Tag:Relocation
Posted on: August 19, 2011 4:15 pm
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Report: Brooklyn arena execs meet NHL officials

By Brian Stubits

The possibility of the Islanders staying on Long Island, just much closer to the city, is growing.

Katie Strang of Newsday reported on Friday that NHL officials met with Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner and CEO Brett Yormark. Both men are not only involved with the arena being built in Brooklyn, but are also involved with the New Jersey Nets organization. It's not reported what the discussion concerned, but the logical assumption concerned hockey in Brooklyn and the Islanders.

Perhaps the first place that popped up as a future home of the Islanders after their arena vote on August 1 was met with a resounding no was Brooklyn. Considering there is a state of the art arena that is going up, the fit seemed natural. The Islanders wouldn't have to go but a few miles down the road instead of relocating to Canada or west of the Mississippi.

But the elephant in the room has been the size of the Barclays Center. It will be a great fit for the NBA's Nets, but the number of adequate seats for hockey is an issue.

Here is what Yormark said in an email to Newsday soon after the August 1 vote.

"The Barclays Center will have an ice rink that can support professional hockey. Due to the venue's design, the capacity for hockey would be a few thousand seats less than for basketball. While we hope to explore hockey opportunities in the future, our primary focus at the moment is to build the best sports and entertainment venue in the world."

Specifically, the arena would figure to host a little more than 14,000 for hockey. That would make it easily the smallest venue in the NHL, lower than the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. But that isn't a deal-breaker.

"We have no set seating capacity or requirements established," a league spokesperson told Newsday.

This is pretty much good news any way you slice it unless you are in Quebec City keeping your fingers crossed. I've said all along that after the rejection of the vote, Brooklyn would be the next best alternative to staying in Nassau County. The concerns about the size of the arena for hockey are justified, but I feel could be mitigated with the location of the arena. Demand would likely increase for tickets with the location closer to the city and the prices would certainly rise. All in all, the numbers could come out to around the same or better. That's before you consider the lease situation.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 11:11 am
Edited on: August 19, 2011 4:42 pm
 

Ex-Sharks CEO Jamison interested in Coyotes

By Brian Stubits

It's another day, so naturally there's another name being thrown out in the Phoenix Coyotes ownership search. I must admit, this one seems like it could be legit.

Glendale spokeswoman Julie Frisoni confirmed Friday that Greg Jamison, former Sharks president and CEO as well as current part-owner, is one of the bidders to buy the franchise and that no bonds would be sold as part of any proposed deals. She would not elaborate on the negotiations or who the other bidder was.

Last week it appeared a Canadian group was moving toward a purchase of the team that would contain an eight-year out clause that would allow them to relocate if conditions didn't improve. It made sense. It also helped substantiate a report earlier that said there were two as-of-then unnamed suitors with serious interest in buying the team.

The Phoenix Business Journal reported that Jamison is at the head of a new ownership bid to buy the team and is looking to keep them where they are. The Journal says a sales agreement is expected to be worked out very soon with the NHL, which includes money down front, giving Jamison's group exclusive negotiating rights.

ESPN.com, meanwhile, reports the talks aren't as advanced as the Journal indicates, saying that Jamison isn't poised to make an offer as of yet.

A little background on Jamison: He was the head of Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment from 1996 until late in 2010. He still serves on the Sharks' board of ownership and also served on the NHL's executive committee. That past relationship could seriously help a bid here considering the team is now owned and controlled by the league itself. But the ownership ties with San Jose would obviously have to be severed first.

Things have certainly picked up since Matthew Hulsizer dropped out of the process. When that happened, the future was very dim in the desert as it seemed the potential suitors had dried up. But in the last week two seemingly serious and viable bidders have emerged.

As always, we have learned not to count our chickens before they hatch in this never-ending Coyotes story. But optimism is on the rise after sinking.

Photo: Getty Images

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Posted on: August 11, 2011 11:32 pm
 

Report: Canadian group eyeing Coyotes purchase

By Brian Stubits

Earlier this week a report surfaced out of Arizona that two groups were still negotiating to buy the fledgling Phoenix Coyotes franchise. Considering how the process has gone since the NHL has owned the team beginning in 2009, skepticism was naturally high.

