To Russia, with Love!

For the bullet summary, please go here.

According to the Globe and Mail, Jerry Moyes will not necessarily get money from the Coyotes in bankruptcy. The Globe and Mail feels the NHL will not have to up the $140 million bid. And for this, the owners in the league salute Gary Bettman? Disgusting. The owners in this league will get what they deserve, but they won’t see a penny from me!

To Russia, with Love!

When Canadian hockey players won't stand up for their country, why not bring in Europeans to teach them all a lesson or two. (Action from a KHL game)

When Canadian hockey players won't stand up for their country, why not bring in Europeans to teach them all a lesson or two. (Action from a KHL game)

I hear the KHL is stealing players away from the NHL. Wow! I’d pay big to see more of that! And, I have a feeling there are many others in this fine city that would too. 

The NHL is powerless to stop the KHL from attracting it’s restricted free agents. My, would a team in Hamilton be the transfer ground for disgruntled NHL players to exercise some control or what?



“Make a deal, or I speak to Hamilton”, a player might say! Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

And, that way, the NHL player could jump leagues, and not leave North America, keeping his family intact. Interesting.

Jim Basillie, if he wanted hockey and a means to send further shock waves through the NHL could likely be accepted as a KHL owner. What’s that, did I just hear Jim’s phone ring? Long distance?

Jim Balsillie was ready to spend $240 million on what? A corrupt hockey league? A league where the Canadian team owners teamed up and are now saluting Gary Bettman for his efforts. Raise the glass of champagne?

They ( the NHL, it’s and it’s owners) are all disgusting! Even the so called Canadian ones.

Let’s say Jim Balsillie wanted to buy a Tim Horton franchise, and Tim’s organization was run like the NHL.

The other owners of Tim stores would gang up on Balsillie and say he was not ‘Horton owner material’,or other gibberish.

Because perhaps those coffee stores were making a lot of money and enjoyed the monopoly. Let’s say you couldn’t get a better coffee in town, and well, the people became addicted to their coffee fix.

The only thing that would tick off the owners in that kind of monopoly would be competition. Competition that the consumers were going to side with out of spite to begin with.What company wouldn’t want that kind of “differential advantage”in marketing it’s brand? Oh, boy!

Richard Rodier had, in an interview with Bob McCown on the Fan 590, the analogy of a hamburger restaurant chain. It doesn’t matter what product we are speaking of here, what does matter is the principle of monopoly power.

And let’s face it, the glitz and glamour of the once respected NHL is long, long gone. It’s ripe for a makeover that only competition could bring.

It also brings us back to the old days of the World Hockey Association (WHA). First looked at as a joke, it quickly became a threat, and well, the rest as we know is history. Rumour has it the best player that ever played in the NHL first played in the WHA. So, as far as crazy, there is no reason to support that idea. In fact, the time is now for a lot of reasons.

And with players in the NHLPA no doubt sharing disgust for the management and ownership, there may be a lot of interest moving forward (see the list of ex-NHL’ers to have made their way to the KHL already).

The Moscow Dynamo have been around a long time, and play great hockey....imagine going to Copps to see them play!

The Moscow Dynamo have been around a long time, and play great hockey....imagine going to Copps to see them play!

Imagine entertaining the Moscow Dynamo at Copps Colliseum. A reality that could come true with a little vision. Having Canadians embrace an international hockey battle on a regular basis may just be the ticket! It was always a huge draw in the past.

From a marketing perspective, I would easily say that Jim Balsillie has millions of angry hockey fans ready to stand behind his next move.

But what should that move be.

Antitrust? I don’t know. The Canadian Competition Bureau has shown collectively why they get paid to appease the people, rather than enforcing the law. So, in my opinion now, they are useless. They are out.

However, this is where it could get interesting.

Alexander Frolov in 2004-05 with Dynamo

Alexander Frolov in 2004-05 with Dynamo

There has been much talk about another league. Even experts have agreed that starting another professional hockey league would be just the ticket to have the fans in the GTA, and all of southern Ontario, perhaps Canada rally behind Balsillie to make it work.

I would even go as far as to say some fans in Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and, yes, even Toronto would support Jim Balsillie out of sheer frustration as to the shunning of more Canadian teams, and because fans, especially in the GTA, cannot see NHL hockey at any price.

In short, from a marketing perspective, it would be like a bunch of Tim Horton customers suddenly finding out something terrible about Tim’s, and how a monopoly existed, and how much those coffee nuts would make a point of supporting any alternative that wasn’t them!

Well, we have that marketing opportunity now.

We have millions and millions and millions. Did I say millions? Yes, millions of fans in Canada, not just Hamilton and area that would welcome an alternative.

