A Phoenix Must Burn In Order To Be Reborn

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?



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12 responses to “A Phoenix Must Burn In Order To Be Reborn

  1. hockeyhockeyhockey

    This article explains just how bad things are in Phoenix. http://www.globesports.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090109.wsptcoyotes8/GSStory/GlobeSports/home

    Contraction of Phoenix and some other struggling franchises would be a much better solution.

    Given the amount of debt and expected losses, I doubt that someone would want to purchase the Coyotes.

    The lease agreement in Phoenix is such that it would be almost impossible to move the franchise unless it goes into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

    The “sunbelt” hockey expansion experiment has been an abysmal failure. Don’t place franchises in any more non-hockey markets; it’s doomed to fail.

  2. worldhockeydaily


    I just read your comment, so I’ve yet to get to the article, but what’s keeping CH-11 at bay if the losses are bad enough?
    I think that the NHL doesn’t want any bankruptcy cases because it would show that it’s “franchises” are not worth what they’re trying to show they’re worth. You can’t borrow against equity if you don’t have it, nor can you justify the silly salaries NHL players are making. There’s no justification for any hockey player to be making over 4 million in a capped league. The NHL just does NOT generate the funds to justify it.

  3. hockeyhockeyhockey

    what’s keeping chapter 11 at bay?
    reasons include
    – rumour NHL office has forwarded some of the revenue sharing to Phoenix already (NHL office will neither confirm nor deny this)
    – rumour NHL office will prop this franchise up until end of Phoenix’ last game. This is also rumoured to be infuriating most of the league govenors, some of whom want the team folded right now and for the league to stop throwing their money into the black hole that is the Phoenix Coyotes.
    – Bettman’s arrogance that no team will fold during a season on his watch

    When I say “rumoured” I mean league govenors talking off-the-record, thorough investigations that the NHL won’t confirm etc.

    I would suggest Phoenix will fold after their last game this season.

    You might have missed the point of my original post which was how ill-conceived your idea of moving the Coyote’s to Las Vegas truly is.

  4. Deep Oil

    Jerry Bruckheimer is a myth – why would he do the following:

    1) Buy a team that cannot be moved under the current arrangement – bankruptcy is not an issue as the team has no assets.

    2) Buy an expansion team – Bettmand claimed to the Governors that he would receive over $350mm for the las vegas deal – no arena deal – NHLV is not an option – so this is a pipe dream. If a casino gets involved the continued bleeding coud be tolerated.

    3) Why buy into a sinking ship – this is more than a fire sale – success in CSI and other ventures on television – formula is stay in television and keep playing shiny with Alan Thicke.

    Four teams in trouble….. minimum.

    1) PHX – 3 rd owner – Gretzky sucking 3 – 4 mm per year – no investment at all in the team. WG hired everyone from his former bartender / business manager – agent Mike Barnett, (Barney), his brother (scout), Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, and many more …. you get the drift…. Glen Sather had mystery people on the payroll in Edmonton with Pocklingtons blessing. Glendale Arena is really a ghosttown – free parking as the Coyotes have free rent – this should of been placed in Scottsdale where all the Canadians live – but how many show up until after Christmas anyway – low season ticket base – if you devalue your ticket – people want that price and are willing to wait – catch 22 if you offerr two for one and free booze – buffet.

    2) Tampa – owners think they have cash and are just fantasy draft owners – khoules has cash flow – Barrie still owes money to NHL players for Bear Mountain – not cash flow positive. Palace sports is assisting this shortfall and Sal G from NY is providing another 30 mm in alternative financing.

    3) Nashville – Basillie offers $238mm turned down – blocked by Bettman due to favors to Kansas City / AEG – Boots buys for $161mm then declares bankruptcy and is going to jail – Nashville is gone within 18 – 24 months – relocated somewhere – maybe Kansas City for AEG Philip Anschultz ala
    Bettman favor – (Anschultz) manages the lease on the rink for KS. Anshultz lent Boots 7mm without Bettman knowing it…. and Preds owner Leopold lent Boots $10 mm for vendor takeback financing.

    4) Atlanta – demographic landscape does not understand hockey – crowds are just as bad here as in PHX – club can moved as it has ties to the building and basketball group.

    5) Florida Panthers – $20 ticket – with free parking, $15 gas card and free pop and nachos – problem the NHL forgot about Florida is that it is all seniors in SUNRISE Florida – this is not MIAMI as most people think…. this is the home of the 5PM earlybird and coupon heaven.