Then came a report on Thursday night from the Business Journal that a Canadian group with plenty of cash is formulating a plan to purchase the team. All of a sudden there is hope again in the desert, something that hadn't been in high supply since Matthew Hulsizer withdrew from the process.

The report goes on to say that in the proposal at this point, there would a seven-year out clause where the owners could relocate the franchise if market conditions don't improve. That's a pretty substantial amount of time for the fans in Arizona to prove their desire to keep the team or not and would have to be considered amply fair.

It goes on to say the deal could possibly be approved by the NHL in the coming days.

Reaching a deal soon (relatively speaking) is imperative to keeping the team in Arizona. The city of Glendale still has $25 million set aside to cover any operating costs the team might have to pay, but it's not clear whether or not that money would be available for another season, with the answer likely be no.

Also from the Journal, one of Hulsizer's biggest hurdles seems to be less of an issue with this potential ownership group.

A $40 million to $50 million contribution by Glendale towards the purchase could avoid a lawsuit promised by the Goldwater Institute Goldwater watchdog group. Glendale wanted to make available $100 million worth of bonds to help Hulsizer [buy] the team, but that deal fell apart in part because of Goldwater's legal opposition.

As promising as this latest development might sound, it would still be wise to tamper enthusiasm. They have been closer in the past to getting a deal reached with a new owner only to have it fall apart. But hopefully for the fans in the desert, this is more than just another mirage.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 9, 2011 2:33 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 2:41 pm
 

Report: Two potential buyers in on Coyotes talks

By Brian Stubits

It's the neverending franchise-selling story. The Phoenix Coyotes still have a desert future hanging in the balance and after Matthew Hulsizer dropped his bid to buy the team, that future looked bleak.

But there might be a beacon of hope again. Make that two beacons.

Mike Nealy, Coyotes COO, said that the team continues to hear from two potential buyers, according to Arizona Republic reporter Lisa Halverstadt. Who those suitors are is not known. They have asked to remain anonymous as negotiations go on. Halverstadt says both names are known in the sports world, however. (Jerry Reinsdorf still around, perhaps?)

Expect news to pick up when Glendale City Council members return from their summer recess. The stated goal by the council is to have everything wrapped up come fall. At this point, with how long the search has been going and all the hurdles that have been placed as obstacles, that seems a bit on the optimistic side. Just a touch

Stay tuned. I'm sure in a couple months there will be three potential buyers, none of which are currently in the mix.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Posted on: August 4, 2011 10:32 am
 

Daily Skate: Marchand talks heat; Queens option

By Brian Stubits

LET'S MAKE A DEAL: Now that everybody is starting to come down from their Stanley Cup highs in Boston, the Bruins and Brad Marchand are getting down to business. The rookie was solid last season but really broke out in the postseason and now he's a restricted free agent, but thus far next to no work has been done on getting him a new contract. But according to ESPN Boston, the sides are beginning to talk and are taking steps toward reaching each other's goal: keeping Marchand in a B's sweater for a lot longer.

ALL HAIL THE QUEENS: When discussing the future of the Islanders, I discussed a lot of future homes for the team if it leaves Nassau County. I neglected to mention the borough of Queens because once upon a time the deal seemed to be in partnership with Jeff Wilpon, the Mets owner who has seen wealth diminish since being caught in the Bernie Madoff scandal. But it's clearly still an option, and a very viable one at that. Whenever/if Charles Wang decides to move on from Nassau, he would be wise to approach Queens about a new home right next to Citi Field and the U.S. Tennis Center. The borough would certainly be receptive (Via Islanders Point Blank).

NUGENT-HOPKINS' DREAM SEASON: Goal No. 1 for the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is to make the Oilers roster. If he does, he would love it if the team would loan him to Canada's National Junior squad around Christmas time. After not making the roster for the national team in 2010, RNH tells the Edmonton Journal that he'd love to get a shot to represent his country.

KRONWALL'S TASK: The Red Wings took to rebuilding their defensive corps this offseason, partly because of retirement. The team lost Brian Rafalski to the world or relaxation and now will have to find a way to offset his loss. That could be the job of Niklas Kronwall to step in and play major minutes. The Detroit Free Press looks at his role in Detroit for next season. All I know is that more minutes means more chances for opponents to be Kronwalled.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 2, 2011 3:28 pm
 

Islanders aftermath: Brooklyn's viability as home

By Brian Stubits

The morning after the Islanders' arena hopes were shot down by the voters of Long Island, life goes on. And it hasn't taken long for the possibilities for the future of the franchise to take shape.

