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Breaking News: Wild sold to Craig Leipold...

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01-10-2008, 11:38 AM
  #1
PredDave
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Breaking News: Wild sold to Craig Leipold...

http://kstp.com/article/stories/S308983.shtml?cat=1

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The parent company of the Minnesota Wild will announce this afternoon that the team is being sold, a source close to the situation tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

A news conference has been scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center. You can watch that news conference live on KSTP.com starting at 12:30 p.m.

Majority owner, Bob Naegele Jr., has owned the wild franchise since it's inception. But it's never been a secret that Naegele was willing to turn over the team to the right guy.


5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has confirmed with two sources that the guy is Craig Leipold, former owner of the Nashville Predators.


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01-10-2008, 11:48 AM
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Hopefully he doesn't screw them up too, although I'm sure that is hard to do...

Sit back and let the cash flow in...

The real question is, does he try to bring Poile up there with him eventually?

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01-10-2008, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
Hopefully he doesn't screw them up too, although I'm sure that is hard to do...

Sit back and let the cash flow in...

The real question is, does he try to bring Poile up there with him eventually?
Maybe old boy Craig will try to pry away Poile, Trotz, & crew in exchange for Risebrough, Lemaire, & crew?

It will be interesting to see what kind of back peddling comes out of his mouth regarding his "die hard Predator fan 'til the day he dies" mantra. Oh well, best of luck to the most fickle owner in sports!

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01-10-2008, 01:04 PM
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I'm sure this will cause the media to spin this to bash Nashville further...

It will be interesting to see how Leipold is as an owner of a franchise that will likely be signing the Revenue sharing checks instead of receiving them...

Its also funny how he was bashed by Canadian authors and other people in the media and by hockey fans as an owner of the Nashville franchise, but then he was this great owner when he was selling the Predators. As if he somehow did everything under the sun to make it work and Nashville simply sucks.

I wonder which direction they will go now.

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01-10-2008, 01:20 PM
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His comments in relation to the Predators over the next few months may be very revealing....

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01-10-2008, 01:31 PM
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My take on this is at least he brought hockey to Nashville. Best of luck to him and now let the new owners of the Preds focus on getting corporate support. A mostly invisible owner who does not understand the fickle South trying to get corporate sponsors......didn't work. Local owners have NO excuses.

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01-10-2008, 04:16 PM
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Whats he going to do with his tickets in section 303?

I have mixed feelings. He brought hockey to Nashville. In the last years he did put a good team on the ice. He did alot of things wrong, and he gutted our team before he left and hurt our chances this year.

Oh well good luck to him I guess hopefully he wont do that to the Wild fans

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01-11-2008, 09:47 AM
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He paid a whopping 260 mil for his share of the Wild

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01-11-2008, 11:55 AM
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he was getting torn apart on the wake-up zone this morning.

Frank Wychek in particular was steamed with the way he handled things, mostly the "dismantling" of the team, with regard to the fact that he knew he'd soon be in control of another team in the same conference.

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01-11-2008, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomorekids View Post
he was getting torn apart on the wake-up zone this morning.

Frank Wychek in particular was steamed with the way he handled things, mostly the "dismantling" of the team, with regard to the fact that he knew he'd soon be in control of another team in the same conference.
This actually concerns me somewhat. I know the NHL, and all sports leagues for that matter, let their owners run around unchecked, but I think a significant conflict of interest exists.

One of the primary expectations from the fanbase is that the owner will act in the best interests of the team so long as that act is reasonable. It's hard to argue that Leipold was really in a position to act in the best in the best interests of the franchise during his last several months as owner.

To add to that, those months in question saw roster turnover that involved signficant roster talent leaving the Predators for Eastern Conference teams. Short of trading these players to Minnesota, this is one of the easiest way to weaken a future opponent in relation to your future team.

Having said this, I don't think Leipold acted maliciously. But this looks bad for those who see how the scenario unfolded and certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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01-11-2008, 01:31 PM
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It is interesting, although I think he did it for another reason. He wanted to make the team as attractive for relocation as possible.

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01-11-2008, 02:34 PM
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Well, it didn't take long for Mr. Strachan to weigh in on Craig buying the Wild:

http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/7662468

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01-11-2008, 05:51 PM
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When you think about it though, he cut the roster to "save money" when he already knew the team would sell he just didn't know which buyer it would be at that point, but the buyers were already lined up.

He essentially gutted his competition...

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01-11-2008, 08:48 PM
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What a scumball. Oh well, like I needed another reason to hate the Wild.

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01-12-2008, 10:22 AM
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Condolences to Wild fans: you get an incredibly cheap owner and a yearly first round exit.

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs....801110414/1028

"When I decided a couple years ago to sell the Nashville Predators, within 30 days of that time, I was having seller's remorse, even though it wasn't even publicly on the market," Leipold said at the Thursday news conference.

What????? When did he decide to sell???? Last January he said he was only selling a small percentage of the team.

Then he does nothing to improve attendance here after the lockout, announces his intentions to use the escape clause to drive up the selling price, then guts the franchise to drive down attendance during the cure year.

Looks like I was right about him all along *******

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01-12-2008, 11:40 AM
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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.

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01-12-2008, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dulzhok View Post
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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01-12-2008, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyClause View Post
This actually concerns me somewhat. I know the NHL, and all sports leagues for that matter, let their owners run around unchecked, but I think a significant conflict of interest exists.

One of the primary expectations from the fanbase is that the owner will act in the best interests of the team so long as that act is reasonable. It's hard to argue that Leipold was really in a position to act in the best in the best interests of the franchise during his last several months as owner.

To add to that, those months in question saw roster turnover that involved signficant roster talent leaving the Predators for Eastern Conference teams. Short of trading these players to Minnesota, this is one of the easiest way to weaken a future opponent in relation to your future team.

Having said this, I don't think Leipold acted maliciously. But this looks bad for those who see how the scenario unfolded and certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
I had not considered that but it is an interesting thought. Maybe since Leipold did exactly what Bettman wanted him to by backing out of the Balsillie deal and trying to keep the team in Nashville by selling to Freeman and co. they are just willing to look the other way figuring no one will ask any questions b/c its just Nashville and not one of our precious original six.

A lot of people view Nashville as somewhat of a pet project for Bettman and he does not want to see the team leave b/c that would say that he was wrong to put a team here to begin with and he does not want to lose anymore face than he already has the last couple of years.

If you were the CEO of a stock brokerage firm and you got rid of a lot of the most important people that had been responsible for your success and then left that firm and ended up at a competing firm within a month it would look awfully suspicious and there would probably be some kind of investigation ending with someone in jail. That being said I dont think Leipold set out with bad intentions and I think the league realizes that, but it sure doesnt look good.

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01-13-2008, 06:31 AM
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I always liked Leipold when I talked to him in person. However, as the whole thing has unfolded, I realize "if you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig".

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