Breaking News: NHL Prefers the Coyotes in Winnipeg over Hamilton

Posted by Drew Mindell in Rumors on May 16, 2009 — 9 Comments

From The Globe and Mail

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told officials with Phoenix Coyotes in early April that the NHL would consider moving the team to Winnipeg but not Hamilton, court filings show.

Earl Scudder, a lawyer who works with Coyotes majority owner Jerry Moyes, said in an affidavit filed last night that he told Bettman on April 3 that there was interest “by a purchaser from Canada that wanted to move the team to Southern Ontario.”

Bettman replied that the league would not approve relocating the Coyotes to Hamilton because Copps Coliseum was over 30 years old, according to the affidavit. However, he added that “if the team did return to Canada, it would be to Winnipeg,” Scudder alleged.

Read the full article here

Instant analysis: Wow. Talk about things coming full circle. Who would have thought that Gary Bettman would be in favour of an NHL return to Winnipeg? This is a testament to the great job that Manitoba Moose owner Mark Chipman has been doing in dealing with the NHL in a professional, quiet, under the radar, respectful manner. (Are you listening Jim-bo?) Is this the first domino that will lead the NHL to habitating the new arena at Portage and Hargrave? Only time will tell, but confirmation of mutual interest is a crucial first step.

  • ladders11

    Watch him move the Coyotes to Winnipeg as the Jets, and then the Islanders to Phoenix, where they’ll become the Coyotes.

  • saucerpass

    this is certainly an interesting turn of events. i’m curious to see what jim balsillie’s response to this would be.

    balsillie’s is adamant about putting another team in canada. his “make it seven” ( campaign is widely publicized and he has that backing of a nation for sure. however, i wonder how flexible he could be to putting a team in canada, but in a different location than southern ontario.

    i think this might put the handcuffs on balsillie a bit. if the push is now back to putting a team in winnipeg, there isn’t any doubt in my mind that the city of winnipeg would be looking for some serious sponsorship from balsille. his campaign has stated that he wants to put a 7th nhl team in canada. the preference is hamilton, however, i’m curious to see if balsillie would support a team in another canadian city. how would it look if the ‘yotes move to winnipeg and balsillie fails to support a the team since it’s not in hamilton?

    winnipeg has the fan base. they have the facility. they need the financial support to get the team up and running.

    as for the comment above, as stated in forbes ( earlier this year, the new york islanders is one of the most dilapidated franchises in sports. if anything, this team will head to kansas city/seattle.

    and no, there is no way that balsillie is dumb enough to make a play at the islanders if the ‘yotes acquisition falls through. it’s too much of a risk.


  • A rally to help keep the Coyotes in Phoenix was held by local fans Saturday morning at a sports bar near Glendale called Native New Yorker. It drew about 100 people, according to a Phoenix CBS television station contacted by

    That’s not good for business.

  • SilverWlf

    That’s really nice. The one channel that couldn’t bother to show up is the only one CBCSports asks about the rally.
    Our Fox affiliate showed up and spent a few hours, NBC was there with bells on, before I even showed up and *I* was a half hour early. ABC peeked in for about 45 minutes but I never saw hide nor hair of a CBS affiliate at the rally.
    CTV was there early….There are conflicting stories on the reason behind that, but I don’t know either way. Some said he was there to get empty parking lot pictures in case no one showed. But he got a few long interviews out of it.
    We had between 700-1200 people throughout the day. I know we filled the restaurant, which has just over 500 as its max capacity, if memory serves. We had 2 newspapers and a radio station there almost all day. It was NOT a bad effort for a group of people, a community, and a fan base that was given very little time to get things going based on balsillie and moyes’ working under the table to sneak around the rules. Six days to plan something like this, and it worked out pretty good all things considered. Sorry to burst your little pro-Hamilton Blackberries sentiment, david.

    PS Don’t lose hope O Canada, there are already rumors that your buddy Jimmie is drooling over the Atlanta Thrashers, and as 2 comments above said, Islanders, if he gets that desperate. How many more times will he try? Pittsburgh first, he got turned down, look where Pittsburgh is now. Conference finals.

  • Silver,

    I suggest you read my column (Pain and Loss of Losing a Franchise) as I don’t remember ever saying that I was pro Hamilton. I just saw a news report and added it to the discussion.

    If you guys managed to get 1000+ fans to the rally I think that’s great, although as I’ve suggested before (and as we saw in Winnipeg in 1995) it matters little what fans want.

  • Missourimike

    Trust anything Gary B has to say., c’mon Drew you should know better than that.

  • Mikos

    I’m with Silver on this one. Seems like the media (not you guys) likes to influence the news rather than report it. They want the appearance of a loser so they under report the crowd.

    Although I do agree that regardless of fan sentiment the decision on what happens in Phoenix is out of their hands.

  • Calihockey

    It would be interesting if Balsillie wins but can’t move to Hamilton. Does he want a team so badly that he would move them to Winnipeg? I doubt it.

  • Hey I am cool with a team in Winnepeg again. Then the NHL is only 150 miles away again.