Balsillie To Buy Preds!

After failing to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins, the CEO of Research In Motion has entered the frame again this time showing up in Nashville. This is a guy who wants to be a virus to a city and move the team out of whatever city to a city in Ontario. With the city agreement in Nashville, if attendance average is above 14,000 the team cannot move. I feel terrible for fans of the Preds in the Nashville area.

33 Responses to Balsillie To Buy Preds!

  1. TheSource2659 says:

    I don't know why theres already viable proof that hockey is not flourishing in Nashville and like L.A. the arena is empty except the playoffs.

    With most of Nashvilles UFA's most likely to walk this coming off season (i.e. Kariya, Hartnell, Timonen) And players like Arnott eventually asking for a trade or a buyout. I don't see Nashville being that strong a place to keep an NHL franchise like Edmonton (No I'm not saying they'll leave) they will have a tough time attracting freeagents this coming off season.

    I fully expect Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell and the rest of the NHL brass to consider selling the team to Balsille theres a huge market for more Canadian teams in Southern Ontario or anywhere in Canada for that matter whether it be back to Winnipeg or going to Hamilton or Kitchener/Waterloo. I feel this would be the best move for the Nashville Predators if they have any hope in keeping the franchise alive the current owner of the Preds Craig Leipold has cleary no interest in keeping the team in anyway and I feel that bodes no good for an existing NHL team thats already down in the dumps when it comes to attendance.

    Anyways I'm not saying it will be announced that the team has packed up its things and will be in Canada next season, But I can tell you this its quite feasable considering Hamilton just built a new arena thats not big but big enough according to Gary Bettman to house an NHL team. (All of Gary Bettmans interview can be heard on

    Anyways everyone I feel its very possible that this will be approved by the NHL and by that I mean the team being sold.

    Time will tell if we have a new NHL team in Canada.

    Heres to hoping…………..!!!!!!!!!
    The Source.

  2. simplyhabby says:

    Living in the KW area, this is fantastic news. When the team is likley moved, it would porbably go to Hamitlon because of the existing facility however, if my memory serves me correctly, KW is far enough from Toronto and Buffalo that a frnachise in KW would not have to pay infringement fees (I could be wrong) and it would make sense economically to put the franchise here.

    Here is the list of the major centers' population within an immediate 30 min radius as of 2006:

    Kitchener: 204,668
    Waterloo: 97,475
    Cambridge: 120,371
    Guelph: 114,943

    and besides Toronto, here are major centers within 1 hour:

    London: 352,395
    Milton: 53,939
    Halton Hills (Georgetown): 55,289
    Mississauga: 668,549
    Brampton: 433,806
    Oakville: 165,613

    That is just some of the cites that would draw support from as I just listed 401 corridor cities (Oakville and Brampton just off the 401)

    Southern Ontario could easily support another team and have no issues drawing within the top team attendances.  Yes I do feel bad for Nashville too, however, with a team doing so well and not drawing the numbers like a Canadian team does despite there win-loss record, lets expan on a solid core market and cut our losses where a team is not making money!

  3. Glucker says:

        Hes buying the team, if Nashville fans can keep the attendance over 14 000 then this will be the best thing to happen for Nashville hockey which would have eventually gone bankrupt due to a lack of corporate funding. If the team moves it wouldnt be his fault, it'd be the fault of the local companies that didnt support the team, and the people who didnt go to the games.

        He's not the virus, the apathy towards hockey in the south is and its turning markets like Nashville into a cancer on the NHL, the best thing to do would be to turn the Nashville Predators into the Las Vegas High Rollers; being the first major league in Las Vegas may just give Hockey in the USA the boost it needs to survive, as opposed to sticking to markets where very few people care about the sport.
        Don't get me wrong, i feel sorry for Preds fans but not being one myself i only see this as win-win, if the Preds stay then the market there will get stronger, and under the leadership of a billionare who actually cares about the sport it will become stronger and the Preds will win. If it leaves it will move either to a traditional market or to a market where it could improve the NHL's stance in the US, so Hockey wins.

        And i know some of you are gonna say that he will tank the team to move it wherever he wants… i doubt that will happen, he cares about the sport, he'll do things right.

  4. Glucker says:

    Oh and the team wont be moving to Southern Ontario, the Sabres and Leafs won't allow it.

    the Sabres get much of their support from the Southern tip of ON, and the Leafs wouldnt want a new team to show up on their door step and win the cup before they do, which this Nashville team will do under this ownership

  5. JuicemaN says:

    Agreed…sort of, but I wonder if Buffalo or the Leafs could actually say "no, we won't allow it"  If anything it will only create a huge rivalry between the three teams (4 if you include Ottawa) it could be a beneficial thing in hindsite.

