Off Wing Opinion has published the letter Craig Leopold wrote to Season ticket holders, suite owners and the like. Eric also makes a few interesting points:
A couple of weeks back over at the NHL Fanhouse, a local Nashville blogger gently chided me for concluding that things weren't going well in Nashville based on local press reports, albeit nothing that I thought couldn't be cured without a deep playoff run.
But when the man who owns the franchise turns around and sells the team to a billionaire who is actively looking to import an NHL franchise to his hometown, I guess there's little sense in arguing the point anymore.
We should remember that Leipold was one of the owners who actually helped negotiate the terms of the current CBA. On the face of it, it might seem odd that an owner who helped create the league's new economic order would be the first to jump ship after the resolution of the lockout.
The team was the one that received the most from Revenue Sharing and yet still reported a 27 million dollar loss the last two seasons combined. That hurts.
But what hurts more is seeing the two sides of the entire situation present themselves. One speaking intelligently and thoughtfully about the topic. Dave Tillson (aka PredDave) speaks:
Craig Leipold is selling the Predators for nearly twice the amount of money Forbes appraised the franchise to be worth ($134 million). For years, Leipold has delivered a polished, well rehearsed act of trying to keep the Predators in Nashville for the long term. In fact, the Sommet Group will probably feel slighted for the multi-year naming rights deal driven by the crafty Leipold.
Will the new Balsillie ownership do the minimum necessary to keep the franchise afloat in 2007-08 only to attempt relocation next summer? Or will Balsillie protect his investment and try to do the right thing by keeping the team in Nashville while creating a new buzz around town and landing better corporate support?
This could be a positive transaction for the franchise as the current ownership and marketing of the Predators have burnt many bridges in the corporate community. Here’s hoping that Jim Balsillie will heal the franchise by building success in Nashville instead of stealing the franchise for his private relocation hobby.
Commissioner Gary Bettman and the rest of the NHL ownership group were adamant last year about not allowing Balsillie to relocate the Pittsburgh Penguins in his ownership bid. Will the owners' hands be tied this time? It is truly a sad day to be a hockey fan in Tennessee.
And the other responding with the blind rhetoric of the base (IE Canada) in response to the situation:
I hope Nashville is moved to Canada, that would be sweet! :D