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Why did the NHL put so much effort into saving Phoenix but not Atlanta?

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07-28-2014, 09:11 AM
  #51
sandysan
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Originally Posted by Bongo View Post
ASG was going to see to it they nobody kept the team in Atlanta. They virtually killed the market for NHL hockey in Atlanta by running the team into the ground. Any player with talent or leadership qualities was shown the door as soon as their contract was up. By the time they could unload the team, they were only drawing the hardcore fans like myself.

My beef with Bettman and the League is that they allowed this to happen.
I'm not sure ( aside from better due diligence which means they might never play At all in atl) but once that ship sailed, there was little the league could do, the thrashers were homeless and had no where else to play. I think the league can and should step in to smoothen out various bumps in the road, but having a team with no arena is not a minor problem.

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07-28-2014, 10:01 AM
  #52
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You don't think the League would step in if Pittsburgh started dumping all it's talent?

Also, the arena location argument is mythology. Being downtown never hurt any of Atlanta's pro teams in terms of attendance. The Falcons play next door and it has no impact on their attendance. People quit showing up for the Thrash because they were basically a minor league team with a couple of good prospects and veterans. ASG is to blame for that. Not downtown.

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07-28-2014, 10:28 AM
  #53
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If the city gives money to help the team stay solvent, then they will fight for that team. Phoenix, Ottawa, Edmonton, Pittsburgh and Florida received handouts. QC, Winnipeg and Hartford did not.

Atlanta is a special case. ASG kicked them out of their arena, and the NHL had no recourse. They could have bought the Thrashers and held onto them until an arena in Atlanta was built, but with the 'Yotes on the line that was simply not feasible.

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07-28-2014, 02:42 PM
  #54
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Originally Posted by Bongo View Post
You don't think the League would step in if Pittsburgh started dumping all it's talent?
what would the league actually do ? lots of teams blow it up for a rebuild, the last thing the league needs is to need consent from some central authority ( like mls).

The owners own the team, they run it however they please. aside from a sterling like deal, so long as they make the floor they can pretty much do what they like. teams signed players they knew would not play in order to have their contracts count towards the cap but they didnt have to pay. some owners converted the prime seats into a supper club and other teams give away tickets in 12 packs of bud light and then there is the looming 50 million walk away clause for the yotes that has to have been considered when they ate ribero's contract.

so no the league would not step in, because with the exception of some real boots delbaggio like shenanigans, I'm not sure they are authorised to and if they were, what could they really do ?

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07-28-2014, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Bongo View Post
You don't think the League would step in if Pittsburgh started dumping all it's talent?

Also, the arena location argument is mythology. Being downtown never hurt any of Atlanta's pro teams in terms of attendance. The Falcons play next door and it has no impact on their attendance. People quit showing up for the Thrash because they were basically a minor league team with a couple of good prospects and veterans. ASG is to blame for that. Not downtown.
The Atlanta Braves and their new Cobb County Stadium disagree with you.

Also, you can't compare 8 NFL games to the NBA/NHL/MLB schedule. it's apples to oranges. The Falcons could play in Valdosta and still sell out.

I do agree with the whole "major league" treatment that the Thrashers got. I was living in Chattanooga at the time and purchased a mini-plan. I was a sad as anyone when the Thrashers up and moved North. Just a damn shame.

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07-28-2014, 06:50 PM
  #56
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Originally Posted by sandysan View Post
... so no the league would not step in, because with the exception of some real boots delbaggio like shenanigans, I'm not sure they are authorised to and if they were, what could they really do ?
Ya, thats the thing. What can the league do no matter how apparent that their either being deliberately negligent or that their just incompetent? They own the team, usually have the master lease to the only arena in town. Ownerships prerogative to run their business in whatever way they see fit despite being part of a collective. Who knew that Atlanta would unwind so badly back in 1997 when Time Warner was awarded the franchise? Future looked bright, brilliant in fact.... then the sale. 2003. Beginning of the end. Unavoidable. ASG mouthed all the right words but it became apparent fairly early on they either didnt care or didnt have a clue or had no genuine interest in making sure the franchise was a success on & off the ice.

