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Rochester Americans Will Not Re-Sign with Florida Panthers PDF Print E-mail
NHL News
Written by Matthew Coller   
Saturday, 30 October 2010 09:09

On Sept. 22, Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that he wanted “to develop a long-term relationship here in Rochester.” Tallon was referring to the relationship between the Panthers and AHL affiliate Rochester Americans. One month later, the Amerks are referring to the Panthers as soon-to-be history.

The Miami Herald reported that the Rochester Americans told the Panthers they will not extend their current agreement past this season. Americans' team president Lewis Staats said, “When we negotiated this agreement with Florida, it was agreed we would put a ‘re-negotiation date’ in it to ensure that both organizations had time to either investigate extending the terms of the agreement or provided sufficient time to explore other options.”

This move comes as no surprise, at least to us at Biz of Hockey. In May, we reported that the Americans could be perusing the New York Rangers for the 2011-12 season.
Staats continued in the Herald story:

"We will explore all the options that are available to us in terms of an NHL parent club going forward at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season when our existing agreement with Florida expires. We are continuing to build and improve the Amerks from a business perspective and will be very diligent in our search for an NHL partner who we believe will help us achieve our goals both on and off the ice.”
As we mentioned in May, the current partner for the New York Rangers, the Hartford Wolfpack, has been one of the lowest attended teams in the AHL. So, despite being owned by MSG, the Rangers could elect to put potential losses on the shoulders of the Americans and use the Wolfpack's arena to book concerts and events.

Hearld writer George Richards suggests the Panthers should move their minor leaguers to the Lake Erie Monsters.


Matthew Coller is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter

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NHL Ticket Prices on the Rise PDF Print E-mail
NHL News
Written by Matthew Coller   
Thursday, 28 October 2010 04:08

The New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets and Atlanta Thrashers have played a total of 16 home games thus far in the 2010-11 season, the four teams all average under 12, 600 fans or filling less than 72 percent of their arenas. On the flip side, the Chicago Blackhawks are among 11 teams averaging at or above 100 percent of their building each night; of 30 teams, 19 are drawing more than 90 percent. The league struggled early last season to draw, but saw second half recovery post-Olympics and Winter Classic. This combined with exciting Stanley Cup play which set high marks for TV ratings, many teams chose to raise ticket prices.

According to The Globe and Mail, prices rose 4.4 percent league wide to $54.25 per ticket. While 11 teams cut prices or kept them stagnant, teams like the Washington Capitals hiked prices 24 percent. The New York Islanders, one of the struggling teams, had the second highest bump at 19.7 percent while Stanley Cup champs Chicago Blackhawks had the third highest price raise at 18 percent.  Numbers come via Team Marketing Report.

Hockey fans weren't the only ones to pay more to catch a game; prices in the NFL are up 4.5 percent and MLB for 2010 were up 1.5 percent.

In conjunction with the ticket price rise, the average cost of taking a family of four is up 4.4 percent. The average Fan Cost Index, which is the cost to purchase four tickets, four hot dogs, park, buy two programs and two team hats, is $313.68 this season. The Blackhawks rose their FCI 20 percent to $350.58, which is $200 less than the league's highest FCI, the Toronto Maple Leafs who charge $572.32.

The Dallas Stars had the lowest price in the NHL at $29.68 and the league's lowest FCI $222.68, while Atlanta Thrashers lowered their prices 10 percent to $43.59.

You can see the data for the whole league, plus TMR Executive Editor Jon Greenberg’s analysis here.



Matthew Coller is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter

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Women's Hockey 'Will Be There' in 2014 Olympics PDF Print E-mail
Articles and Opinions
Written by Matthew Coller   
Monday, 25 October 2010 20:03

Nobody gets shortchanged more than female athletes.  Often they are either sexualized or ignored all together; sometimes so underappreciated that sometimes the IOC doesn't let them play, just ask women who ski jump.  So, incredibly talented female athletes are forced to look for small victories.  One of those was announced Monday as the IOC said it would allow women's hockey to remain an Olympic sport in the 2014 games, according to AOL Fanhouse. 

During the 2010 Vancouver Games, IOC president Jacques Rogge questioned whether women's hockey had any appeal outside North America.  But, despite finding that South America, Australia and Africa don't play much hockey,  Executive Director Gilbert Felli told reporters on a conference call on Monday that "the program commission had a review, but there were no questions (concerning) the sports that were in Vancouver," Felli said.

The United States and Canada, who met in the 2010 gold metal game, have dominated the sport since it was first brought into the Winter Games in 1998.  Both countries are making efforts to improve women's hockey throughout the world. 

"We are pleased to have confirmed women's hockey inclusion at the Sochi Olympics and look forward to a competition level that will continue to get better across all countries," USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer told reporters. "We're fully committed to helping women's hockey around the world."


