It was easy to get caught up in the mass hysteria over Swine Flu with thanks to what the media was generating about it: Pandemic panic. For all inherit purposes, it was like Stephen King's "Captain Tripps" super flu bug had invaded the world and there would be a mass die off... Or that was the furor the mainstream media helped kick up.
Flash forward just a matter of days and a new hysteria is starting to be kicked around: finances and the NHL. The Phoenix Coyotes declaring bankruptcy, Jim Balsillie's offer/purchase agreement, before that was Charles Wang regretting purchasing the New York Islanders. And now there is the latest from OK Hockey and the untold stories behind it.
Let me start with Amanda Harris' observation at JoeBoltsFan regarding money matters with Koules and Barrie personally:
Reports surfacing last month indicate Koules got out from under sold his Beverly Hills monstrosity in early April for roughly $4.25 million under his asking price.
Barrie, on the other hand, is still looking to offload Bear Mountain Resort to a Dubai real estate group. The proposal has been in limbo for months and Barrie, struggling to seal the deal and raise some capital, is now offering up to 40 percent off select luxury condominiums.
So considering the number of free agents the Bolts will contend with this summer, the ongoing salary cap issues with which all clubs grapple, and the potential scenarios surrounding a most-coveted draft pick, we must now decide whether to look at Tampa Bay’s glass as being half-full or half-empty.
Then yesterday, as reported by the Tampa Tribune, it came to light that OK Hockey is actively looking for investors to share the load. Actively, but not subtly as other professional sport owners like to do with regarding taking on a partner or investor.
Why subtly and privately? Because of rumor mongering that tends to ensue about finances, about the roster, and about the viability of their franchise. Tampa Bay's seen that with the Rays in the past under Vincent J. Naimoli, and Tom Wilson didn't have a neon sign flashing "Help Wanted" as Palace Sports looked for a local investor to share the load.
And of course, St. Petersburg Times beat writer Damian Cristerdero today examined why there is necessity in new investors and continues to fuel the fire: more money or no more Vinny.
It's not a crime to point out the obvious that is floating out their regarding OK Hockey's finances... But the timing on top of what's going on out west -- and soon in court -- doesn't help.
OK Hockey might be keen on more investors but Barrie says no locals have stepped up... And honestly, that's not surprising. Bolts fans may recall the fact that Oren Koules had issues inside his earlier ownership group that led to the failure of a deal between Absolute Hockey (made up of local investor Jeff Sherrin, Koules and former Columbus Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean) and Palace Sports and Entertainment.
What really stands out, and makes one shake their head at the spin is the news contradictions that come out from OK Hockey. "Finances are fine" statements and then proof-in-the-pudding truth slips out that something is wrong. "We're going to be fine" statements and a vote of confidence from the Commish in the recent past, and then a story about looking for additional investors. It's causing a panic among local talking heads, and soon will bring other rumors that further sensationalize things.
Just to note, doublespeak doesn't inspire faith. This is another reason why transparancy, while an asset, needs to be well managed by the team.