I’ve got the answer for the Phoenix Coyotes, but the people of Phoenix are not going to like it. The team must be sold to an interested party who is hungry for ownership. Someone passionate about the game. That person is Jerry Bruckheimer.
No, I don’t know the man, but I know people who do, and he loves hockey. He’s not going to impress anyone with his abilities at playing, but the man is already a Godfather to the league and the sport. He does, and spends, a ton for hockey; organizing pro-am tournaments in Las Vegas, building hockey facilities in the mid-west, and fostering interest with celebrities and people in the community. He’s been rumored to be pursuing an expansion franchise in Las Vegas, as well.
So the solution appears simple. Allow Bruckheimer the opportunity to buy the Phoenix franchise, either individually or as the main partner in a consortium, and move them to Las Vegas. Bruckheimer has ungodly sums of money bulging his bank accounts, access to credit, and the leadership abilities to organize a consortium of hockey-minded, wealthy individuals to take over this failing franchise. Ideally, a Bruckheimer run consortium would benefit the NHL – an injection of passion and love for the game is long overdue. If his ownership would be based more on creating an environment where the team supports itself, I could imagine a new era for the NHL where ownership of an NHL franchise was more about caring for the long-term good of the league rather than profits and equity. The NHL needs owners that can create organizations that are self-sustaining. If the league isn’t going to be dominated by owners who are hungry to win, the best option for the future is sustainability.
Also, it would appear that Bruckheimer has a pretty strong case that Las Vegas would be a much better city in which to place the NHL. While I’m not familiar with all the reasons for Phoenix’ attendance struggles (and many NHL teams are struggling with sagging attendance figures), Las Vegas has the mass transportation and expedable income to envision plenty of bums in seats. Vegas would likely become the default “favorite” of franchise-less regions around North America. Who wouldn’t be attracted to the “Bad Boys?”
Which brings me to coming up with a name. I could see going completely off the board and coming up with something unexpected, but I’d think they’d go with something like: The Bad Boys, Aces, Millionaires, Gamblers, Outlaws, Cheifs, Wisenheimers.
What do you all think?