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globeandmail.com: Gretzky approves of potential Predators move

Gretzky approves of potential Predators move

TIM WHARNSBY AND ALLAN MAKI
From Thursday’s Globe and Mail
June 20, 2007 at 10:21 PM EDT

“First, it’s a great thing for [Balsillie],” Gretzky said. “Obviously,
he’s excited about it. If it actually works out that he gets to move
the team to Hamilton is something that we’ll have to follow over the
next little while.

“On the other side of it, I feel very disappointed for the people of
Nashville. But that’s business, that’s life. I will say this that if
the team is allowed to move to that area [Hamilton], it will be
tremendously successful.”

Damn you, Wayne! You do have a point. But Nashvillians and, hopefully, the businesses of Nashville aren’t going down without a fight.

I have said it before. While the potential for a move is there and I may not like it one bit that’s business. And EVERYBODY (for the most part) loves hockey in Canada. It would make better business sense (looking at Craig Leopold’s numbers) to move to a more receptive market.

Still, I love hockey and don’t want this team to move. If I had the cash I would buy several season tickets. Sigh . . .

*Props to my brother and his blog for this news.

Blogged with Flock

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Okay, it seems that every blogger in Nashville is talking about this potential purchase of the Nashville Predators by a Canadien (gasp) businessman. As a hockey fan I might as well jump on this bandwagon and say my piece (or is it peace? MTA a little help?) about the impending transaction.

To start off this post I must share an anecdote. The day I drove the Uhaul filled with our possessions I tuned in to one of the sports radio networks (I can’t remember which one) when they announced that Paul Kariya had just signed on to be a Predator. Hearing that announcement made the move from my beloved Black Mountain, North Carolina to Nashville worth it. The Elder Extroverted Holy One’s acceptance into Vanderbilt Divinity School aside I was all about living in a town with a NHL team again.

Okay, back to the topic at hand.

First of all the deal is not done.

The sale must be closed by June 30. Approval before that date from the NHL’s board of governors would be required.

Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion Ltd., who saw his recent bid to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins fall apart, said he is respectful of all the “due diligence” required before the Predators deal can close.

“This is still Craig Leipold’s franchise until the deal is completed, so for me to comment at this time on any number of topics relative to the franchise would not be appropriate,” Balsillie said in a statement.

Hoops need to be jumped through and so forth and so on. However, I am as pessimistic about the outcome as most others are.

I must say that the current predicament the Preds are in I’m going to have to blame the corporate entities here in Nashville. As the Wall Street Journal says, “In a league where teams shoot for a 65-35 split between corporate and consumer ticketholders, the Predators’ fan base is about 30% corporate and 70% consumer.”

One can’t expect the fan base in this southern town to carry the whole burden of supporting the team. It has to be the whole community, which includes the local businesses. It seems that we, as fans, have done quite a lot to support our team. Heck, the Young Extroverted One loved our experience so much that she cried when I took someone else to a game! If I could afford it I would definitely get a couple of season tickets so I can take her to every game and to support our team.

When I worked for the Carolina Hurricanes it was extremely tough to make fans out of NASCAR and ACC basketball fans. It basically took a Stanley Cup win to build a following but there was definitely a core fan base that stuck it through the whole time. Plus, it took the local Raleigh businesses to get behind them. That’s what we need here.

But I must also keep in mind that this is all about business. If the deal goes through and the lease agreements aren’t made then Balsillie can do whatever he chooses with the team. If he decides to move it to a more hockey friendly community, like anywhere in Canada, then that’s his prerogative. I love hockey, I love the Predators but this relationship can’t work if the entire community doesn’t jump in to support them as well.

If any out-of-towners would like to support the Introvert/Extrovert family’s wishes to help support the Nashville Predators with season tickets then leave a comment below with your pledges. A hockey fan representative will contact you shortly.

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