A few days ago I picked up the book "A Hundred Years of Glory" from the library. It's about the Canadiens (duh) and it goes through their history. Of the many interesting bits in the book, one that caught my interest was the creation of the NHL. I'm sure I had heard about it before, but this was really the first time that I was paying attention. Basically, Eddie Livingstone, who owned a team in Toronto, got into a dispute with the four other teams in the NHA. Instead of suspending Livingstone from their league, the other owners created a new league - the NHL - and excluded Livingstone.
After reading the latest in this whole Phoenix soap opera - in which the BOG voted 26-0 against Balsillie owning a NHL team with the Bruins and Wild stating that they don't want Basillie to own a team because they don't think he is trustworthy - I have to ask: Why can't we just create our own league and leave out Bettman and all these teams that are failing epically because they're in places where the majority of people dont' care? Why do we have to put up with this crap from Bettman and co?
Bettman seems to be trying to create a hockey version of the MLB and the NBA. The only problem is, it's not working very well because well, hockey isn't particularly big in places like Phoenix. The situation with these teams - which isn't limited to Phoenix, but is definitely highlighted by this franchise - is getting ridiculous at this point. There is no reason why teams who are doing well financially (particularly those here in Canada) should be trying to pay life support for floundering teams in the desert or on the beach. And there is no reason why they should even be in that market when someone is offering to spend a lot of money to move them to a city in which people might actually want to go watch them (shocker, I know).
A report in 2008 has the six Canadian teams generating a third of the league's ticket revenue. Another report from the year before, had the Leafs paying up between 9 and 10 million to the league's revenue sharing fund (which is apparently the most of the Canadian teams). So Canadian teams pay to keep the Phoenix and Atlantas teams alive and what do we get for it? We get to watch our money go down the drain as these teams lose millions of a year. We get to watch as the players that we spend years developing get to play for these crappy teams who wind up dead last. And we get to hear people tell us that it's not financially feasible to have teams in Canada.
If Canada can have it's own (American/Canadian) football league then I think Canada can definitely support it's own hockey league. Sure, it'd be be smaller. Sorta. We could add teams in Winnepeg, Hamilton and Quebec City among other places and once Gary's Sunbelt League fails, then we'd just absorb the not faily teams. We'd probably have way less money to spend on players (which is fine. Who getting paid 10 million dollars a year makes you a better player?). But we'd have people who cared. We would have people filling the buildings. And in this perfect hypothetical scenerio, we wouldn't have another version of Gary Bettman.
Look, I get that there's a lot of logistics into forming a seperate league but it's something to ask least talk about for the heck of it. I'm just getting seriously fed up of Bettman and his stupid ideas. And if the BOG wasn't stuck inside Bettman's pocket, then I'd say they should stand up to him as well.
Edit: Here's a lovely rant by number31 on the same topic. And Preds on the Glass has an interesting "nightmare" scenerio for Bettman.