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10-13-2012, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by fanofdo View Post
This article is more what the owners want to say than anything else. I would have liked to see some of the ‘facts’ challenged.

First off, while I believe most of what was said, there is more to the story than was reported by the owners. They have not divulged their entire financial operations of their business – even if they are losing money recently, the value of the franchise is increasing and in fact the value of the franchise is the real prize.

Another thing I would really like to challenge is the moving of a franchise to the US – over the past several years it is hard to argue that there hasn’t been a franchise looking for a home out of the Metro Toronto area. So much so, the OHL allowed (asked maybe?) one owner to basically own two teams. Maybe now the Steelheads have a home, but that franchise was available to anyone that wanted it with the proper venue to house it in. The fact is that there have been offers – I have no doubt about that. If I am not mistaken you need OHL approval to move a franchise, it is NOT the decision of the owner. They can refuse to sell to someone that WANTS to move the franchise, but I do believe the ultimate decision is that of the OHL. I have a very hard time believing that the OHL would approve such a move due to the quality of the facility, proximity to other teams and the very good support despite very poor performance.

The real issue here is why is the franchise ‘in trouble’? It is because it is poorly run. PERIOD. Seriously, the parking lot issue typifies their incompetence – on and off the ice. You might argue they have had some bad luck, but their off ice performance has NOTHING to do with bad luck and over 15 plus years, there isn’t a team in the OHL that hasn’t had bad luck at one point or another. Would the Observer print a similar article for a restaurant that wasn’t being supported?

While some might have sympathy, the fact that they don’t admit or realize they have done a poor job is the very reason it won’t improve.
The "Steelheads" might have been available, but this was a last year thing. Yes, Melnyk was "allowed" to own two teams, but the purpose was to get the Majors into the Hershey Centre, and as a result move the IceDogs out. The final "hope" was that hosting the Memorial Cup would be the catalyst to boost attendance numbers and put the team over the top. When that failed to materialize last year, the team was finally put up for sale.

Unfortunately, so many fail to grasp the lease situation at the Hershey Centre. If it was so "easy" to move the team, it would have happened by now. One year wonder, Nick Ricci, hoped to buy and move the team to NF, but we all know how that worked out. Unless someone with serious dough, wants to throw a good chunk of money at the City of Mississauga, that team goes no where. Buying out what's left of the lease will cost serious money and unless an owner thinks they can re-coup that money fast in a new market, its not happening.

Also, there is, supposedly, a clause in the lease that there will be OHL equivalent or better hockey at Hershey for the duration of the lease, so unless another tenant is found (AHL, etc.) that causes an issue as well. The reason Melnyk was able to move out the IceDogs was because he was moving in the Majors to assume the lease. There were rumours last season that the last year of Brampton's lease would be paid out and the Battalion would move into Hershey, with the Majors being sold and moved to another market. That did not happen, but already this season, there are rumours swirling that Kerr and the new group have only committed to three years and then can move the club if things don't improve drastically. We all know from history, the attendance issue isn't going to improve, but by waiting three more years, the pay-out on the lease will at least be tolerable.

The bottom line is that Kerr will lose less money leaving the team where it is for three years and then paying it out, then he will paying out the lease now (for 6 more years). And...if it was that easy to move that team, it clearly would have happened by now.

This maybe isn't the right part of the forum for this, but it comes up so, so often, and others don't seem to understand the implications of that lease and how much leverage the City of Mississauga has in this whole situation.

I will end by saying that I do not know this information definitively, but I have been "around" long enough and been part of enough conversations over the years, to know that this pretty much sums up the situation.

Last edited by mcreferee: 10-13-2012 at 10:35 PM.
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