Sports

NHL Bid Dies - What Do You Think?

By Adrian Duyzer
Published October 01, 2009

This is less a blog post and more the start of a discussion. It's big news for the city that Jim Balsillie's bid is dead, and it's worth talking about.

My opinion is that although it might register to non-Hamiltonians as yet another blow to the city (and can't really help their perception that Hamilton is a city that can't seem to catch a break, a viewpoint that seems relatively widespread), it's not that big of a deal for most people living in the city.

I've never felt we needed a white knight to charge in and save the day. It would have been a nice psychological boost for Hamilton, but we're too tough to let this really bother us.

So what do you think?

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

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By z jones (registered) | Posted October 01, 2009 at 20:31:51

One great thing that came out of this was the NHL admitting several times that Hamilton is a great hockey market and definitely should get a team (just not one owned by Balsillie). The way I see it that admission is the thin edge of the wedge. Only a matter of time until someone else uses that wedge to succeed where Balsillie was eventually blocked.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 01, 2009 at 22:43:49

Bettman and The Leaves suck.

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By Balance (anonymous) | Posted October 01, 2009 at 23:36:55

My opinion is no big deal. It would have been a nice to have but in the end won't result in the end of the City. At least the City has been displayed somewhat in a positive light and that light has been shone upon what the City has to offer. An NHL team would not have been the saving grace for the City or the downtown. I don't think the majority of people really would have cared one way or the other. It's great that Jim from Rim shone the spot light on Hamilton and should be thanked for that. CHTV needs to wake up, they are very negative especially when it comes to Copps. They seem to focus on the negative, we don't need that, as the local media they should promote this City.

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By lukev (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 00:08:04

Maybe I'm dumb, but can somebody explain to me why the NHL was so strongly opposed to it?

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By synxer (registered) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 00:45:19

Adrian, glad you touched on this. I agree it isn't a white knight, although there is little to argue that Jim Balsillie managed to bring more positivity and attention to Hamilton than could be afforded otherwise.

I'm sad to see the bid die, but I'm pretty hopeful that in the future we will be considered again.

I have a certain respect for Jimmy B for what he has done for Hamilton and hockey fans in general.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted October 02, 2009 at 01:22:59

I think an expansion team within 5 years is looking like a much stronger possibility... relocation of any other team... not so much.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 07:55:02

Nobody thinks it's a white knight, but let's be honest, having 19,000 more people coming downtown 41 more times per year would have resulted in nothing but positives for the city. Visiting teams and media would have had an impact in the hotel industry, and of course downtown dining establishments would have been in Heaven.

I'm sure it'll happen eventually. LRT along King and an NHL team might have a bigger impact on downtown than we all realize.

But as long as US lawyers who don't know how to lace up a pair of skates run the league we won't see a team here.

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By madmatt (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 09:27:34

Having grown up in Winterpeg, I was looking forward to supporting the Hamilton Jets. I think we'll get a team here within the next decade; the NHL can't ignore this market any longer despite the whining from the Leaves.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 10:16:26

Having the Commissioner of the NHL say that Hamilton would be the 5th most marketable team in the league definitely helped the cause. I think there's too much bad blood between the NHL and Balsillie for him to be the driving force behind a new bid, but I wouldn't be shocked to see a new bid either for an expansion or relocation once some of the other struggling teams start to fail. Jim may not have won this battle but he certainly made getting a team in Hamilton look a lot more attainable.

The real problem is Toronto's supposed veto power, and the NHL's refusal to even discuss it. It smacks of anti-competitiveness, designed to protect the league's cash cow. I seem to recall seeing something in the Spec about Councillor Whitehead going to the Canadian Competition Bureau regarding this. (Naturally the Spec.com's search feature failed me so I cant find the article I'm referring to, so if I'm wrong on this feel free to correct me.)

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 11:08:11

I think everyone knows that getting the team would not work a miracle cure for the downtown. The concrete benefits might have been minimal.

But I'm still disappointed.

It was just a prestige thing, no question about it, but prestige is something Hamilton has been sorely lacking in for many years now.

Just the ability to say "we're a big league city" would have meant a lot to a great many people here.