    I certainly hope Toronto and Buffalo don't have the authority to say "no, I won't allow it" as far as I'm concerned if he wants to move the team to Toonto and try and second team he should be allowed…although a second toronto team would fail worse than the Chevy Chase show.

  6. TheSource2659 says:

    Actually the Maple Leafs or the Sabres have no say in what happens with an NHL team.

    They can voice there opinions all they want it won't matter as for the team in Nashville they've never had over 14,000 in the building during the regular season only come playoff time have they seen that kind of attendance anyways I see this happening and Balsille will move the team thats why he backed out of buying the Penguins. The NHL told him that they had to stay in Pittsburgh. The same can't be said about the future of Nashville and Gary Bettman and the NHL wanna make money not lose it in a sqaundering franchise that will lose half of it's best players in the next 2 season. Radulov and Vokoun being 2 of the potential players leaving and like I said earlier this team will have much trouble attracting freeagents the same way Edmonton does. 


    Will all be gone this summer to UFA and then what for Nashville they have to hope that they can scoop up some UFA talent which likely not to happen. I could definetley see Balsille letting this team tank so it can be moved. 

    Oh 1 more thing there is no interest in a franchise in Las Vegas I have spoke to some people I know who live there and they said that the city wants a basketball team or baseball way befor ethey would ever wanna see a hockey team there I just feel it would be the same situation as it is right now in Nashville no one will show. 

    The Source. 

  7. SabresFan220 says:

    And while there at it why don't they just read the writing on the wall and move Phoenix and Carolina back to Winnepeg and Hartford? With the exception of the recent "surge" by Carolina standards in ticket sales due to last year's Stanley Cup victory, Phoenix had been dead in the water for years.

  8. baltic_thunder says:

    You snooze, you lose. Both Kitchener and Hamilton are more viable franchise locations than Nashville. Kansas City wants in on the action but can't come close to to a handful of Canadian cities that rightfully deserve a franchise. Quebec City lost the Nordiques and Winnipeg lost their Jets but one day soon will have a new club and will not make the mistake a second time around of not supporting their local club. There are numerous teams on the bubble due to poor attendance: New Jersey, Atlanta and Florida are but 3 others.

  9. TheDonkey says:

    Why would Vegas be any more likely to draw than Nashville?  I would not expect Vegas to be a natural hotbed for the sport.

  10. TheDonkey says:

    I don't see a significant percentage of the people in your bottom half of the list being willing to make that trip to Waterloo on a consistent basis.  Door-to-door, a lot of people would be looking at trips of an hour and a half easily.  Yeah, an hour if I hit all green lights on the way out of town and once I get to Kitchener, and there is no slow moving traffic anywhere including around the arena, and I put the hammer down in the car – yeah, then it is an hour.   I think the number of people that you can realistically expect to draw from is smaller than Winnipeg's.  I can't see a team in K-W.

    Let me ask you this, do touring bands stop in K-W usually?  I am not seeing it on too many concert t-shirts, with reason.

  11. TheDonkey says:

    Under different ownership of course, the Leafs voted against bringing any WHA teams into the NHL as they would cut into the Leafs/Habs oligopoly of Canadian teams.    They don't need any rivalries that impede the sale of Kubina jerseys.

  12. Pucked says:

    For those of you who think attendance should be the determining factor for whether a franchise moves or not. In 2006, Nashville averaged 14,428 for home games. Bad? New Jersey, St. Louis, Washington, Chicago and NY Islanders had worse attendance at home (source: Do we move these teams as well? Despite what some may say, attendance is not the worst in the NHL, certainly better than some including some big name teams on that list. As much as another team is warranted in Canada, lets not talk about moving a franchise that has more success than some others. If a franchise is struggling financially and can not get assistance from local authorities or support itself, then we should talk about moving them or shutting them down. Not just after they had a great season and made it into the playoffs.

  13. Glucker says:

    gambling, make a casino around the arena, have ppl take bets on the games… its vegas, if any1 knows how to market its them

  14. Glucker says:

    yes, but there is a clause in the contract between the preds and nashville that if the attendance drops below 14 000 the team can be moved, and balsillie does want to bring the game back to canada

  15. moosehockey says:

    The teams you mentioned that are lower in attendance have either A) sucked for countless years now and had no hopes of making the playoffs or B) Play a boring style of game in a saturated market (NYI and Jersey).

    Nashville had one of the most exciting young teams in the NHL and they still can't draw good numbers. They're not the worst statistically but I would put them the worst based on the fact they have a fun team to watch and fans still don't care.

