Breaking News: Wild sold to Craig Leipold...
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01-12-2008, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Originally Posted by
This is an interesting turn of events. However, I don't consider Leipold to be a so called "scummbag", and I think he's getting an undue amount of criticism.
Liepold brought hockey to Nashville, and he really saved hockey in Nashville by going the way out of the way to sell to local owners.
Also, all this blam of lack of attendance on him is a little overdone. We've gone 10 years wihtout winning a playoff round and gone through a lockout. What do you expect???
I still have a lot of repsect for him.
While I'm not completely bashing Leipold and calling him a *******, I'm going to disagree with you on a few points here.
Leipold did not go out of his way to sell to the locals. The only reason he didn't sell to Balsillie was because Balsillie never went forward with the deal. If you remember, around the draft, TSN reported that Leipold was no longer considering Balsillie's bid. However, Leipold quickly released a statement saying that he did inform the NHL that the talks have stalled, he was willing to go forward with the deal with Balsillie. This is after Balsillie's implementation of the ticket selling in Hamilton. As we know, Balsillie would not move forward with the deal without approval of relocation. Unfortunately for him, the NHL's rules do not allow for them to approve a relocation before an approval of sale.
I do thank him for closing the deal with the locals, but I hardly believe that that was his initial goal. The locals quickly stepped up after Balsillie would not move forward with the deal. The fact that Leipold said he was open to moving forward with Balsillie after the Hamilton ticket selling is pretty telling.
He also made the team as attractive as possible for relocation, with the gutting of name players, the hike in ticket prices, enacting the out-clause, etc. Of course he did this in his best interest, so that he could sell to someone who would move the franchise. If he really cared about Nashville, he wouldn't have done the above. Am I saying what he should have done in this situation? No. I know why he did it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
I do thank Craig for what he has done here, even if things could have done better. He marketed the team early on and did great with local businesses, who had no problem stepping up. And this was with a terrible team. As the team slowly got better, Craig used less (way less actually) marketing and expected the team to sell itself. Meanwhile, he did something to upset local businesses and lost a ton of corporate support.
Yet despite this, he always found someone else to blame. He and Violetta did nothing but point the finger and call others out. He could not adapt and make things work here. And that is his fault, as the owner of the franchise.
And lets face it, he payed very little for the initial franchise. He got tons of breaks in town from our government. Yet he continually wanted more. And his cries of $70 million in losses will be alot lower if we consider what Powers Management brought in, since that is a separate entity then the Predators. I'm willing to bet he lost money here, but I just think that it isn't as high as he stated.
I think Craig could have done alot of things better here. Obviously, marketing was not a strong point. Obviously, he lost corporate support and failed to get it back. He took a slow approach for building a franchise, aiming to build a stronger team later in the franchise's life instead of pushing for a winner early on. If he wasn't going to back this up with marketing and other aspects, as well as not have the patience for lasting longer then 9 seasons, why did he go with this approach for building a franchise like this? You could consider that a mistake on his part imo. If he wanted to build slowly, then you have to have the patience and be willing to spend in other areas.
Anyway, I could go on about things I think he could have done better, but that should be moot now. While I don't consider him the saint that many paint him, I also don't think he's the lowest of the low. Its probably more in the middle. That being said, his operations around the selling of the franchise, while likely in his best interest, leave a sour taste in my mouth. Lets not forget that he initially lied to the public, claiming that he wanted to sell 40% to local owners. According to Ed Lang, he wanted to get out way before that. Why did he wait until January? And why was he already talking with Balsillie? He was going to get a huge payout one way or the other, whether it be Balsillie, Boots, or the local group, yet he still slashed the payroll, raised ticket prices, and enacted the out-clause. Couldn't those have been decisions that new management could make?
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