There was a published report by the Toronto Globe & Mail that the Phoenix Coyotes may be in enough financial trouble to seriously consider bankruptcy before the end of the season. This, despite the inclusion of the greatest hockey player of all time as their head coach, Wayne Gretzky.
As David Shoalts wrote in his December 6th, 2008 column:
The Phoenix Coyotes are expected to lose between $25- and $35-million (all currency U.S.) this year and with his primary business under financial duress, owner Jerry Moyes may not be able to cover the hockey team’s losses any longer.
If you may remember, in 1996 the Coyotes relocated to the Arizona desert from Manitoba, Canada where they were originally called, the Winnipeg Jets.
As much as the league focuses on expanding in the US market, straight up, the NHL needs to bring more teams to Canada! After all, hockey is their sport!
We all know what happened to the Montreal Expos in baseball! The team never had the fan base, nor did they have a stable leadership.
Same thing here!
The league should concentrate on getting teams team back in Winnipeg & Quebec City, and then expand to Regina or Saskatoon. However, a team in Hamilton would hurt the Toronto/Buffalo market. Unlike the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area, the area isn’t as readily accessible and doesn’t have the population to support three hockey teams.
Secondly, the league should contract teams who aren’t cutting the mustard. Atlanta, Nashville, Florida and Tampa Bay should be considered for contraction.
26 teams and a shorter schedule wouldn’t hurt the league financially. In fact, it might make it much more stronger!
In the case of the Phoenix Coyotes, the team has two strikes working against them.
1. The downturn in the US economy.
2. Poor hockey teams over the last 12 years.
Both can be deadly on franchises. It might be the death knell of the Coyotes.