  16. WDF says:

    I can see Balsillie telling Preds management to start dropping assets and almost begin to rebuild this year. I say this because if the people of Nashville wont see a winning team play, they definitly wouldnt see a losing team play. So once attendance drops he can move the team to K-W. What a year for K-W hockey! First we're given the mem cup for 2008, now we are almost basically landed an NHL team. AND maybe another major junior team in Waterloo. Finally people will start to realise how hockey crazed this area is. PS. Nashville will finish near the bottem and will draft Drew Doughty out of Guelph :P, well maybe not but would be awsome anyway.

  17. Neely4Life says:

    atlanta and florida ya, but NJ with a new arena, and in Newark, that might change very shortly, but u can reserve judgment if u want to.  Florida is defently the team that needs to head north, be it a city like Hartford, that being said, Winnipeg might have dropped the ball with a smaller arena, and Quebec City needs to build a new arena if they even want a sniff at a new team.  Souther Ontario is where the Preds WILL end up, because the Leafs and Sabres have no legal authority to dictate other wise, and being that far south of Toronto they do not have to even pay a cent to the Leafs or Sabres for putting a team there. Count on a 2008/2009 Southern Ontario NHL team. 

  18. Neely4Life says:

    If an NHL team comes to Kitchener/Water Loo, dont count on another OHL team.  It wont hurt the Ranger, Storn, Knights so on, but I dont think the OHL would be really pushing for another team there.  That would be a lot of compition in one area, not to say they wouldnt succeed, but it might be pushing it, and u can count on the Preds being sold out before a shovel is even taken to soil to build a new arena.

  19. Neely4Life says:

    This is fantastic for the NHL!  As much as people say they Leafs and Sabres wont allow it, there isnt anything they can do about it.  The Leafs wont be hurt by this move, and the Sabres might, but to a very little extent. 

    This is EXACTLY wha tthe NHL needs, people in that area will sell out the arena before they even have a name for the place.  People might never stop cheering for the Leafs in that area, but i dare you to tell me that people in southern ontrario dont have an absolute hunger for hockey, and the NHL.  Its impossible to see a Leafs home game, this will be a viable option, then perhaps one day will come close to being as hard to get a ticket, as a Leafs game.

  20. AHLoldie says:

    First of all, Winnipeg and Quebec didn't lost their franchises due to poor fan support.  They were simply unable to generate enough financial revenue due to the fact that they were the 81st and 97th largest TV markets in North America.  Currently they are probably even lower down the list.  THEY WILL NOT GET AN NHL TEAM!  Kansas City, with a new arena, and the current 23rd TV market in North America is the odds on favorite.    That's if Balsille isn't in jail first.  He's currently under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.  I know the fans in Canada desparately want another team in Canada, but financially it can't happen.  The team would probably sell out its games, but that's not nearly enough to keep a team afloat nowadays.  By selling out all of your games, you could expect to lose approximately 8 to 10 Mil per year.  Just ask the Pens.  And this is with one of the lowest payrolls in the league.  This is why they needed a new arena.  Now they have a new arena, and the wealthiest owner in the NHL.  Ron Burkle has taken over for Mario Lemieux.  I remember growing up in Red Deer and occasionally going to Edmonton to watch the Flyers play.  I'm old enough to have seen Mark Messier's father play.  I'm still amazed that Edmonton was able to get an NHL team after seeing some of the larger cities in the lower 48 states.  The fact that they have been able to keep the team after all these years, surrounded by miles and miles of prairie is even more amazing.  I don't expect to see any more Canadian teams, but miracles do happen.  

  21. Hoondog2 says:

    Just so there is no confusion:

    The southern Ontario market currently belongs to the Maple Leafs and the Leafs' owners would have to be compensated if Balsillie moved the Preds to within 105 km of the front door of the cash cow commonly known as the Air Canada Centre.

    The Kitchener-Waterloo area falls outside the 105 km indemnification area, therefore Balsillie would be well within his rights to land a team there.

  22. Neely4Life says:

    well, i live in ottawa, and with traffic here, and ur coming from the east end of the city, every night its at least an hour.  So, i make the trip 41 times a year, plus playoffs, and i know other people do as well.  Dont under estimate the will of the people to watch the NHL in Canada

  23. TheDonkey says:

    That is my point though.  Once you add in traffic, especially around the stadium, it takes people that don't live 100km away an hour to get home.  You are probably taking your hour and then adding a 100km drive on top of it for people from London to go to a game in Kitchener.  It is going to be closer to 2 hours each way.   

