Dear Mr. Bettman,
With regards to the current Phoenix Coyotes situation, you were recently quoted as saying “We don’t run out on cities.”
While I agree that each city should ge given time to foster their franchises, Phoenix has had 13 years to develop a following and entrench themselves in the community. One could argue that the move to Glendale occurred within the last six years which disrupted consistency of location, but the arena is located adjacent to the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium so fan travel should not be an issue. It is only nine miles from Glendale to Phoenix, after all.
Let’s face it: hockey hasn’t worked in the desert. It never will. The experiment should conclude now.
While I’d love to see a team in my hometown of Hamilton (I now live in Victoria, BC), it has become clear that this will not happen. Mr. Balsillie has done too much damage to make this move a reality. It’s too bad, because Hamilton could support a team – and I believe the impact on Toronto and Buffalo would be minimal at best.
I think the true answer here is contraction. Fold the franchise. Certainly the league may take a hit in the PR department, but it can also be seen as a sign of responsible business sense. I mean, if Starbucks is folding franchises since they have an element of control over them, what would stop the NHL from doing the same?
Regardless, you wouldn’t be “running out” on anything. You’d be strengthing the quality of play and the existing franchises by removing a drain to the league’s resources. It’s addition by subtraction.
Thank you for your time. As a hockey fan and a Canadian, I wish you and the league all the best and hope you make a decision that’s best for the game – it is bigger than every person, team and nation. It deserves that respect.
Victoria, BC, Canada