I had a friend dump a Craig's List listing on me last night, totally out of the blue. In the past. my friend had sent along humorous listings that he found on the site, and I thought the listing in question was going to be good for a laugh like that.
"Check This out," he encouraged.
So I clicked on the link and was whisked to the electronic marketplace that is Craig's List:
Provide a proper home to your collection of awards or memories with this prominent display cabinet. The 58"w display case features eight overhead lights and two florescent lights below a frosted glass bottom to provide a glow over your cabinet's collection. Illuminated displays are always attention getting and demonstrate a touch of class!
Additionally this piece features a storage unit with two wooden doors. Includes safety wall mount.
80"H x 58"W x 24"D
This item is gently used; sold as is.
What the...? It's a trophy display case... from the lobby of the St. Pete Times Forum?
Verified by two individuals who have worked at the Forum, I shook my head in wonderment over the listing and what to make of it.
When rumors of financial trouble swirl around, as they have been for OK Hockey for quite some time, it's not exactly the wisest idea to try to sell off furniture this way or at this time. Of course, if not now, then when? And why keep this hush-hush? Probably for the same reason they don't want it public: financial rumors and hearsay.
It's also pretty easy to downplay and dismiss stuff like this. It's not like this has never happened in pro sports before. Usually you'll see people moving to new venues selling everything they can from their old building.. I'm quite sure that other pro teams have done this (selling old furniture) before while redecorating or other such things...
OK Hockey's reputation, however, makes it difficult to put away the tin foil hat and not thinking this has some link to financial troubles. They have cut tenured staff in cost savings attempts, are now charging building employees to park at the Forum, and the group has gotten the proverbial vote of confidence in it's finances from Gary Bettman (such votes of confidence are usually tell-tale signs of trouble in the sports world). Tack on the recent stories about ownership looking for investors and it's really hard not to speculate
It's likely nothing more than an ill-timed furniture sale that has made it's way to the idle eyes of hockey fans... Or maybe it's truly another nickel-and-dime attempt, and evidence of financial troubles? Whatever it is, it seems funny and sad at the same time. For an ownership group so big on image and appearences, they aren't very good at protecting the image that they are better off than they seem.