Friday, April 30, 2004

Hamilton trolls for a franchise

Hamilton City council is doing its part to try and attract an NHL franchise for the Steel city. Council today approved a plan that will turn the Copps Coliseum over to a company called HHC should they negotiate a transfer of an existing franchise the plan is for HHC to take over the rink and provide Hamilton City Council with two million dollars in annual rent. The company would also be on the hook for refurbishing the rink to be more compatible with the other rinks in the league, the main missing ingredient is luxury boxes, Copps presently only has 11 boxes, and the plan is to add another 100 in hopes of attracting those fans who wish to watch their hockey in luxury.

It’s not known which franchise the folks a HHC may be trying to lure north, but there is no shortage of troubled franchise in the southern USA. Not much is known about HHC; they keep a rather low profile and haven’t disclosed any of their plans, nor the partners and financiers of the grand idea.

While the dreamers of dreams and schemers of schemes finish off their approach, both Toronto and Buffalo sit back and wonder at what time should they put up their hands and say excuse us. The Leafs and Sabres both would be in line to receive sine sizeable money for territorial infringement. Something HHC says the have made allowances for, all that is left is for a team to come North, How about the Hamilton Hurricanes, Hamilton Mighty Ducks or Hamilton Panthers.

HHC should hold onto their wallets just a little bit longer, depending on how the bargaining sessions between the players and owners go, there could be an overflow of possibilities all at bargain basement prices. Or better yet, teams could be bought out of bankruptcy protection and moved after that. With the league suggesting that most of their franchises are struggling at one time or another, the Hamilton hockey fan could end up with the pick of the litter. The folks in Winnipeg and Quebec City will be watching things closely as well. If the league melts down during labour strife, franchises across Canada could rise from the ashes. It could be that one of the few positive possibilities for the fan, from what is shaping up to be a very dark period for the NHL.

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