Based on my recent posts, hockey is clearly what’s on my mind.
I could keep that hockey-posting trend going by writing about what I perceive to be an unprecedented amount of dives being taken to draw penalties…which cheapens a game whose rules actually allow you to be sent to the penalty box for diving.
And I could write about how the refs are not calling any of those diving penalties…which endangers the reputation of a game that is defined by heart and hustle.
Or I could write about the conference finals, now that the match-ups are set and the games are starting tomorrow.
But instead I feel compelled to write about the drama surrounding the Phoenix Coyotes; the heartless rumors about them returning to Winnipeg; and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s bizarre, lovesick-puppy obsession with hockey in Phoenix.
As a hockey fan from the Sun Belt, I have mixed emotions. I know what it is like to love the game and to talk about it with knowledge and passion, only to have close-minded Northerners dismiss you simply because they are bigots when it comes to place of birth. This should make me sympathetic to
Although part of me wants to wonder why that is, the answer is clear and comes in two parts: 1) Phoenix’s franchise was not born there, but instead it fled there from a city that did not deserve to be abandoned; and 2) in an odd twist, my love-the-underdog mindset, which I consider to be as All-American as apple pie, persuades me to root for small Canadian markets even in some instances where they are going up against a U.S. market.
I remember when the Winnipeg Jets packed up and headed south for the desert. I remember watching them play their final game in
Voila! The Winnipeg Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes, and Gary Bettman and his cronies toasted what they thought was sure to be a grand new day in the NHL’s geographic expansion. Bettman &
Human perception and judgment are highly fallible and pretty much everything in life is temporary, including economic conditions. Fast forward to the present and you will see that the Canadian dollar is stronger than the U.S. dollar, and you will see that despite moving specifically to make money, the team continues to lose dozens of millions of dollars annually after 15 years in
This is so obviously wrong that commenting on it is not even necessary. I feel for the hockey fans in
On top of that, I can not stomach the gross hypocrisy and illogic of Bettman & Co. Not only did the NHL rah-rah that move to Phoenix when it happened, but when the team filed for bankruptcy a few years ago, the NHL purchased it in order to prevent it from being sold to someone who intended to move it to Hamilton, Ontario. That would be fine if the league showed such an interest in every city’s franchise, but it does not.
When asked recently about the Coyotes situation, Bettman said the NHL stands behind fans in every city. Unfortunately, his nose was growing. He and the league showed no concern for Jets fans when their team left
But now that
Update, 5/31/11: Earlier today it was announced that True North Sports & Entertainment has purchased the Atlanta Thrashers and will move them to Winnipeg. I have to say congratulations to the fans in Winnipeg because they never should have lost the Jets, and because returning NHL hockey to their city is righting a wrong.
But at the same time I have to sympathize with the fans in Atlanta. There are some good ones there, and it is horribly unfortunate that their team was saddled with an ownership group which made it obvious from the beginning that they did now want to own the team and were not going to even try to produce a winner. After 11 years of the crap, the fact that 13,000+ people per night spent their time and money attending every Thrashers games does not seem all that bad.