Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reinsdorf Gets Stuck Owning the Coyotes

Wayne Gretsky (head coach) and the Phoenix Coyotes
(Photo Credit)

I have mixed feelings about Jerry Reinsdorf. I mean, he owns the Bulls and did a pretty good job with that there in the 90's. Certainly like that. But he also owns a team that I despise more than any other and quite frankly wish did not exist: The White Sox. They are probably the only team in all of sports I cannot envision a scenario in which I might consider rooting for them. The Cardinals would be a close second, but as I would root for the Cardinals in a Cards/Sox World Series they are not on the same plane of revilement.

As owner of the White Sox he's also made some pretty dumb decisions. The chief one being not to move the White Sox to Tampa, but shortly behind that would be his role in 1994 strike. He was perhaps the owners' chief cheerleader for not bowing to player's demands leading to the cancellation of the World Series that year (even though his White Sox were in first place when the strike began).

And now, he owns the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL. Although it seems more like he's been stuck with owning the Coyotes.

So is Chicago about to get a second hockey team? No, he's not planning on moving them out of Phoenix, even though the team has lost money every year since they moved there from Manitoba 13 years ago. 13 years ago. The Coyotes have in fact gone bankrupt and Reinsdorf somehow won the lottery to buy them out of Chapter 11, or rather lost the "who gets stuck owning the Coyotes instead of Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie" contest.

Jim Balsillie offered to buy the team for substantially more money (about $60 million more), but the NHL had two problems with that.

Number 1: he wanted to move the team to Hamilton Ontario. Why that's a problem, I'm not sure. The area is apparently crazy for hockey (something no one's ever said of Phoenix) and it's, you know, in Canada. The homeland of the sport. But for some reason, the owners don't want a 7th team in Canada and are determined to keep the Coyotes in the Arizona desert. You know, where the team has never turned a profit in 13 years.

Number 2: Jim Balsillie would be the owner. The NHL hates Jim Balsillie. Why? Largely because he's a cocky bastard. He tried to buy the Nashville Predators a few years back and move them to Hamilton, but before the deal was finalized, he started selling season tickets to people in Hamilton. The league didn't like that so much. Or maybe it's really not Jim that they hate, but that every time he tries to buy a team he wants to move them to Hamilton (he tried it with the Penguins too). Maybe it's just Hamilton they hate.

But in any case, Reinsdorf owns the Coyotes now. Whether he likes it or not. Can he turn them into a Stanley Cup Champion? He won championships with the Bulls and, I don't know, the White Sox might have had a good year in 2005, but I've blocked that whole October out of my memory. La La La, not listening.

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