    6) Anaheim ducks – Frank Samueli plea bargain to pay 10 million instead of going to jail rejected by the judge – FS resigns as governor of the Ducks – this is troubling as it adds another team in peril from finding another owner in a SOFT market – his wife is known as a social contributor and could possibly hold the team in her name as he serves time in jail.

    7) Hamilton – with the economy changing and RIM down 75% – Jim B will end up buying a team on his terms – not Gary’s – the price now will be south of $180mm – possibly in a distress sale – maybe $125mm – problem with everyone except Basillie is that they need financing and the banks are tight or bankrupt.

    8) George Gillette is bleeding profusely and is using the Canadiens as a life line – he is into ski resorts and hotels – yikes – has already gone bankrupt once and needs to sell his soccer team. Problem is that no one can get financing and he is holding a boat anchor right now with Liverpool – no one can afford the 350 million pounds.

    9) Columbus – team has never made the playoffs – fans are at the point that this is the year to fish or cut bait. Team had trouble at $27 million with payroll – now a $40 million payroll floor is a slap in the face.

    10) NYI – Charles Wang needs a new building and a winning team – Islanders are just a land deal that is like a bad movie – never ends – CW has the coing to keep losing cash – but the city of Long Island has to decide if it wants to approve the development plans to assist in all revenue streams – basically a Glendale east with hockey fans that will buy tickets.

    11) Canadian Teams should be reaping profits – but instead are sending all the money to the USA for support – Bettman will be quick to point out that the Canadian teams received league money in the past and its just a turnaround for financial stability.

    WOW – I could keep writing – but I am hoping that Gary Bettman was fired during this time………


  5. worldhockeydaily

    D.O. – Wow, what a breakdown. I think you’re correct that there is SOOO much disfunction in the league.
    I would agree that contraction is appealing to me, I just think that Bruckheimer buying a bankrupt team in Phoenix to move it to LV is the most “acceptable” to the league and Bettman. Until he’s gone, they seem like they’ll never “do what is right.”
    I don’t know Brucky, but I know people who skate with him and his friends, and the rumor is that Vegas is going to happen. It may not be in the NHL’s best interest, but when has that stopped them. I think we give them too much credit when we think that they’ll do the “smart thing.” After all, the board of governors is the owners, and they are obviously a group of business guys, not Sports guys.
    I have no clue if the research has been done, but I think LV is the one desert region that actually may be able to adequately support a hockey club. Plus, if Bruckheimer formed a ‘conglomerate’ there would be a much larger base from which to finance the club’s operations. I would think the goal of every team should be to balance a budget and create a business that is able to support itself. I still think that salaries are way too high in hockey and that the salary cap misses the point entirely. Someone made a great point somewhere that the NHL Salary Cap minimum is way too high and has actually forced teams at the bottom to raise their payroll. I have no evidence to support this but it sounds like a reasonable assessment of what is going on.
    Most importantly in the Bruckheimer case, however, is the fact that the guy (and his friends) love the game and are more interested in doing what’s right for Hockey rather than what is profitable. Hicks and Gillette, as evidenced by their Liverpool interest, only care about profits and business. I would love to get rid of the “profit-oriented” owners. They really help bring down the game. I also think that the NHL and its “franchise” system is the biggest fucking joke I’ve ever heard of. Not only does it compromise the competitive aspects of a sporting league, it takes away the individuality and freedom a club owner should have. Think back to the controversey surrounding the Rangers and their desire to control their own website. The NHL forces their “franchises” to be too homogenized and there’s little character left in the game.

    I have to ask if either of you (hhh&deepoil) are familiar with promotion and relegation systems in sports? I would love to see Canada make a move to creating a Canadian Hockey Association in which all professional teams operate. With a stratified league (premiere league, 2nd division, 3rd division, etc…) there would be a revolutionized Hockey Association (CHA) that could oversee the leagues to the benefit of hockey, rather than to the benefit of the top league. The revenues from the top league could help support all other leagues through bonuses for promotion. Clubs would also remain more autonomous allowing for local advertising and more creative fund-raising solutions – i.e. jersey advertising/merchandise they license/off-season tours, etc….
    What I basically advocate is undermining the messed up NHL. Or, wall-street-style aggressive takeover. I don’t know what it will take to finally end all this madness. And, the Phoenix mess highlights just how inept and misguided the NHL’s leadership group really is.
    I have to say that I would hope that Canada can somehow find the solution because unfortunately there just isn’t enough interest in the United States. Canada’s hockey elders are guilty of standing by as their game is destroyed by american lawyers. Why is that? Are they really so disinterested? Is it because they don’t have the insights to sense what is wrong nor adequate ideas about how to go forward?


