Looking in the rearview mirror: Glendale City Council is back in the news

When news broke yesterday that Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers asked the Arizona state attorney general to investigate the City Council members violation of the open meeting policy, I intentionally did not share or comment on any of news. Whether it be Sacramento, Glendale or Broward County, I try to stay out of other cities local politics. I do not appreciate people from jobingoutside our area to comment on our local issues and it would be hypocritical for me to comment on some other municipalities issues. It is also important to move forward. It is not worth my time or energy looking back unless it involves learning something for the future.  

Over the last 24 hours I received several emails, DMs, mentions and text messages on the news out of Glendale Arizona that makes me feel it is important enough to comment on the news. Here are my thoughts:

  • Let the process play out. I am not an attorney that knows the law or has the details of what transpired. My opinion on the legal issues do not matter. Let the professionals do their work.
  • I feel for the fans and the players. Just when everyone is moving forward and trying to turn this franchise around, they have to deal with this again. 
  • Distraction for the league. If the worst case scenario happens and the contract with IceEdge is deemed null and void, this creates a debacle for the ownership, league, team and city. I would rather see the league & team move forward….(and focus on expansion). 
  • Interesting timing. Is it possible that Jerry Weiers waited until the league and owners had their hands tied so that the team would have to play in Glendale next season without the Operating $ the city is currently required to pay? I don’t know but the timing seems a little interesting. 
  • Could the Coyotes come to Seattle for 2014? No. I don’t know how long the State Attorney would take to perform the investigation. Even if they wrapped it up by the end of July and voided the agreement with the IceEdge group, they could not possibly be up and running by October. 

People that have been here a while or know me on a personal level, know that I have never been an advocate for relocation. I believe in this sport so much that I think it can be successful anywhere. Glendale has failed once and only once. Much like several other teams in hockey hot beds, they deserve a second chance. Lets give them this shot and hope that they are successful. I know plenty of people from Arizona that agree if this chance does not work out then maybe a team can’t be successful in Glendale. In the meantime, I am rooting for a quick resolution to this issue and a turnaround for the Coyotes. 

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Broward County hires a consultant to evaluate options for Panthers

News broke Friday that Broward County is hiring a consultant to evaluate options for the Florida Panthers who are currently asking for another $80M in subsidies from the counties to reduce the alleged hemorrhaging of money. As you can imagine, speculation ran rampant from here to Quebec City.

Population of South Florida

Population by city in South Florida

Let’s step back and evaluate how we got here:

It definitely seems like the mayor is on the defense a bit. This is a report from February and it appears that she does not have a solid stance right now, hence the consultant.

There is a couple ways to look at this latest development:

  1. County is being responsible to getting an expert to weigh their options. They will need to pay the arena debt with or without the Panthers so it is good to know the cost/benefit of their options.
  2. The consultant could be paid to tell them the answer they want to hear (i.e. “we can’t afford to let them leave.”)

 

One of my biggest issues with all of this is if the team was hemorrhaging cash, why did Vincent Viola buy the team? Certainly we would have evaluated his investment. I don’t think the Panthers are going anywhere, the team appears to make money for the owner. That said, the numbers may have changed since the full season lockout.

FloridaPanthers Attendance

Attendance has been relativity flat: 2011-12 had a playoff run and 2012-13, all the games were played from mid-January on, a time of year where they draw more fans not to mention it had the excitement of a shortened season. According to Team Marketing Report, the Panthers had the 3rd lowest ticket prices in the league last season only behind Dallas and Colorado (two playoff teams that will undoubtedly see their ticket prices go up.)

If the threat is real, I don’t see Seattle as an option. With Quebec’s new arena near completion, that would probably be the target. The challenges that remain for Quebec are ownership and the Canadian dollar exposure.

NY Post: Gretzky interested in NHL to Seattle. Agent: Not so fast.

Just when we expected to be go into the hockey news doldrums, the New York Post reports that none other than Wayne Gretzky is part of an ownership group that is trying to land an NHL team in Seattle.  2011 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award Presentation - Arrivals

Wayne Gretzky has joined a group of investors hoping to bring a National Hockey League team to Seattle, The Post has learned.

The Gretzky group is one of three looking to bring an NHL franchise to the home of Starbucks, sources said — but each faces an uphill battle in that league Commissioner Gary Bettman has not said the league is ready to expand

This would obviously be great news to have someone has high profile as Gretzky to help build a franchise here. But…

Gretzky’s Agent denies his involvement in a “bid”

Just 4 hours later, Sportsnet reported that Gretzky’s agent is saying this isn’t the case:

Darren Blake, Gretzky’s agent, told The Canadian Press in an email that the 53-year-old Hall of Famer isn’t involved in any bid.

“As you can imagine prospective team owners from various franchises call frequently to gauge his interest in coming on board. Seattle is no different,” said Blake.

Sportsnet is using the word “bid” which might be used carefully by Darren Blake. Both articles point out that one of the big hurdles is the arena, and until that is figured out, there really won’t be a bid. As I’ve previously shared, the NHL will need to be confident that a deal can be struck with Hansen and the City of Seattle before there will be a formal bid.

Which ownership group

If Gretzky is part of one of the groups, it is not clear which one. There should be no doubt that Gretzky can not be the lead investor on bringing the team. There has been no indication which group he could be part of should this move forward.

I have updated the NHL to Seattle diagram:

NHLtoSeattle20140705