If the team isn't able to secure a home in Uniondale for 2016 and beyond, the team will find a new home and the first place that comes to mind is Brooklyn. I discussed that option a bit yesterday, noting the viability of moving the team just a little ways west.

But that might not be as sure shot as it appeared on first glance. Yes, there will be a fancy new arena that will host the Nets, and yes it will have ice rink capabilities. However, the problem lies in the amount of seats it could fit for hockey. The capacity of the arena for basketball is listed at 18,000, but to make the arena work for hockey, it would have to be cut to 14,000-15,000. That would make it the smallest arena in the NHL, smaller than Winnipeg's MTS Centre.

It would be a very tough sell, but not an impossible one. If it came down to the only viable option to remain in the New York area, you'd have to think Gary Bettman would be able to swallow the pill a little easier. He doesn't want to uproot teams -- see Phoenix -- and especially wouldn't be exicted about taking a team from a market like New York. That's if the Nets and Barclays Center would consent to the Isles sharing the joint.

"We will continue to work closely with the Islanders to explore whatever options still may be available in light of what obviously is not a positive department," Bettman said in a statement to Islanders Point Blank. "Our goal is for the team to remain on Long Island and we still hope that objective can be realized."

On the ownership side, it sure shounds like you can cross Russian tycoon and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov out of the mix. He has made it known that he isn't interested in buying any other sports teams right now. Now that isn't a big hurdle, Wang could hold onto the team himself or find some other owner from the area. In New York, that's not a terribly tough task.

At this point, Wang and the Islanders aren't talking about the future home of the team, just its future on the ice. But behind the scenes, they have to be thinking about their next move. If they are going to stay in the area, which still seems the most likely to happen, they need to start the process now. Arenas don't just go up over night.

As for the land where the arena currently sits? Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is moving on to Plan B, asking for proposals for people interested in the land. That doesn't include or exclude the arena sticking around.

"We're looking for a vision on what we have and what will become available in 2015," Mangano was quoted as saying by Newsday.

While it is still way too early to say what will happen to the Islanders and the land, it's certainly cloudier today than it was this time a week ago.

Photo: otrbasketball.com

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 2, 2011 12:11 am
 

Islanders arena vote fails: What now?

By Brian Stubits

'Tis a sad, sad day not only on Long Island, but in the NHL. With the vote on a new arena for the Islanders being shot down by the people of Nassau County, it seems to be a lock that the team will be looking for greener pastures after 2015 when the lease with Nassau Coliseum runs out.

"I have to tell you I'm disappointed and to put it bluntly, I'm heartbroken," owner Charles Wang said after the votes came in.

We aren't here to rub salt in the wound for the Islanders fans. Losing a franchise is in no way a fun experience and no reason to delight. It can feel like losing a family pet to the die-hard fans. We aren't at that stage yet, and it's still very possible the Isles won't venture too far. The possibilities of playing somewhere else on Long Island certainly exist, let alone staying in Nassau County. But it's also a possibility they desert the Island.

If the team were to move, the first question that would have to be answered is who, exactly, would own the team? Once upon a time, Wang admitted regret to buying the franchise, saying he wouldn't do it again. This could be his chance to sell if he so chooses.

At this point, though, Wang is staying mum about the future of the team, instead saying he wants to focus on next season. That doesn't do much to calm the worries of fearful fans.

Whether he sells or not, though, the team almost certainly won't be playing in Nassau Coliseum after 2015. That much Wang has made pretty clear. But who knows? At this point, there's a long way to go. His tough-line stance certainly could have been a ploy to increase the sense of urgency on the matter. I doubt it, but then again I doubt that the Islanders are content to sit around for four more years, listening to relocation chatter, either.

If they do move -- still a pretty big if -- here's a look at the potential homes.

Brooklyn: Yes, the team might not actually leave the tri-state area. Early this year, it was reported that Nelson Peltz had interest in buying the team and moving it to Brooklyn, to share the not-yet open arena that will serve as the new home of the NBA's Nets. Whether or not Wang sells the team to Peltz (how about Nets owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov?) or keeps it for himself, the borough could be a potential landing spot that keeps everything mostly in tact. It becomes a little bit further of a commute for the majority of the fan base that lives on Long Island, but it beats seeing the team move more than an hour away. Aside from a passing vote tonight or another county on Long Island stepping up to build an arena, this would be the next best solution.