  6. worldhockeydaily

    “You might have missed the point of my original post which was how ill-conceived your idea of moving the Coyote’s to Las Vegas truly is.”

    hhh, I think I had missed that point, but I think LV is one place that hockey may actually work. Vegas has expanded so much in the past 10 years and has great internal trasnsportation. Not to mention, the ‘visiting’ fan base for hockey may exist as well. I would think that a ‘responsible’ interested party would research the situation before they actually made the move – but then I realize the American govt. went into Iraq with little knowledge, apparently, of what the outcome would be.
    Anyway, the rumors are there, and I at least believe that an NHL team would do better in LV than in Phoenix. Plus, there are already rumors that an expansion team will be granted – how would that work?
    As far as the NHL ‘propping-up’ the Phoenix franchise, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. They’re desperate to find an out and not look like the failing, awful businesses they are. Unfortunately, there is little understanding amongst the BOG and front office about what makes sports compelling to the fans. AEG displays a horrid ignorance of this in it’s MLS experiment which is also operating on negative cash flow. It’s got a billionaire (Kings owner Philip Anschutz) to prop it up, however. The difference, however, is that the MLS may actually be breaking close to even due to an embarrassingly low Salary-Cap. At some point it’s almost like some of the players are volunteers as there are reports that certain players have actually retired because they don’t earn enough to actually “live” in the cities in which they play.
    Sadly, hockey is really getting the treatment by the board of governors and the front office. I don’t know who ever trusted them to do what’s right. Obviously they haven’t a clue.

  7. hockeyhockeyhockey

    Please stop with the Las Vegas talk. Your saying Las Vegas would do better than Phoenix is not saying much, since Phoenix has loans for over 80 million dollars, is expected to lose over 30 million, again!, and according to Forbes is the least valuable NHL franchise at 142 million (October 2008 – but I am sure it’s dropped since then)

    NHL hockey is not going to Las Vegas
    1. Expansion is not happening in the near future – with at least 6 teams in trouble as identified by deep oil (most of whom are sun-belt teams) contraction is much more likely
    2. there is no fan base in Las Vegas (familiar theme with the sun-belt teams)
    3. tourists are not going to bother to go watch a hockey game when they are in Las Vegas, too many other attractions (again, thinking that snowbirds would go and support hockey in other sunbelt areas failed miserably)
    Secondly, there are fewer tourists overall in Las Vegas. For example Las Vegas visitation fell 10.2% in October 2008 (Las Vegas Review Journal)

    4. economy – yes, Las Vegas had experienced growth, based on easy mortgage money. The price appreciation of the housing market was not sustainable and now Nevada has the highest rate for foreclosures (1 in 76 household in some stage of foreclosure 6 times the national average http://www.bloomberg.com)
    jobless rate highest in 24 years (8% in Nov 2008 and expected 10% in 2009 http://www.lasvegassun.com) Residents, even if they were interested in hockey (which I doubt) can’t afford to go

  8. cristobal


    Its not like I have a say in the matter.
    I’m just going with what I think the NHL has shown it will do – continue to go in the wrong direction.
    Besides, the rumors are out there.
    But, they’re talking expansion, not contraction.
    You’ve got to remember that Bettman and the owners are calling the shots, and until they’re gone, they’ll continue to do the wrong things because for them it’s about the bottom line – profits and market-value.
    What makes you think what they do will make sense?
    I see another team in the desert before I see a team in Hamilton or Toronto or Winnipeg or wherever.
    There’s no doubt that Canada is the most hockey-mad country on the planet. I think Canada should start to implement a promotion and relegation system within Canadian hockey, and by default create a Premiere league that, over time, will challenge the NHL in the way the WHA challenged the NHL in the 70’s.
    Canada has the market interest to support a more affordable and more sporting league.
    You just need to do your homework and get organized.
    I can’t do a thing from my powerless position in California.

  9. hockeyhockeyhockey

    Rather than just “going with what I think the NHL has shown it will do” in your original post you certainly were proclaiming “I’ve [not the NHL] got the answer for the Phoenix Coyotes..”
    and then you proposed “I think LV is one place where hockey may actually work”. It certainly sounded like you thought moving Phoenix to LV was a good idea. An idea I don’t share.

    Secondly, you have repeatedly suggested that you think promotion/relegation is a good idea for the NHL, but do you have any facts to back up your suggestion.