Matthew Coller is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter

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Dallas Stars May Need Revenue Advance PDF Print E-mail
NHL News
Written by Matthew Coller   
Saturday, 23 October 2010 01:06

If the NHL were a regular old, tax-paying corporation, conservatives would be losing their minds.  First, the NHL takes over the Phoenix Coyotes and loses $25 million (which is to be paid back), now the league has given the Dallas Stars $8 million to keep the team afloat.

The Hockey News reported that the Stars have received $8 million in future television and revenue sharing money.  The team is being financed by a group of unofficial owners after Tom Hicks led Hicks Sports Group defaulted on a $525 million in debt.

THN wrote:

The lenders are prepared to extend the team a line of credit when the monies collected over the summer run out, which is expected to occur in December or January. To help avoid falling into further debt to the lenders, the Stars have asked the NHL for an advance on revenue they would receive after the season. That money would come in a line of credit.

If the team were sold before December, the advance would not be necessary. Sources say there are three buyers who have been approved by the NHL to bid on the Stars, not including Bill Gallacher, who has pulled out of his attempt but could get back at any time.

The THN report said that the NHL is aware of all transactions the Stars’ management makes, but will not limit the team’s spending.  And, though the league helped set the team’s budget, they will not “babysit” the Stars.

There have been plenty of rumors concerning bidders, but nothing has gone past that stage.  Considering how wacky the Coyotes’ situation has become, the NHL can only hope the Stars’ sale to goes much more smoothly.


Matthew Coller is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter

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NHL Has Much to Consider with Rypien-Fan Incident PDF Print E-mail
Articles and Opinions
Written by Matthew Coller   
Thursday, 21 October 2010 05:57

When you see the clip, you can't help but channel Al Michaels' “He did what?!?!” In the name of competition, you can slam someone into a plexiglass, bareknuckle box for awhile or even whack a guy in the leg with a stick and probably not face punishment. What you can't do is what Vancouver enforcer Rick Rypien did: physically assault a fan.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Rypien was suspended indefinitely pending investigation for grabbing a Minnesota fan Tuesday night in a 6-1 loss to the Wild. As you can see in the video, Rypien goes after the 28-year-old fan after being assessed a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. The NHL will hold a hearing, likely on Friday, to determine how long to keep Rypien out of play.

How long is the question the hockey community has been bouncing around for the last 24 hours or so since the incident. The problem for the NHL is precedent; it is difficult to compare this issue to the Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest jumping into the stands while guard Stephen Jackson threw punches on the court. Artest's actions caused an all-out mob scene, while Rypien's actions were isolated to one fan.

To say it wasn't as bad as the “Malice in the Palace” isn't to say it wasn't bad. Unlike the Pacers' problems, the Wild fan wasn't wild, he was simply clapping.

TheHockeyWriters.com laid out factors that head disciplinarian Colin Campbell will have to consider when suspending Rypien: 1) The fan didn't go after Rypien 2) The fan egged Rypien on after he'd just been in a physical altercation and 3) the league cannot tolerate fan-player altercations.

A few can be added to the list including the fact that Rypien doesn't have any type of record. If this was Sean Avery, he'd be on his couch for the rest of the season. Another factor is that the Canucks' general manager Mike Gillis said Rypien is a good teammate and good in the community. Rypien's management won't be able to eliminate a suspension, but it could help ensure he returns before 2011.

Clearly Rypien broke the rules, but Campbell can't react based on the outcry. The league has to make sure Rypien and other players know the fans are off limits, while keeping in mind no one was hurt and Rypien's reaction was one of human-nature and was not in any way planned or thought out.


Matthew Coller is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter

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City of Glendale Says Coyotes Have a Buyer PDF Print E-mail
NHL News
Written by Matthew Coller   
Saturday, 16 October 2010 01:21

 We’ve said this before, but…it appears the Phoenix Coyotes will have a new owner.  I’m sure by now the Glendale crying wolf bit is getting tiresome, but according to the Winnipeg Free Press, this could be the real deal.

A spokesperson for the City of Glendale told the Free Press that the city and the Hulsizer group, headed by Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer, have agreed in principle to a lease that would allow the group to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL.  The reported $165 million deal will still need to be approved by the NHL board of governors.

The NHL purchased the team out of bankruptcy for $140 million in the spring of 2009, then reportedly lost $30 million (the city agreed to pay the NHL back).  The city put $25 million in escrow while they waited for a new owner.

The city’s back is up against the wall with this deal.  The NHL told the City of Glendale they’d need to find a buyer by Dec. 31 or the league would relocate the franchise.

We’ve learned when it comes to the City of Glendale and the Coyotes, anything can happen.  During last year’s playoffs, Gary Bettman said on TV that he was happy to welcome Chicago sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf to the NHL arena as the new owner of the Coyotes.  That deal fell through, as did the Ice Edge Holdings group, who also dropped out after negotiations.

Details outside the price have not been released, but we can assume Hilsizer will pick up the NHL’s losses.


Matthew Coller is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter

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Sat., 3/26 - ESPN 910, Rochester (10:45am ET) - Maury Brown on Donald Fehr and the NHLPA, possible club relocation, more






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