How else to explain Don Waddell's lengthy tenure? Anywhere else, he'd have been long gone. Back in the day in Chicago fans used to scream for Pulfords head. Basically just an instrument abiding by $Bill Wirtzs direct orders in squeezing nickles so the Indian rode the Buffalo. Solid base of a team, All Star Goaltending, but too cheap to buy talent to compliment their core. At least there you knew what the problem was (Wirtz) but there wasnt any fear the team would have a complete financial meltown & possibly be Relo'd. The only reason Waddell kept in charge & either complicit by following orders or possibly blithely ignorant (ya, right) to the fact that he was running the team out of town in turning off not only casual fans but so too the hard core variety in icing a pathetic product is a hard one to nail down definitively.

Bob Pulford is a man of integrity, intelligence, has his pride. Same thing with Don Waddell. Chicago was at least respectable whereas the Thrashers were an easy 2 points for the vast majority of the league. To the fans in Georgia the alarm bells started going off early in ASG's tenure as owners. Obvious to anyone in Vancouver, LA, Toronto or Boston that something wasnt right, the easy answer being that "here we go again, another Sunbelt Market Meltdown. No hockey fans in Georgia, Atlanta's a lousy sports town anyway. Blame Bettman. League had no business going back there again in the 2nd place. Only ice you find down there is in a glass. They dont know or even care about hockey"... only problem with that cover story is that none of its true.

Big picture, the NHL had no business enabling & facilitating the sale of the original Flames to Nelson Skalbania & allowing him to move the team to Alberta. Caught by Cousins who'd discovered their little NHL Pension Fund Scam in the late 70's, didnt wanna have anything to do with it. So when he has a financial meltdown through his real estate dealings needs cash & fast. Despite a very attractive local offer (from actor Glenn Ford & a group of Investors) Nelson there doubles down. The NHL wanted to sell it to the local group but as Skalbania had doubled the offer, Cousins telling the league no, not going to take an $8M haircut on the sale, approve it for Relo or Im going public with your little Pension Fraud Dealeo.

So BAM, Calgary Flames and 20 years lost between 1980 & 1999 when the NHL finally returned to the scene of their original & real crime. But what could they do in 1980? Blackmailed. Just as they were by ASG in 2011... Something to be said for Karma, or what comes around goes around. Sadly though, that earth now very badly scorched.... As for Phoenix, just a comedy of errors from the moment the Jets were sold. Homeless. Wind up at Colangelo's then brand new AWA arena; nice new anchor tenant to help pay it off & the squeeze was on... and on & on & on. In that case ya, I do lay much of the blame on the NHL's doorstep. Different situation altogether.

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07-28-2014, 08:56 PM
  #57
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There was no way of saving Atlanta, Spirit basically kicked them out of Philips Arena and told every potential buyer that they won't allow them to play there. Given that there is no other place for them to play the only option was for them to move.

If I was Bettman I would've sued the pants off of Atlanta Spirit Group, it was pretty clear that they had no intentions of making them a successful team, it was essentially corporate sabotage.

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07-28-2014, 09:23 PM
  #58
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Originally Posted by Bizz06 View Post
If I was Bettman I would've sued the pants off of Atlanta Spirit Group, it was pretty clear that they had no intentions of making them a successful team, it was essentially corporate sabotage.
Agreed. Considering the whole thing in Phoenix was about the league dictating where its franchises play, there was a fight to be had here.

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07-29-2014, 03:00 AM
  #59
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Big picture, the NHL had no business enabling & facilitating the sale of the original Flames to Nelson Skalbania & allowing him to move the team to Alberta. Caught by Cousins who'd discovered their little NHL Pension Fund Scam in the late 70's, didnt wanna have anything to do with it. So when he has a financial meltdown through his real estate dealings needs cash & fast. Despite a very attractive local offer (from actor Glenn Ford & a group of Investors) Nelson there doubles down. The NHL wanted to sell it to the local group but as Skalbania had doubled the offer, Cousins telling the league no, not going to take an $8M haircut on the sale, approve it for Relo or Im going public with your little Pension Fraud Dealeo.
I'd like to read more about this, got any books you know of?