We, as fans would welcome an alternative that would fly in the face of the smug (insert expletive deletive here!) at the NHL, and the owners. I, for one, will never watch another NHL hockey game until they have a change of heart, come back on their knees, and beg Jim Balsillie to buy a franchise, and put it in Copps Colliseum. I, and many others are boycotting this league for as long as that takes.

Jim Balsillie, in my opinion, and the opinion is shared by many, is a man who has exposed the NHL and it’s partners for the seedy business people that they are.

I don’t follow wrestling, but in the old days, my dad would tell me to come on over, and sit down, after all it was Saturday afternoon, and Hockey Night in Canada wasn’t on yet. Come watch the wrestling. As my dad said time and again with a slick smile, “It’s all fixed you know, it’s a put on”.

“Yes dad, I know”.

And we’d sit there and laugh, and marvel at “how real” the wrestlers made it all seem. How their “acting” was hokey but entertaining. But it just wasn’t real. It was phony.

Well, the NHL has become phony to me.

I disagree with Jim Balsillie for once. If an NHL team came to Hamilton at this point, and Jim Balsillie wasn’t the owner, I don’t believe I would be in line to buy tickets. The NHL would have won. I would remember back to the “we are gods” attitude of Bill Daly, when he said:

Not so fast, smug ones. I would love to see a little competition come your way!

Not so fast, smug ones. I would love to see a little competition come your way!

“We admire and respect their passion for the sport and maybe at some point in the future they will have their own franchise.”





I’m with my friends on this one. That is simply not good enough.

Did I tell you there were millions of people in Hamilton area, let alone all over southern Ontario unhappy?

Well, let’s get back to Jim Balsillie.

Somewhere in a bank account, Jim has $240 million dollars.

The money was earmarked to do some good for the City of Hamilton and it’s people.

It was designated to stimulate the city he loves, and provide hockey to the hungry fans.

Well, if you are of my generation, you would remember the ’72 Summit series. Hockey so good, that they brought black and white televisions in the school gyms so the kids could all support Canada. What would we do to see more of that kind of hockey? That would make the NHL look run of the mill, like it should look.

That would make the Maple Leafs look like slugs.

That would make those at MLSE cringe.

And remember, a state of the art facility would attract the real money. The concerts and other events that would make 40 spots of hockey look trivial.

The argument in Glendale, AZ could be made here. A state of the art entertainment facility would bring so much revenue and interest to Hamilton that it could not help but stimulate the economy.

And if Jim Balsillie would stand to get a piece of that pie, who cares. I’d support that.

And, if Jim Balsillie were to put together a “select” professional team, that played a schedule of games against european elite teams, I would definitely help pack the new, state of the art arena, and several million (did I say million?) of the hungry hockey fans would add revenues to the ultimate goal of perhaps springing up another team in, say Winnipeg, Quebec City, Saskatoon, out east, and on and on.

Pretty soon, we might be able to break away or enhance the european influence, but if it is so good why bother.

We could create a hockey experience that makes the NHL pale in comparison.

And why?

It’s very simple. The iron is hot. The NHL doesn’t deserve our money, nor that of anyone else.

MLSE deserves to sweat, and not just over hockey.

No, MLSE deserves to have plenty of competition as the years to come will be filled with a society of kids that don’t consider hockey the number one choice. MLSE and the Leafs will have reached the abyss of being able to charge ridiculous hockey rates. It will and could soon be over for them.

So, if Mr. Jim Balsille were to take his $240 million and build a complex so elaborate that the world would take notice, it would increase the stature of Hamilton, and he could throw a hockey team in there that would make the NHL drool.

$240 million could do a lot. And to break the monopoly of the MLSE and give people a reason to vote with their wallets would be priceless.

I wouldn’t line up to pay the crooks in the NHL a chance to watch their product.

But I would support a team Jim Balsillie would put there.

Balsillie is a visionary too good for the hokey hockey league known as the NHL.

Another WHA may be in order here.

And to start with building a state of the art arena and entertainment complex may not be so crazy. That is one idea of Gary Bettman’s we can agree on. At least in Canada, if you build it, they will come.

Maybe our thinking was all wrong. Perhaps it’s time to Make it one! A vision for a new league!

More reading: How it all went wrong : Globe and Mail

Bettman, Daly the toast: Globe and Mail


One response to “To Russia, with Love!

  1. I think that most AHL teams have their arenas locked up. The “out clauses” are only for an NHL team. That was one of the biggest things that kept the WHA revival from getting off the ground–most of their potential markets were preempted by an AHL tenant. I think the only places that were close were Dallas at the empty Reunion Arena and Quebec City.

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