Friday, May 20, 2011

Complications of moving an NHL franchise

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It isn't exactly breaking news that the Atlanta Thrashers are close to moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba as soon as possible.  Why, you ask?  There are actually several factors that have led up to this decision for the NHL.  Ownership has been awful to the arena and team, it's not worth the financial losses that the Thrashers swallow every season and there's an extremely small fan base that is more concerned with...umm, let's just say anything and everything BUT the Thrashers hockey team.  However, moving an NHL team is not as easy as it sounds.

Problem: The NHL has a commissioner that likes to explore "non-traditional" hockey markets, such as the southern United States, and views the annual financial losses taken by each of those franchises as an "investment."
Solution: Fire Gary Bettman.

Problem: Moving a hockey franchise from Atlanta, Georgia to Winnipeg, Manitoba would be a smart business decision, and thus completely irrational for the NHL to consider.
Solution: Fire Gary Bettman.

Problem: Strangely, a $25.1 million relocation fee appeared on the transaction for the new Thrasher ownership, which is actually more than they lose every year.
Solution: Damn you, Bettman...

Problem: Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine suggested that he wants the Thrashers to stay in Atlanta.
Solution: Hey, you spent 5 years in New York.  Go to a Islanders Rangers game.

Problem: Thrasher fans are planning a rally to keep the team in Atlanta.
Solution: Call the Atlanta Police Department's largest unit...and tell them to take the day off while the backups handle the masses.

Problem: Okay, well, what if the rally draws a bigger turnout than expected?
Solution: Bring in a second police car.

Problem: Some players have been with the Thrashers organization for a number of years, and Winnipeg might be a sudden climate shock to them.
Solution: It's okay, they were born in Canada or the northern United States, they can handle it.

Problem: The NHL rejected a $100 million contract last year for another former Thrasher, who's to say they won't reject another big contract?
Solution: Luckily, this is the Thrashers that are moving, not the Leafs.

Problem: If the Thrashers move to Winnipeg, there will be an uneven number of Canadian hockey teams for Hockey Day in Canada.
Solution: It's a shame every other market is thriving and there are no other teams that should be relocated.

Problem: The Thrashers don't have a marketable superstar right now, so marketing the team in Winnipeg could become a problem.
Solution: Atlanta's farm system has produced two NHL teams now (Calgary, Winnipeg), and both have relocated to Canada.  Problem solved.

Problem: The Thrashers mascot threatens to steal another zamboni and drive it on the highway if the franchise is moved to Winnipeg.
Solution: Oh well, zambonis are a dime a dozen in Canada...

Problem: Atlanta was a poorly fun NHL franchise that made the playoffs just once in their history.
Solution: Well, it's not like Canadian markets such as Edmonton and Toronto are perennial playoff teams, either...

Problem: What to name the Winnipeg NHL team.....?
Solution: Jets.

Problem: The NHL has a commissioner that makes things like this a bigger deal than necessary.
Solution: Fire Gary Bettman.