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By hunter (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 12:39:39

I'm amazed this bid got as far as it did. But the longer it went on the worse the NHL looked and the more sympathy and interest Hamilton got. Eventually columnists from all over North America were writing on Hamilton's behalf. The Toronto Star called out MLSE this morning.

The old boys club is the most impenetrable type of power organization there is. That's why so many orgs use it.

In any case we owe JB a lot of thanks. Hopefully he's blazed a trail that will lead to a team for us. What we have to watch out for are other GTHA bids. Obviously an expansion team in Vaughn or wherever would destroy our chances.

In the meantime let's support the Ti-Cats (home games on Thanksgiving Day and Halloween) and Bulldogs and hope for success with our Pan-Am bid.

Cheers

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 13:04:21

Urban Renaissance wrote:

I seem to recall seeing something in the Spec about Councillor Whitehead going to the Canadian Competition Bureau regarding this.

I can't remember the exact details either, but the CCB has definitely been alerted.

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By madmatt (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 13:07:05

I think the NHL needs to go to a division system similar to English football (soccer). Small market teams can work their way up to the top division and teams that fail to deliver get relegated to the next lowest division. Cities like Hamilton, Winnipeg, Quebec and even Phoenix could afford a team and have the same chance of reaching the top tier as any other team that puts the effort in. I guess that would mean the Leaves would be in the bottom tier playing against the likes of Sudbury and Moose Jaw (no insult intended towards those 2 cities). It's all well and good to support the Bulldogs, but they are a farm team and routinely have their top players sent to the Canadiens; remember what happened the season following the Calder Cup win? Instead of being decimated, we would have moved up to the top division. I guess it's all about bidness and less about the game, as the NHL proved in court.

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By Iliafer (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 14:14:31

White Knight? Certainly not. A measurable incremental change - I don't think there's any doubt about that an NHL hockey team would've provided this.

The many potential benefits to the service and entertainment industry were already mentioned by previous posters. We've already seen some speculative investment (Cottage Life) in the area without the certainty of a hockey team. I think that this is recognition of the potential for this city. The benefits of having an NHL hockey team would mean that there would be a steady flow of customers for downtown investors. Unfortuantely, downtown Hamilton is not widely viewed as a shopping, dining and entertainment destination...yet. I believe this might've been the single greatest impact of having an NHL team in Hamilton. I live downtown and already appreciate what it has to offer, but I am in the minority.

On the potential of having an NHL team in the future, my sense is that the public and NHL are now (painfully) aware of the undeniable market offered by Hamilton. However, I also agree with what some others have said - the old boy's club of the NHL might only be willing to tread on MLSE territory when a hefty expansion fee is collected in compensation.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 14:32:00

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By hunter (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2009 at 14:52:41

>> You definitely need something.

A dark knight?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2009 at 01:13:19

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 03, 2009 at 12:39:40

ummm, Jim Balsille???

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2009 at 18:25:39

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 03, 2009 at 23:13:06

ok, you've convinced me to go over and change my vote in the 'fade to white' blog. JB has built one of the most successful companies in the world. You bash someone like him, yet want to turn Canada into China?? Face it, you're a troll and you want Hamilton to be kept down in the dumps no matter what.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 04, 2009 at 06:23:42

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 04, 2009 at 15:41:21

ASmith - All I'm trying to do is to get Hamilton to start acting like the successful people we want to become.

speak for yourself. I have no desire to be a nuke-loving communist.

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By Mike (registered) | Posted October 04, 2009 at 20:34:12

I am hoping that we can convince the NHL to show Jim the front door. Please sign my petition at welovejim.ca and let your friends know about it!

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By Really? (registered) | Posted October 05, 2009 at 10:31:29

"Daly said the league message to Hamilton hockey fans is a simple one: "We admire and respect their passion for the sport and maybe at some point in the future they will have their own franchise." " http://thespec.com/News/Local/article/64...

That's the most patronizing line I think I have ever read in regards to this situation! 'If you play nice, maybe, JUST MAYBE, one day far far down the road, you'll get your team! MAYBE!'

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