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07-29-2014, 03:48 AM
  #60
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Originally Posted by Finlandia WOAT View Post
Atlanta is a special case. ASG kicked them out of their arena, and the NHL had no recourse. They could have bought the Thrashers and held onto them until an arena in Atlanta was built, but with the 'Yotes on the line that was simply not feasible.
Where would the NHL have gotten 300+ million to build an arena from? Even if the Coyotes were the most profitable team in the league the Thrashers still would've been gone.

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07-29-2014, 05:29 AM
  #61
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I could guess, but I'd probably be wrong.
without reading any comments

wrote a longer detailed piece--but here is the cole notes of it

1) New Owners wanted the NBA in the arena and not an nhl team
2) Told the nhl flate out they were walking away from the team and all debts and contracts
3) The moment the NHL lost the arena they were in a corner. The moment the new owners got the arena they started booking concerts and other stuff on off days from the NBA.

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07-29-2014, 07:06 AM
  #62
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proof????
I couldn't find a new facility or any news of one. But the poster might be referring to a small outdoor ice skating rink that's been introduced at one of the resorts during winter months (Fairmont Scottsdale Princess).

The Alltell Ice Den in Scottsdale did add a third sheet of ice to the facility last year. They've also acquired another rink in the southern part of Phoenix Metro and are currently remodeling it.

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07-29-2014, 08:15 AM
  #63
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Who knows.

Both arenas were poorly located.

Glendale is a far suburb of Phoenix. Atlanta was placed in downtown.

If Atlanta's arena was located on the top of the Perimeter near the mall, Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Duluth, or Marietta it would still be in existence. Philips Arena replacing the Omni was the dumbest concept ever and doomed the franchise to failure.
Doubtful. Just because the Braves are moving this way it does not mean that it is a good idea or that it would have been beneficial if the Thrashers were in this area. I have lived in the Metro Atlanta area for the last 10 years. 8 between Roswell & Marietta and the last two just north of Perimeter mall. The area isn't built to handle the traffic influx that would be created and I am not sure what spot would be used in order to make easy access right off of I-75, GA 400 or I-285. The best place would have been Kennesaw. The others would have been absolute nightmares. Most of the people who live here are already dreading what the traffic is going to be like in Cobb during baseball season.

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07-29-2014, 08:34 AM
  #64
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If I was Bettman I would've sued the pants off of Atlanta Spirit Group, it was pretty clear that they had no intentions of making them a successful team, it was essentially corporate sabotage.
Which would have been a waste of time. ASG signed a 7-year non-movement agreement with the NHL when they picked up the Thrashers. ASG honored this contract for exactly 7 years to the day, and then moved the team. This was what the NHL agreed to.

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07-29-2014, 09:10 AM
  #65
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Which would have been a waste of time. ASG signed a 7-year non-movement agreement with the NHL when they picked up the Thrashers. ASG honored this contract for exactly 7 years to the day, and then moved the team. This was what the NHL agreed to.
Yeah I guess it would've been a waste of time, it would've been years before any rulings came from it. The way ASG is going they'd be long gone and bankrupt by then. The Hawks attendance has steadily gone down since they bought the team to the point where they are 3rd last in attendance last season. It'd be easier for Bettman to wait until when (not if) they fail and have to sell the hawks to try and bring a team back to Atlanta.

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07-29-2014, 09:58 AM
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You have to remember that Atlanta Spirit was a group of between seven to nine guys, most of whom came together to buy the Hawks and got the Thrashers too because it was a package deal.

Gearon easily could have been passionate about the Thrashers, but only had 1 of 9 votes to keep them.
In an interview on the team's flagship station, when it finally broke that they had been secretly shopping the team for years despite their denials, the hosts asked him to deny rumors that they were intending to relocate the team. During the course of that painful conversation, Gearon did not even know the name of the team's captain. Seriously, that happened.