    Maybe they can sell out without those people, I don't know.   But still, talk about a small market team.

    I used to live in Waterloo.  I would like to see a team there.  But I can't see how it makes any sense for someone to go there.

  24. TheDonkey says:

    But there are casinos everywhere.  You can place bets anywhere.  How is putting another casino near a rink going to draw fans. 

    As I recall, they did have a pretty successful IHL team (the Thunder, I think), but I am still hardly sold that Vegas is a guaranteed hockey market any moreso than Nashville.

  25. Neely4Life says:

    well, scotia bank place is about 25-30 km from downtown ottawa, the east end of the city, its probably closer to 50-60, then u add in traffic. But ya, this is just all speculation

  26. WDF says:

    I fully agree with you on the second OHL team here, but Some local owners (including Balsillie) were planning on purchasing the Ice Dogs and moving the team to Waterloo. Then it gets intresting, If Waterloo gets the OHL team, the Rangers are rumoured to move out of the tough western confrence and join the east, just to spread out the talent.
    Who knows, id prefer an NHL team any day rather then a second junior team in waterloo.

  27. Pucked says:

    So development is out of the question? Do you blow a team out of the league because it's not developing as quickly as hoped? I agree with you points about the team, so why not give it more time to develop. If we had moved original six teams out so soon, where would the league be? Do you want to develop the game and league, or do you only want it it snowy, cold climate cities? I've heard that argument before. Boring is in the eye of the beholder.

    Your evaluation of them as worst because of attendance versus excitement factor is purely subjective. My Sharks team had great attendance initially, and it has backed off some, but I consider them exciting too. Because they are not statistically the highest attended games, should we move them too? Guess again! Cut them some slack like we have for all NHL franchises that start out.

  28. TheDonkey says:

    Or you could move it to Houston, with what is either the 3rd or 4th largest market in the US (not sure if it is ahead or behind Chicago now).

  29. simplyhabby says:

    People commute to and from the cities along the 401 corridor every day.  There is a Toyota plant in Cambridge that has people coming from the GTA and London areas to work daily.  In addition, people make this drive all the time to Toronto for a work commute everyday. 

    I commuted from Dundas and Hwy 10 to the west end of Kitchener 3x a week including Friday rush hour. Barring any accidents, it took 1 hour. (30 mins of it driving to the 401 in Mississauga)  One of the reasons why I did not include Toronto east because I know how bad traffic can be east of the 410.  If you are on the west side of the city, it is definately a mild commute to see a game.  I do inquire, where do you live in the GTA?  Heading down to the ACC is a 45 min venture from where I lived in Mississauga.  That is either by GO or by car.

    Bands do stop in KW howvever, top bands go to TO for the premier venues there and not to mention the bulk of the population.  Coincedentally, a lot of people this way goes to concerts in TO.  However, your point about bands in KW is moot considering that is not a determining factor for an NHL team and besides, I am sure there would be a few more bands (not the TO draw of course) would come to KW with an NHL arena here.

    Fanbase, financially sound management and corporate support are the keys to a viable team whihc KW would have in spades.  The only factor missing is the arena which would be built once it was determined a team would come here.

  30. Glucker says:

    hell, that team would move above the leafs on my list, i love the leafs(best jersey in the league) but another southern ontario team thats properly run? I'd still cheer for the leafs, but not when they face the Waterloo Napoleons (that would be a funny name:P)

  31. AHLoldie says:

    When Mario was supposedly shopping the Pens, Houston showed very little interest in acquiring the Pens.

  32. AHLoldie says:

    Forget it Source.  I got it from A PRETTY RELIABLE SOURCE that the only Canadian team involved in this merry-go-round will be a new AHL team in the vicinity of Hamilton and Toronto.  This will increase the AHL from 29 to 30 teams, and move the Predators farm team from Milwaukee to the new team in Ontario.  The Milwaukee Admirals will then become affiliated with the Oilers who shared an agreement with the Penguins in Wilkes Barre this year.  That agreement was just broken off two weeks ago.  This will increase the count to four Canadian teams in the AHL.  The other three being the Toronto Marlies, Hamilton Bulldogs and Manitoba Moose.  The NHL franchise is currently being shopped to Kansas City, where it can open immediately this coming season.  The league has been approached by Las Vegas, but is reluctant to wait, even though the market is much more lucrative.  Balsille has already been informed as to the choices.  He will get an AHL team in Canada.  He knows an NHL team is not feasible in Canada under current financial situations.  Every team in Canada, except Toronto, is losing money.  Ottawa will end up in the black because of the playoffs.  They will just barely make money this year. 

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