest house across the street.

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#79 DeepOil
August 27 2009, 02:25PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

@ DeepOil: I’m pretty sure I have the opposite condition though. Not only do I piss all the time, but I’m fully erect 24/7. That makes it difficult to wear tear away pants let me tell you.

I have never heard of Cialis or Viagara causing uncontrollable urination, you are supposed to see a doctor after 4 hours of wood, you can then ask him about the potty training program.... or start wearing DEPENDS.

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#80 BK
August 27 2009, 02:27PM
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Milli wrote:

hey, if we put an NHL team in Hamilton, pretty soon Winipeg will want one, the Red Deer will, the Calgary…..

THAT'S freaking funny! Done for sure, but still funny!

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#81 DeepOil
August 27 2009, 02:34PM
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BK wrote:

Milli wrote: hey, if we put an NHL team in Hamilton, pretty soon Winipeg will want one, the Red Deer will, the Calgary….. THAT’S freaking funny! Done for sure, but still funny!

Tampa to WPG Nashville or Florida to Red Deer Atlanta to Vaughn, Ontario

Note that MLSE would be better off being a landlord to a second team (like Clippers / Staples)rather than compete with a second arena for concerts and tradeshows.

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#82 Wanye Gretz
August 27 2009, 02:45PM
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Colin wrote:

Wanye Gretz wrote: I ought to thrash you soundly for your incorrect factoids. Pot = Kettle. :p

Well played.

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#83 Ender the Dragon
August 27 2009, 02:53PM
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DeepOil wrote:

Note that MLSE would be better off being a landlord to a second team (like Clippers / Staples)rather than compete with a second arena for concerts and tradeshows.

Dammit; I hate to credit Deep for an interesting thought, but that may be true. If I was the Leafs (MLSE)and knew another team was coming whether I liked it or not, I'm not sure what I'd like better; bringing the new team under my existing roof and splitting the ticket revenue sales on hockey or letting the People of Hamilton buy the hockey tickets but risk losing some spin-off event revenue to a new facility down the road. On the one hand, getting my enemy to pay me rent to play in my building is a nice thought. On the other hand, I want people in Toronto following and cheering for the Leafs. Period. It's a tough call.

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#84 DeepOil
August 27 2009, 02:57PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

DeepOil wrote: Note that MLSE would be better off being a landlord to a second team (like Clippers / Staples)rather than compete with a second arena for concerts and tradeshows. Dammit; I hate to credit Deep for an interesting thought, but that may be true. If I was the Leafs (MLSE)and knew another team was coming whether I liked it or not, I’m not sure what I’d like better; bringing the new team under my existing roof and splitting the ticket revenue sales on hockey or letting the People of Hamilton buy the hockey tickets but risk losing some spin-off event revenue to a new facility down the road. On the one hand, getting my enemy to pay me rent to play in my building is a nice thought. On the other hand, I want people in Toronto following and cheering for the Leafs. Period. It’s a tough call.

With three / four teams in the tri state NY, NJ, PA area as a comparison, there is enough fan base, and sponsorship money for two teams in Toronto and one in Hamilton - the problem is the salary cap floor will increase creating hardship for Tampa, Florida, Atlanta and Nashville.

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#85 greycrow
October 11 2009, 07:28AM
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October 11 2009, 03:56PM
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