Posts Tagged ‘hockey’
I have to admit that I like the optimism of CBC News’ Benjamin Blum, purely for reasons of municipal patriotism. Is this liking well-founded, sports fans?
Yes, you read the headline correctly.
This goes beyond the city’s reputation for unearned bravado and the usual bandwagon jumping that comes with success. There’s tangible support for this claim now.
Toronto FC’s 5-0 thrashing of New York City FC to reach the East final in the MLS playoffs, coupled with back-to-back ALCS trips for the Blue Jays and the Raptors’ run to the conference final in May have Toronto actually feeling good about its pro sports teams. Hell, even the Maple Leafs are fun to watch!
The last time Toronto’s sports teams collectively were this successful was in the early 1990s when the Jays won back-to-back World Series titles, the Argonauts won a Grey Cup with nickname hall-of-famers Rocket Ismail and Pinball Clemons and the Maple Leafs… well, only Wayne Gretzky and Kerry Fraser know for sure what happened in the 1993 Campbell conference final.
So how did we get here?
The Toronto Star‘s Jim Coyle describes street hockey as a rite of childhood in Toronto.
In the winters of our childhood, and late autumns and early springs as well, every day after school and all through weekends, our little street in Toronto’s east end might as well have been Maple Leaf Gardens or the Montreal Forum.
We were part of the ball-hockey legions who turned the cry “Car!” into as Canadian an icon as the call of a loon. Looking back, how innocent we were of all that we were learning while simply having fun.
What delightful news, then, to learn that Toronto city council decided Friday to alter rules that had threatened road hockey and, in contemporary times, basketball as well.
Play will be allowed on roads with speed limits of 40 km/h or less during daylight hours between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Nets will now be allowed on the road as long as they don’t block driveways or impede sightlines for cars and pedestrians. They must be removed when play is done.
None but the dullest of bureaucrats could ever have imagined that all that was going on in those games was play.
The Globe and Mail‘s Eric Duhatschek suggests that, to get a local hockey team, Québec City would be best advised to look for a team ready to relocat.e
Is Quebec City a viable business if the buy-in is $500-million (U.S.), which at Tuesday’s exchange rate is about $680-million (Canadian)? Consider that when the ownership in Winnipeg bought the distressed Atlanta Thrashers in 2011, it paid a quarter of the expansion amount – $170-million (U.S.). And that was at a time when the loonie was above par.
Winnipeg has been a smashing success at the box office. Every game is sold out; the love affair with the Jets is as strong today as it was when commissioner Gary Bettman originally announced the move.
But even at that, Winnipeg is a mid-market team that has to stick carefully and efficiently to a budget. The franchise remains on solid ground, though the loonie’s value has since fallen to 74 cents and player salaries are all paid in U.S. dollars.
But what if the buy-in for the Jets had been four times higher, as it would be for expansion teams? Could Winnipeg keep operating in the black if the cost of financing the Thrashers purchase was that high?
And however well the Quebec City franchise does at the box office, in merchandise sales and local television revenue, the market could not spin off enough cash to make a $680-million (Canadian) buy-in work. That is the NHL’s concern, even though Quebecor, the prospective buyer, has deep pockets.
So, while Bettman always discourages the relocation of teams, it would make far more sense for Quebec City to pursue an ailing franchise whose owners are weary of mounting losses. At that point, the cost of the transaction becomes a different financial equation – simply a business deal between an eager buyer and a motivated seller, with the price to be mutually negotiated.