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07-29-2014, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by cbcwpg View Post
Which would have been a waste of time. ASG signed a 7-year non-movement agreement with the NHL when they picked up the Thrashers. ASG honored this contract for exactly 7 years to the day, and then moved the team. This was what the NHL agreed to.
Besides, A$G might actually enjoyed a lawsuit. Suing people (or each other, or being sued by others) is about the only thing those @#$%ers are good at.

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07-29-2014, 10:01 AM
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In an interview on the team's flagship station, when it finally broke that they had been secretly shopping the team for years despite their denials, the hosts asked him to deny rumors that they were intending to relocate the team. During the course of that painful conversation, Gearon did not even know the name of the team's captain. Seriously, that happened.
Yup. True story. Everyone around Atlanta knew those were fake, crocodile tears Gearon was shedding. He was even overheard (on more than one occasion) ranting about how he couldn't wait to be rid of the Thrashers after games long before the sale.

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07-29-2014, 10:08 AM
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I'd like to read more about this, got any books you know of?
No books' ever been written on that subject specifically kmad, just in passing references. Contemporaneous media reports of the time. Articles in various hockey & sports publications & blogspots, radio interviews etc in the intervening years. Old history..... The cover story, that Cousins sold the franchise as Skalbania representing a not small group of investors out of Southern Alberta got the franchise as they'd offered & paid $16M rather than the $8M being offered by local interests.

Therefore perfectly understandable & plausible as to why Tom Cousins wouldve insisted that the NHL allow him to sell for Relo, as why he should he take an $8M haircut on the transaction? Thing is, within the NHL itself, serious resistance to permitting such, exchanging a Big Market and one thats critical in terms of footprint for a really very small market in Calgary. Alberta's oil~boom was underway sure enough, but Calgary still very much "Cowtown". No corporate heft. Did nothing for the US based teams and like Edmonton, Winnipeg & Quebec ate into the Canadian teams broadcast revenues. Obviously benefited Edmonton in particular with a close rival, Vancouver & Winnipeg to a lesser extent but still.

At anyrate as the years passed, this story like a lot of NHL fables, that the reason the team was allowed to be sold for Relo was due to price AND declining, anemic , never lived up to its potential attendance at the Omni utter nonsense. That Cousins was going down, no place to play, too bad so sad Atlanta but weve gotta go. Ships sinking... So like the Warren Commission's Report on the Kennedy Assassination and its ridiculous/absurd Single Bullet Theory this story concocted, fiction, repeated enough times becoming fact.... Until years after the fact, comes out that no, more to the story than that according to former Atlanta Flames Goaltender Dan Bouchard, who would have absolutely no reason whatsoever to be "makin stuff up" about it...

http://thetrolleytracks.blogspot.com...ckey-myth.html


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07-29-2014, 10:11 AM
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Where would the NHL have gotten 300+ million to build an arena from? Even if the Coyotes were the most profitable team in the league the Thrashers still would've been gone.
I agree it wasn't an actual option: that is just the minimum of what would have had to been done to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta.

The main problem with ASG is that, out of the 7, only one of them actually had money to invest in the two franchises + the arena. So what do you do? Try to buy him out when he wants to sign Joe freaking Johnson in FA, then sue him when he wants a fair buyout in accordance with his buyout clause.

A big part of not fighting for Atlanta, IMO, is that Bettman wanted ASG out of the League. This was the only way to do it.

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07-29-2014, 10:24 AM
  #71
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Why did ASG want to dump the Thrashers so badly? Why did they buy the team in the first place then?

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07-29-2014, 10:37 AM
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Phoenix is actually going to be a great sports town. The game of Hockey is growing in California and is doing the same slowly, but surely in the desert. Scottsdale is actually adding a 2nd rink. Arizona State just won the Natl title for Club and numerous other rinks exist. As for the Coyotes...it takes time. When the Coyotes first came. Yeah, some bandwagon fans came about, but what it really took was the people who were 15-25 years old at the time to fall in love. Now their children or friends are either watching or playing the game in the Phoenix Metro area. Their is a 2nd wave of fans now coming about. So for the vultures that still exist I'd think again because I think with a good up and coming team with talents such as OEL, Domi, Smith, ect the Coyotes will be here to stay. Also, I'd rather go out to Phoenix to watch the Blackhawks play a road game then up to Hamilton, ON 100 out of 100 times. Great Stadium and set up and tons to do with awesome weather.
Major flaw in your comments are the arena location! Simply said, the Arizona Coyotes will struggle to fill seats as long as the team continues to play at Jobing.com arena! The fan base resides in the SE desert, while Glendale is in the NW, just too far from anywhere to ever be taken seriously as a draw for the casual fan.