    From my limited knowledge of promotion/relegation I don’t think it would be more affordable, and I think it would benefit only a few teams:
    1. there isn’t a salary cap
    2. no draft – bottom feeders wouldn’t have a chance to get talented players
    3. teams that are relegated often face economic difficulties
    4. teams that are promoted often spend less, because they have no chance of winning, than when they were in a lower level league
    5. competitive balance – some mid-level teams would never have a realistic chance of winning For example, English Premier since 1992 of the 42 possible teams that could have won it, there have been four. Man U (10 times), Chelsea (2), Arsenal (2) and Blackburn (1).

    I’m not sure the North American mentality of wanting to see only the best would make the promotion/relegation model work because I don’t see the lower tiered teams being supported. (AHL League average attendance is 4, 665)

  10. cristobal


    I see what you mean about my saying that Phoenix would do better in LV. I believe they would, although I admit my “opinion” could be way off because I’ve really not done much research.
    To combine the two arguments here (Vegas AND P/R) is a good idea.
    Vegas, I believe, would be more successful than Phoenix for the simple reason that TICKETS would be continuously sold-out because there are SO many casino’s and big money corporations RIGHT THERE. I’m sure there would always be sections held for box-office buyers, but don’t you think that Corporate boxes and corporate seats would be bought by the casinos and businesses EVERY year?

    Promotion and Relegation:

    1. Salary Cap – This is only good for “franchise” systems, at best. In p/r systems, teams can “sell” players and make profits. Our current salary cap system ALSO incorporates a “minimum” which is a burden to some teams. In all, I was against the Cap before, and continue to be against it.
    2. No draft – I like this system. Teams have to support youth development by getting involved and helping players mature within the program. In a sense, Juniors develops players but doesn’t reap the rewards of selling them on. Lacking a draft, in my opinion, creates more competition for talent and reflects what a “sporting” league should be like. Also, no draft DOESN’T reward poor management with the “right” to choose from the best players first.
    3. Economic difficulties are a hallmark of the current NHL. They are why we’re discussing this. Economic difficulties arise when teams are poorly managed, and if you’re relegated, your need to retain high-priced talent diminishes because you’re not playing “elite” competition anymore. There are teams that go bankrupt in English Football, but it’s usually because of their poor management and decision making. You bring up the Top 4, but Leeds United was once a top English team, just a few years ago, but they managed their money and talent so poorly they “busted” when results started going against them. Ironically, they were “borrowing” against money they hadn’t been paid yet, just as Phoenix is doing.
    4. Spending less when promoted – Some owners DO NOT spend the money they earn when promoted, but in the EPL promoted teams are rewarded with a share of the broadcast revenues, which are huge. I think they get something around 70 million dollars, currently. They also receive payments after being relegated from the Preimiership. My knowledge here is a bit small, but the financial REWARDS of promotion are huge.
    Usually, promoted teams pick up players from around the world, and from teams going down. Its rare to sit tight on a promoted side.
    5. Mid level teams always have an opportunity to win. Everyone does. Hull City was in the 4th division only 5 years ago and this season they’ve actually won at Arsenal. Currently, Aston Villa is above Arsenal and in 4th place. Also, the premiere league has only been around for about 15 years. Liverpool, have they won a title? But prior to the 1st division becoming the Premiere league, many, many teams have won the league. Also, there are the Cup competitions. Last year won by Portsmouth. A couple years ago by Middlesbrough. There is much more to win than just the Premiere league title. I think more trophies is a good thing. I also think that dynasties are good for sports. Its the reason Man Utd. and Liverpool are WORLD famous. People like a winner and they want to get on board.

    Finally, I think that P/R would create TONS of interest for lesser teams. Imagine the frenzy every year when 3 teams from the 2nd division win the division and get promoted. Imagine following a team from your smaller cities and actually feeling you had a shot to win the Stanley Cup. Also, relegation battles are sometimes more intense and epic than the games for the title. Teams are SO desperate to win they leave everything they have on the field. 2 years ago, Wigan and Sheffield played on the final day of the season and it was one of the matches of the year (both were in the 3rd relegation spot and Wigan won out – staying in the Premiere league.
    I envision a stratified league system whereby anyone can start up a team if they want to invest. I think it would spread hockey like wild-fire. I’d actually rather watch a local team compete for the top of their league than spend hundreds going to an NHL game. But under the current system, what’s the point of winning the lesser leagues?

    Tell me what you think so far and I’ll continue with this. I love to imagine it actually happening.
    And, remember that Football is the most marketable sport on the planet.
    I think even Baseball and Basketball would be much better with P/R systems.
    Everyone has hope, every year, for better things to come….

  11. LJ

    Bring the starvin yotes back to Winnipeg, Return the Jets!!! Winnipeg Jets:1996-2009 The Dead Era.

  12. LJ

    Returning the Yotes to Manitoba would be the smartest thing the NHL would do.

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