With the hubbabaloo that is going on with the Phoenix Coyotes, it seems that Hamilton may have another suitor for their fair city. Reports are saying that Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger will have a meeting with Vancouver developer Tom Gaglardi about possibly moving the Atlanta Thrashers to Hamilton. Gaglardi said he hopes to have the Thrashers in Hamilton for the 2010-11 season.
This shouldn't be much of a surprise, especially since the Thrashers' ownership have been in-fighting for years now, with no resolution in sight. You see, the Atlanta Spirit group is comprised of nine owners in three separate groups based in three different cities....yeah, that's got me scratching my head too. Plus, there has been legal preceedings to get one of the owners ousted and it's just a big mess.
You have to love the timing of this though-- the Thrashers body isn't even dead and people are picking at it. Also, this is showing that the city of Hamilton may not be willing to wait for the legal issues between Jim Balsillie and the NHL to be done with in order to have a NHL team in their city. Yet, what happens if (and a huge IF) both Balsillie and Gaglardi get control of their respective teams and gain some kind of relocation vote. What kind of quagmire will that create (giggity). Especially with the news that there are as many as five groups eyeing the Hamilton area for a new or used NHL team.
But, we get ahead of ourselves here. The big thing is that this summer could be the Summer of Relocation Rumors in the NHL. With the Islanders issues, the Coyotes, and now the Thrashers are in the headlines when it comes to relocation. Yet, the NHL is to have us to believe everything is fine and dandy when it comes to the finances to each of it's 30 teams. If stuff is going wrong, it would be better to cut losses and move the team where it's not going to be an albatross for the league. You would think that the Board of Governors would be behind had if it meant they made more money to it all, the players association would probably be behind it because then with revenues up, the salary cap goes up and they are able to make more money. Everyone is happy.
Of course, that is everyone, except those who lost a team. And while I can sympathize with those who have and are in danger of losing their hockey team, but it's the business of things. Sports is no longer about city pride, team loyalty, or any of that nonsense. It's about business and if the business isn't working in one place, you have to look at moving it where it could work. While some fans can't see the forest for the trees, the end result justifies the means of the owner who wants his business to work.
This is why the City of Hamilton has been stepping up their efforts to get a team into the Copps Coliseum. While the Bulldogs have done their part, their isn't a comparsion from the AHL to the NHL and if you want local businesses to back the team and put money into the team, you bet that the NHL would be a more attractive option. Of course, this will probably mean that the city will have to look at developing a new arena plan since it is almost 25 years old and can accomedate under 17,400, but they first have to get a team.
All eyes will be on Hamilton this summer and will be until a successful bid brings a team into that region. It won't be long until each of the 30 teams will have their name throw into the Hamilton rumor mill for moving there....hell, even some defunct teams as well, why not??