Monday, December 08, 2008

A sinkhole in the desert?

The NHL’s major trouble spot this week is due Southwest, as reports out of Phoenix find the Coyotes as just the latest in migraines for Gary Bettman and the Bean counters of the NHL.

The Globe and Mail over the weekend outlined the woes of the dogs of the desert, with losses of somewhere between 25 and 35 million dollars, attendance troubles and a real estate development tied into the hockey arena that is suffering from the collapse of the Arizona economy.

Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes has troubles in his other interests as well, most noticeably a trucking company called Swift which financed under some 2.74 million dollars in debt financing. A financial plan which might have been a good idea back in the good old days of streaking stock markets, but in an era of economic convulsion suddenly appears to be more of an anchor to the owners ability to financially maneuver.

The Globe in their article of Saturday suggest that its his debt load from the trucking company that is putting the Coyotes at risk, perhaps to the point of being turned over to the league.

It’s but one more file in the inbox that makes a wee bit of a mockery of Mr. Bettman’s grand pronouncement of the “league is strong as recent as two months ago.

Mr. Bettman is to meet with the board of Governors this week to discuss some of these pressing issues, normally the Board of Governors meetings are rather casual affairs, given to invitations to the NHLPA as a guest observer of the Kumbaya songs of the thirty members.

Perhaps tellingly, Paul Kelly, the NHLPA’s head hasn’t been invited along this time, a possible sign that the troubled state of affairs isn’t something the league is ready to share with it’s players just yet, at least until the time for concessions comes around again we guess.

With red ink flowing in some locations and a tumbling Canadian dollar threatening to turn back the clock as far as the six Canadian franchises go, his most recent reassurance to his ownership board that all is well might be a tough sale this time around .

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