Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Hockey franchises staying put
- As reported on The Four-Seamer, BlackBerry tycoon Jim Balsillie dropped his bid to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins. There was quite a bit of speculation as to why he would drop out in such a last minute fashion, garnering some choice words from current Penguins part-owner Mario Lemieux. What could be taken from the dropped bid was the fact that the NHL was not willing to have the Penguins leave Pittsburgh, while Balsillie was thinking of moving the team to Hamilton or, as improbable as it sounds, Kitchener-Waterloo.
Toronto entrepreneur Frank D'Angelo, known around Ontario for his self-promoted Steelback beer and Cheetah energy drinks, has stepped into the equation by showing his interest in spending the reported $175 million for the 39 year old franchise.
However, the most noteworthy bit about this situation stems from Pittsburgh's biggest need: no, not a steady #1 defenceman, but a new arena. Mellon Arena is the oldest in the NHL and the Penguins say they need a new arena soon if they want to keep the team in Pittsburgh. If Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. obtains a slot-machine license from the state of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, then we will see the Penguins get that new arena. The Casino has promised to put forth $290 million into an arena, at no cost to Pennsylvania taxpayers or the Penguins franchise, so long as they win the slots license over two other candidates. Strange how the fate of the hockey franchise with the brightest future on the ice rests in the hands of some Pennsylvania politicians.
All hope is not lost, though, even if Isle of Capri loses it's license bid. D'Angelo and his billionaire partner Barry Sherman have made their thoughts clear on their ideas of finding ways to fund a new arena.
The Penguins are staying in Pittsburgh.
- Moving to a smaller scale, the Mississauga IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League had long been thought to have been on the way out after being bought in the offseason by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. Melnyk, who also owns the OHL's Toronto St. Michael's Majors, had the intentions of moving the IceDogs elsewhere while putting the Majors into the IceDogs old building, the Hershey Centre.
This plan seems to be on hold, for the time being atleast. With no ownership groups coming forward to buy the IceDogs from Melnyk in speculated locations such as North Bay, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, the players have been told that they'll be continuing their education in Mississauga next year.
The team looks good on the ice and has some good potential, especially in defence prospect Alex Pietrangelo who is having a great rookie season and will certainly be the cornerstone of the franchise for the next few years.
IceDog fans can rest easy, for now. The OHL is targeting Western New York for a relocation destination and there are rumours circulating that bids will be coming forward in time.
Euge Melnyke I heard was giving the Ice Dogs away to, someone...i forget his name but i am almost positive he plays ont he sens...i forget i think i heard it awhile back on prime time sports...Post a Comment