Quebec City: Ever since losing the Nordiques to Colorado in 1996, the fans in Quebec have been dying to see the NHL return, much the same as the fans in Winnipeg. Just check out the wonderful simplicity of makeit8.ca. Of the out-of-state options, Quebec seems to be in the best shape considering it has a potential owner in Pierre Karl Peladeau, the chairman of media giant Quebecor. The kicker is that, while Quebec City doesn't have an arena right now to hot a team, it plans to by2015, which would work perfectly with a potential Islanders move.

Kansas City: Sure, there is an arena available (the still new Sprint Center doesn't have a primary tenant), but who would own the team if Wang looks to sell? That's the golden question. The fear is growing in Kansas City that it built a new arena on the belief it could land either an NHL or NBA franchise but won't get either. It could soon become a reality.

Houston: There isn't tremendous appeal to Houston other than it being a massive market. But it's a city that continues to get mentioned on the back end of the lists for relocation, mainly because of the market size and that it has an arena. But the hurdles (non-traditional hockey market, no prospective owner) are tough to clear under the assumption that the team would be sold.

Seattle: It doesn't have a clear owner (although a group expressed interest to the league) and it doesn't have a suitable arena. After watching the NBA's SuperSonics fly the coop because of a refusal to publicly build an arena, you wouldn't think there would enough support before a team is even in town to build a new arena. At this moment in time, a very long shot.

Milwaukee: I'll just continue to ask why this city never gets more consideration. It's a good state for hockey and a team could share the Bradley Center with the NBA's Bucks. The Kohl family could probably afford it no problem.

Hamilton: We have to throw it on the list because, quite frankly, the number of markets is drying up fast for the NHL to move in to. You have to wonder if Gary Bettman and the Maple Leafs would be OK with another team in southern Ontario when faced with a possible alternative of contraction. No commissioner wants to have that on their resume. But we know there is an owner who would want it (Jim Balsillie) and who has shown a willingness to build a new arena.

Long Island: Pick the county, any county. The leg work would have to begin now, but it would in the end be great to see the team stay (mostly) put.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: July 29, 2011 10:27 am
 

Daily Skate: Modano sounds done; new cities?

By Brian Stubits

MODANO DONE? There is still no word from Mike Modano on if he has played his final game in the NHL, but the smart bet is that he has. In an interview with a Dallas radio station, he largely affirmed that believe, but wouldn't go as far as to confirm it. "I don't know. I think that was the swan song," Modano said. So are you officially retiring? "Not yet," Defending Big D has all the details on the radio interview and says that it's hard to come away from it believing anything but Modano's career is finished.

LOCATIONS FOR RELOCATION: The Atlanta Thrashers just became the Winnipeg Jets. Soon the New York Islanders and Phoenix Coyotes could be on the move as well, if things don't go their ways. There really are no Plan Bs in either city, so it's a boom or bust scenario. But Kevin McGran at the Toronto Star points out that serious problem in the relocation aspect ... relocate where? Quebec City is the first city on the list, but it doesn't have an arena. At least it does have potential owners who could build an arena by 2015 (when the Isles lease runs out). But others? Kansas City has an arena with no prospective owner. Same goes for Houston. Seattle doesn't have a suitable arena and no apparent serious owners. I'm still wondering why Milwaukee is never in this conversation. Perhaps it would be time to consider Hamilton, Ontario.

LOONEY TIMES: Former Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty made a brief return to professional sports on Thursday, joining the Dodgers' Class A affiliate, the Great Lakes Loons, as a player for a day (Detroit Free Press). Unfortunately, McCarty didn't actually play in the game, he just signed autographs throughout as part of a Red Wings legends series. What I want to know is if he would have jumped in the fray if there had been a basebrawl. That would have been a time to have McCarty on your side, now wouldn't it?

KICKIN' KICKS: Paul Bissonnette is, thanks to Twitter, one of hockey's best-known personalities at this point. The Coyotes fourth-liner just got some awesome new shoes that seem to fit his personality ... and his team. The Biz tweeted out a picture of his custom Coyotes high tops that, as you might have guessed, are red. Take a look. I think he should have custom-made skates to match.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com