Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Jets fuel

Oh, those poor, put-upon Winnipeg hockey fans — will that fire in their hearts that burns for a return of the Jets ever be allowed to die out? Probably not — at least not as long as there are news stories to fan the flames such as this one on TSN.ca, which reports that Gary "Fucking" Bettman — get this — mentioned Winnipeg in his state of the union address last night:

ANAHEIM, Calif. (CP) - NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gave his strongest indication yet Monday that having a team return to Winnipeg could happen one day.

Bettman, in his state-of-the union address to the media before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, referred to an editorial in a Canadian newspaper he read this week which suggested that if the NHL did add another Canadian team it should go back to Winnipeg first because they have a new building and the NHL owes it to them.

"I'm not opining on whether or not that's an opinion that I agree with, but it is an interesting and intriguing thought," Bettman said in a comment that raised eyebrows.

[...] "It's obviously something I've thought about in terms of trying to make right something that one point in our history went wrong."

Interesting comments, sure — but come on. It's hopelessly optimistic at best to think the NHL will come back to the land of Burton Cummings enthusiasts on GFB's watch, especially if we're talking about relocating the Predators. Bettman needs another strong hockey team in an obscure Canadian market like he needs a third dink.

Indeed, the commissioner even seemed cool to the prospect of moving a second team into the vicinity of the GTA — which is probably one of the few Canadian additions that might actually make economic sense — because, you know, that might force the Leafs to try to ice a team that's worth watching and compete for the media time.

"It's not something I've given any thought to," Bettman said of having another team in Toronto. "... I frankly think, and I live in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, it's tough for all the clubs to get media attention, particularly when they're having tough years on the ice.

"There's some real downside to having multiple teams in one market."

You know what makes it even harder for hockey clubs to attract media attention than an "overcrowded" market like New York? Signing a television contract with a station that's not even available in most second-tier cable packages in Canada or the U.S. Yeesh. Read the rest of the story here.


Andy Grabia said...

I'm not opining on whether or not that's an opinion that I agree with...

My God, that is awesome. That sentence deserves an award.

Anonymous said...

The local newspapers here have an orgasm every time someone even remotely related to the NHL so much as sneezes in Winnipeg's direction.

It's so bloody frustrating, and ridiculous. Call me a pessimist, but I honestly can't see the NHL coming back to Winnipeg unless some foolish billionaire decides he wants to throw some money around.

Winnipeggers go on and on about wanting an NHL team but I doubt they'll pay for it. Sure the first couple years would be good, but there's no way the city can sustain $80 - $120+ ticket prices beyond a couple years.

And I'm willing to bet prices would have to be that high or higher because our new arena, while absolutely gorgeous, is too frickin' small.

We can't even fully support the Moose here. Yes, it's "just the AHL", but if we loved hockey as much as we said we did... (I have season's tickets to the Moose by the way, and the hockey really isn't that bad)

My feelings certainly don't echo all of Winnipeg's feelings though. Check out http://www.jetsowner.com/ for the optimist's view.

Oil Fan in Winnipeg

Showerhead said...

Oil Fan in Winnipeg: My first thought when reading your post was, "shit, did I black out and wander over to CiO?" and my second was "I hope I didn't have to sleep with anyone to get those season tickets".

(You spelled out my own Winnipeg-based opinion very clearly).

Scarlett said...

I wouldn't use the Moose as justification for not getting an NHL team. Many fans are fans of only the NHL and would never attend minor league hockey (or semi-professional if you will). I don't go to minor league or semi-professional ever...and I think many others think that way. So drawing a conclusion that Winnipeg can't support an NHL team because they don't support an AHL team is not logical. The two leagues are not comparable.

Now ticket prices...that could sink a team in Winnipeg. Fan support was never a problem in Winnipeg. It was corporate support. Ticket prices, that's doable for the city but corporate money is needed. Can they get it? They couldn't fifteen years ago...

Paul said...

It was corporate support and an 11 000 seat arena.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm... a third dink!

Anonymous said...

Scarlett, you're right, the Moose aren't the sole justification for not getting an NHL team, but it's definitely a factor. I would think the NHL would take a much closer look at a city that was consistently selling out AHL games and showed a rabid passion for the game. Yes, the Moose do well compared to other AHL markets, and any event like the World Juniors always does well when it comes around, but I can't help but think it would draw some real attention if our arena was bursting at the seems for AHL games. That would be pretty tough for the NHL to ignore.

The Winnipeg Free Press had an excellent series on the demise of the Jets, I highly recommend reading it:

Free Press Article

The part out of there that gets me is where he states the Jet's payroll the year before their demise was $13 million. The league average was $16 million. We couldn't afford the league then, can we now, when average payrolls are $40 million-ish (don't know the number), in addition to the cost of actually getting a team ($100-150 million-ish), not to mention the need for massive government help as well. It just won't happen.

I really hate to sound negative, because I would love to see an NHL team here, and I know Winnipeg loves hockey, but we just can't afford it.

Oil Fan in Winnipeg

Colby said...

I love you, Retarded Man-Child Burton Cummings.