Sunday, June 17, 2007
The "Hamilton Predators?"
There is definitely excitement in Hamilton. Everyone is excited. And why shouldn't they be. Their Hamilton Bulldogs just won the Calder Cup, and Jim Balsillie has just bought the Nashville Predators, and is looking to move them. Hamilton so far is the number 1 spot for the Preds to be re-located to, but will it happen?
Hamilton is doing it's best to make sure it does. So far there have been more than 4,700 deposits for lower bowl seats and almost 2,500 deposits for upper bowl seats in Coops Coliseum. Also, 60 deposits for $5,000 boxes have been received. But because of the lack of those boxes, Balsillie's lawyer Richard Rodier has stopped selling the seats.
"I've put a cut-off on the suites because we're quickly approaching selling out the suites," said Rodier, before adding: "You can take that as a reflection of interest generally."
This is a great reason for the Preds to be moved. It is obvious that people in Hamilton want hockey, and that is what the NHL is looking for. If people keep buying seats like this, than most games would be sold out if Hamilton gets a franchise. This would be a huge boost to the money-strapped Predators, who averaged 15,259 fans per game last season.
And any problems about to many franchises in Southern Ontario and Northern U.S.A have already been dismissed by some teams, like the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are one of a possible 3 teams within 2 hours of each-other.
"It's a fool's game for me to speculate on things like that," Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn said Thursday. "If and when somebody decides to put a franchise in Hamilton, they're going to have to go through a procedure. .. We'll act accordingly."
Just a few days ago, Hamilton's city council has approved an agreement that would allow Copps Coliseum to become the home of the NHL's Nashville Predators if they are relocated. "If a relocation application is put forward, the league would like us to look at all reasonable alternatives," said Rodier. "Our preliminary indication is that Hamilton would be ahead of the pack." Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger is confident that the city has adequately protected its future prospects.
So everything is looking good for the Hamilton Predators to become a team. For the next few days, weeks and months though, all we can do is wait.