So Gary Bettman says he supports another NHL team in Canada, does he? He's not kidding anyone; he doesn't want another team north of the border any more than I want a scorching case of herpes for my 41st birthday. Bettman had the opportunity to demonstrate his "support" for another Canadian team by working with Jim Balsillie to bring the Coyotes out of the desert (both literally and figuratively) and to Hamilton. How much in legal fees did he and the other owners spend blocking that? How much more will they have to spend, in light of the fact that the Phoenix team is now giving away tickets, after having offered a top - top ticket price of 25 dollars for their home opener?
The only reason that Bettman is waxing sympathetic about another Canadian team is that, outside of southern Ontario and the money of the likes of Balsillie, it isn't going to happen. There are great hockey fans in Winnipeg. Enough to support an NHL team with its requirement for corporate subscription? How many private boxes can Great West Life buy? As for Quebec, the only person with a remote chance of bringing a team there wants the federal and provincial government to pay for half of a new arena. Half of the costs of a 400 million dollar arena coming the province and the feds? With that sense of entitlement, where does he think he think this team is going? Ottawa?
I would be sincerely tickled to see teams in Winnipeg and Quebec - especially the latter. However, this whole exercise by the NHL, Bettman in particular, is nothing more than smoke and mirrors in a pathetic attempt to placate those who were beginning to finally accept that he has an anti-Canada agenda. NHL Awards in Las Vegas? Give me a fucking break! If that isn't the precursor for League's next disastrous foray into a completely non-viable American market, then let's see where the Coyotes actually end up next year.
Bettman's chief henchman, Bill Daly, suggested that the City of Hamilton needs to "get its ducks in line" if wants to be considered for a future NHL franchise. With all due respect, you filthy little fart-catcher to Gary Bettman, the city has spent the last 25 years lining up its ducks, from building an arena, to bidding for two expansion franchises, to being there every time an existing league owner wanted to extort a better arena deal from its home city, to patiently working with people like Jim Balsillie who have a legitimate and realistic desire to see professional hockey fluorish where it is able; in Canada.
Hopefully, the likes of Bettman and Daly will cease being the "toast" of the League - particularly when the bills for Coyote sustaining come due - and we may be in the final months of his reign over the NHL. The sooner he is gone, the more likely places like Hamilton, Winnipeg and Quebec will actually be able to realistically envision NHL hockey in their cities.