View Full Version : Interesting NHL Article
03-11-2005, 02:43 AM
There was a very interesting article on the buyout offer of the NHL on Slate today:
<A HREF="http://www.slate.com/id/2114660/nav/ais/" target="_new">http://www.slate.com/id/2114660/nav/ais/</A>
Inline Hockey Central
Here I go again...I can hear the snickers starting all over the message boards once more lol.....
Let's say a leveraged buy out takes place. The group offers a cash settlement to some owners who just want out...To those owners who wish to remain involved, they get shares proportional to the pro rated value of their club...in a relative "value rating" scheme established prior to the transaction being completed.
Let's follow the article's proposed scenario then if this would be how it happened....say 10 - 15 teams opt out and those owners take a cash out settlement.
The new league owners now have as shareholders the old school owners of the various remaining teams, but these teams would be located in the traditional hockey markets, The new league can set team budgets and league policies...Player salary budgets would be controled by this new league, but could vary somewhat from team to team tied to a cost of living index for each market region. These new salary levels would be in tune with whatever the business, now run as a business, could truly afford. It would still be the "best game in town" so players would not have much choice as to where to go. One other way to insure this would be to develop a Euro division of the league.
If the succcessfull owners object to this buyout now....they may not for long, because they are already facing the possibility of a very reduced version of the league on which their success depends...Maybe better to turn that capital into shares in a league which might actually "evaluate", and see their investment continue to grow. Better half the pie than none.......
How to bring some fresh blood into the league to rekindle interest?
Change the rules?..Maybe just actually apply the existing ones....
Maybe expand the league into Europe as mentioned above, with say 12 teams playing there in very dedicated hockey markets. These would be new teams in larger venues, built to become part of this new worldwide version of the NHL....
Have two divisions of the league..one in NA and one in Europe. As previously suggested(in many of my other posts), each team has a one month road trip to play cross pond each season, to keep the inter-divisional rivalry going, and build some heat for the play-offs. A new single entity league could bring player salaries to levels where there was parity on both sides of the ocean
Now you have the added element of "us against them" going with Euro teams filled out with Euro players, and North American teams peopled with NA players. Further, under the new league, the old rules are out the window....so Free Agency options get reduced. This to help keep players around on teams for a longer period and improve fan identity with their own teams...instead of being just fans of individual players, fans would become more team oriented and increased team loyalty will greatly help local marketing. The recent nature of the NHL (last 12 years or so)..really since the Gretzky move to LA, has had fans often more interested in following the careers of their individual favorite players more than their traditional home teams.
Obviously each team would need it's own stars, and being a single league entity might help with the distribution of same.
A fresh league ownership would also allow them to take a fresh look at the rules and the needed changes. Personally I do not necessarily think that the changes need to be too radical, but by simply applying the existing rules as they are written, the game could be vastly improved. The new league would be able to impose better parity between teams, and thus reduce the need for some teams to play such a boring defensive style, just to be competitive....something which the current league has permitted in deference to those smaller market owners who claim that is the only style of hockey they can afford.
Although the generic success of single entity leagues is still a bit of a question mark, it becomes a bit of "the devil you know versus the devil you don't" situation....maybe it would not be all bad?....Or maybe we should ask....could it be any worse?
03-11-2005, 09:32 AM
Great Post... I think that would be great to see happen!
03-11-2005, 12:37 PM
It would be intersting and the scenario might work but is it worth losing more than a third of the league? Maybe i feel this way cause i live in pittsburgh. The pens would be one of the first to go. Cities like Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Quebec and Hartford should have teams. They're not corporate hot-beds but they are hockeytowns (especially when they win). Unfortunately hockey is a buisness at most levels so ultimately it doesn't matter who has the best or most knowledgeable fans, just who can keep the money rolling in.
That is what I have heard many people say, but I do know someone who has access to these owners through other business, and the word from my contact was that some of the owners did not anticipate this whole thing going more than 10 - 14 weeks before settlement....
As little sense as these negotiations seem to be making, I have little doubt that at least a few of the major players(owners and league governors) are looking at a much larger and more sweeping scenario to correct the solvency issues. Solvency issues not just of the individual teams, but of the league itself.
Hence I suspect that within the group of owners there may be radically differing viewpoints on what is truly needed, and that with a few of them, a major reincarnation is considered to be the only way out.
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