There is also a rising tide of speculation that the new ownership lacks the experience and/or the capital to make this work. The capital shortage has translated into a skinny budget for Don Maloney and thus an inferior on-ice product that competes against some of the strongest teams in the league as part of the Western Conference.

Finally, there is trouble brewing at City Hall. Council members made a poor decision in voting to extend a city budget busting subsidy to keep the team in Glendale. The next four years of the teams Glendale existence will be marred with rumors of ill will between Council members and taxpayers attempting to make sense of all the money the city is losing in its attempt to be something they are not!

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07-29-2014, 10:39 AM
  #73
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Why did ASG want to dump the Thrashers so badly? Why did they buy the team in the first place then?
They dumped them because they never wanted them. Their stated passion was basketball. They wanted the Hawks and Arena only, and to accomplish their goal of becoming NBA owners, they made an eleventh-hour, backdoor, sweetheart deal with Time Warner for all three properties that no one at the time ever saw coming.

That deal coincidentally made the original intended buyer, David McDavid, very rich in a later lawsuit he filed against Time Warner for TW's not completing the sale to him. A jury awarded him $281 million.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-0...eam-sales.html

In short, even ASG's acquisition of the team was dirty. And that was just the beginning.

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07-29-2014, 10:43 AM
  #74
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Originally Posted by cbcwpg View Post
Which would have been a waste of time. ASG signed a 7-year non-movement agreement with the NHL when they picked up the Thrashers. ASG honored this contract for exactly 7 years to the day, and then moved the team. This was what the NHL agreed to.
Ya. This is one Conspiracy Theory thats very real. Impossible to refute as the evidence is absolutely overwhelming. Exactly what they did. Played the league, the fans, the public & the media. Didnt stop there either, these Geniuses also played each other. Completely dysfunctional.

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Originally Posted by Finlandia WOAT View Post
A big part of not fighting for Atlanta, IMO, is that Bettman wanted ASG out of the League. This was the only way to do it.
You mean just as they wanted Tom Cousins out of the league 30 odd years earlier albeit for different & far more nefarious reasons? Im not entirely sold on that Finlandia. I think Bettman truly hoped ASG would turnaround, get their house in order however it became shockingly obvious to him, Daly & others at the NHL that a game was afoot, these were guys were absolute Rogues, no way to salvage the situation. As a result of coming to this conclusion, that ASG had essentially "played" the NHL, negotiations between TrueNorth & ASG with the league sitting at the table were acrimonious to say the least. Its been reported that ASG initially wanted the full $170M for the club, the amount budgeted coincidentally, the exact same amount being asked for Phoenix and an amount TrueNorth had agreed to and budgeted for including or perhaps absent altogether a Relocation Fee. Bettman however intervened, demanding the sale price be seriously dropped & discounted, to what basement level I know not but it wouldnt surprise me if he started at $80M going to ASG, $90M to the NHL in Relo Fee's, finally settling on $110M going to ASG, $60M to the league....

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07-29-2014, 10:49 AM
  #75
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Why did ASG want to dump the Thrashers so badly? Why did they buy the team in the first place then?
They needed cash after buying out the one guy in their group that was well endowed with the cash flow.

Solution: sell the hockey team to the Canadian billionaire!

@ Killion: IIRC, ASG said that they would keep the team in Atlanta for another year if the NHL or the city (or anyone) would cover their losses.

I am probably making that up, but I do know that, had the NHL truly wanted to keep ASG in the fold and Atlanta in Atlanta, then they could have done just that. They chose not to.

In my view, ASG basically did what Balsillie/Moyes were trying to do, but only when they had all the cards (the arena, no package deal, city economy in the tank).

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