The Icemen cometh
The National Hockey League is shutting down for three days for the All-Star Weekend corporate party, fanfest and various player competitions and something resembling an All-Star Game which takes place in Tampa. All-Star Games in all sports are just shows with the game part of an overall entertainment package and this weekend in Tampa is no different. But one thing that should be carefully watched is what NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says after the league has never been healthier which is a staple of a Commissioner’s talk in any sport. Bettman needs to address a number of issues. Will the NHL change its collective thinking about not going to the Olympics and return at the 2022 Beijing Games? After all, the NHL has started to make an investment in China and would like to tap into that market place.
There are individual franchise problems and two of them are in Canada. In Calgary, there is no a problem with corporate support or local TV but Flames ownership has struck out in an attempt to get public money for a new arena. There has been some talk of the team moving but there is nothing wrong with the Calgary market except a stalemate between the franchise owners and the city in getting funding for a new building. In Ottawa, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk doesn’t appear to know what he wants to do with his team. Melnyk is not sure moving into Ottawa from Kanata will help with his team’s finances. Arizona extended its lease in Glendale for a year. Carolina has a new owner, the New York Islanders/Rangers/Mets owners have a deal to build a new Islanders arena at the Belmont racetrack site but there is a question as to where Islanders games will be played in 2019 and 2020. Bettman may clarify Seattle’s NHL status. The league is doing well but problems always exist.
And a hockey game also.