Tuesday, June 16, 2009

If we do this again, the Canadians may stop being nice (Phoenix, Hamilton, and Winnipeg)

I have an imponderable question that I need to ponder at some point - when we refer to the "National Hockey League," what nation is being referenced? The NHL, like Major League Baseball, straddles two countries - the United States and Canada. And even though hockey is more of a passion to Canadians, teams have tended to move south to our side of the border.

There's been an attempt to move in another direction - an American National Hockey League team trying to move to Canada! - but an American judge has blocked the deal:

Jim Balsillie is considering a new bid for the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team after a bankruptcy court's decision that blocked the co-founder of Research in Motion from [moving] the NHL franchise to Canada.

Judge Redfield Baum ruled on Monday that a June 29 deadline proposed by Balsillie did not allow enough time to settle the complex case.

Balsillie was offering to buy the team for $212.5 million and move it to Hamilton, Ontario, located an hour southwest of Toronto.

The Coyotes actually began their existence as the Winnipeg Jets in 1972, moving to Phoenix in 1996. They were preceded in a southern move by the Quebec Nordiques, who became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995.

Now it has gone the other way. The Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary in 1980. And there have been other moves that haven't crossed national borders.

But for the moment Phoenix won't be joining them. Although there's one person that argues that if Phoenix moves north, Hamilton shouldn't be the destination:

While the idea of moving the team back to Canada is a good one, and Hamilton is a great place for an NHL team, we feel that Winnipeg is the true home of the team. If the team is going to be moved to Canada it should be moved to Winnipeg and renamed the Jets.

So we may have a Manitoba-Ontario smackdown in a few years. Well, not a smackdown, since Canadians presumably won't act like Marylanders act when the Indianapolis Colts come to town. But it could get not nice.

P.S. Not sure if my good friend Jeremy St. Louis has reacted to the news. I haven't had access to my TV lately, so I'm not sure what the Fox Soccer Report people are discussing to ward off the summer doldrums.
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