By RTH Staff
Published May 07, 2009
Mayor Fred Eisenberger held a press conference this afternoon and issued a statement confirming that the City of Hamilton, HECFI and a member of Jim Balsillie's legal team met this morning to discuss bringing an NHL hockey team to Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.
The City has begun to study Balsillie's proposal to enter into an agreement on moving the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, including studying the legal and financial aspects of the proposed agreement.
Eisenberger noted that Copps Coliseum was designed with an NHL team in mind, that some nine million potential hockey fans live within a two-hour drive of downtown Hamilton, and that Balsillie's attempt to move the Nashville Predators to Hamilton two years ago amply demonstrated a strong demand for ticket sales and a viable market for a local team.
He added that a plan is in place to renovate Copps Coliseum to be ready to accommodate an NHL team "within a matter of months" if the deal goes ahead.
Here is the Mayor's statement in full:
I can confirm that a meeting was held this morning with the City of Hamilton, HECFI and a member of Mr. Balsillie's legal team to discuss the bringing an NHL Team coming to Hamilton - specifically to COPPS COLISEUM.
The Balsillie group is asking the City to consider entering into an agreement. The City will be going through its usual process to ensure due diligence. Members of the City's legal and finance staff are already working on this and at this point there are no other details.
We are prepared to work hard and do what we can to try to land a team here in Hamilton. Having an NHL franchise would be a huge boon for the city's economic development, drawing fans from a large area.
I can't think of a stronger market than Hamilton for an NHL team. The people of Hamilton, our businesses and community leaders (including those on City Council) believe that Hamilton is at centre of the best hockey market in the world .
Landing an NHL franchise in Hamilton would be excellent for the City, for hockey fans, for Southern Ontario and Canada. The value of an NHL team in Hamilton has no limits with some nine million potential hockey fans living within a two-hour drive to downtown Hamilton - home to Copps Coliseum.
Copps Coliseum was designed with an NHL team in mind. There is a renovation plan in place for Copps and those renovations will make the facility NHL-ready within a matter of months.
Two years ago, it took less than 36 hours for more than 14 thousand people from Hamilton and beyond to enthusiastically put down a $1,000 deposit for the possibility of purchasing NHL season tickets, while 64 private boxes were snapped up, each with a $5,000 deposit. This goes a long way to attest the viability of this market.
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