The Globe & Mail is really kicking Operation: Re-Relocate the Phoenix Coyotes to Canada (O:RRPCC) into high gear. After writing last week about a doomsday scenario in which the team's charter could be revoked by the NHL, the Coyotes are today mentioned as relocation bait if a second franchise in the Greater Toronto Area becomes a reality.
The Globe reports today that the NHL has taken a meeting with businessmen seeking to build an arena for a franchise "on land north of Pearson International Airport that's owned by businessman Victor De Zen." More importantly, they reportedly have market research that finds no great financial hardship would befall either the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Buffalo Sabres should the NHL come to Vaughan.
Again, the Coyotes are brought into the conversation as a team teetering on the brink of ruin. But as David Shoalts points out, the timing of Phoenix's fall and a Toronto team's rise doesn't exactly sync up:
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One source at the NHL governors level said "there is something happening in Phoenix," but did not know specifics. League commissioner Gary Bettman did receive permission from the NHL governors recently to increase the league's line of credit to $190-million, in part to subsidize the Coyotes for at least one more season.
In Toronto, the group was told by Mr. Daly that the NHL is "not currently considering expansion nor do we have any intention or desire to relocate an existing franchise," according to a source. However, the group is taking a long-term view, according to sources with knowledge of its plans. At least two years - more likely three to five - would be needed to build an arena and settle territorial-rights fees for the Leafs and perhaps the Sabres.
As we've said before: a second Toronto team is a no-brainer. Instant success, instant rivalries and a market that sure as hell can support another franchise (and hey, maybe even one with affordable tickets!). Mirtle doesn't believe "a second NHL club in this city would do much for American hockey fans," but that's not entirely true. There's just a difference between Toronto and Montreal and, say, Calgary and Ottawa for American fans. Maybe it has something to do with baseball. Or geography. Or the legendary gentlemen's clubs.
Besides, if the Coyotes move to Toronto, you know what American puckheads get? The awesomeness of R-E-A-L-I-G-N-M-E-N-T. Gotta have both TO teams in the same division, right? So who gets kicked over to the West? The Atlanta Thrashers, in that old NFC West tradition?
Or, as we're argued before, do you relocate and expand at the same time to balance things out? Obama'll have this economic mess sussed out in five years, right? Bring on KC, Vegas and the Toronto ... uh, what would you name them anyway?