Saturday, 5 July 2014

Gretzky's Millionaires?

The city to the left is none other than the thriving metropolis of Seattle, Washington. There seems to be a general consensus that Seattle is a great place for an NHL team, and some believe that this new arena being put up is the catalyst for getting an NHL team. While a brand-new facility is certainly an attractive idea, there are a couple of other necessities. Like an owner or ownership group. So it caught me by surprise when the New York Post reported Friday that Gretzky has joined a group of investors trying to bring an NHL team to Seattle.

Initially, I thought, "Why would Wayne Gretzky want to be involved in owning an NHL team again after his problems in the Coyotes ownership?" It made little sense to me. Gretzky seemed to have soured on the idea of ownership after he struggled to get the cash payment he wanted for his stake in the Coyotes after the NHL negotiated a purchase price in taking over the franchise.

I needed to see from where the New York Post was getting this information. A quick Google search brought me to the page. Honestly, the "evidence" they present is non-existant. I'm not even sure how they linked Gretzky to a Seattle-based group in that article other than saying Gretzky is linked to a group.
"Wayne Gretzky has joined a group of investors hoping to bring a National Hockey League team to Seattle, The Post has learned."
Um, that's not evidence. That doesn't even cite a source or get confirmation from Gretzky as to his participation. That would be like me writing, "Teemu Selanne has joined a group of investors hoping to bring an NHL team to Finland, HBIC has learned." It's entirely false and completely irresponsible of me to even suggest that.

Well - surprise, surprise! - the story is false. For this, I direct your attention to this Sportsnet article in which Gretzky's agent sets the story straight to The Canadian Press.
Darren Blake, Gretzky's agent, told The Canadian Press in an email that the 53-year-old Hall of Famer isn't involved in any bid.

"As you can imagine prospective team owners from various franchises call frequently to gauge his interest in coming on board. Seattle is no different," said Blake.
This idea of Seattle getting an NHL team seems to be falling apart since the lack of an arena is certainly hurting the cause. Chris Hansen, the hedge fund manager who was supposed to be building the arena, has yet to find an NBA tenant for the proposed arena, and his partner, Steve Ballmer, just missed out on the Los Angeles Clippers.

To put it another way, without an NBA team, there is no arena. If there is no arena, there is no NHL team. That's some basic math there, readers.

I wanted to be excited to hear that Wayne Gretzky wants to be involved again, but logic won out in terms of my doubting his involvement. And then his agent flatly denied the involvement. I do want to point out that I'm not saying that Josh Kosman and Larry Brooks fabricated the story in any way, but there has to be some sort of proof that Gretzky is involved through a source or a quotation for me to believe that he actually is involved. There wasn't. And he's not.

At this point, forget about owners because there isn't even an arena for that mythical Seattle NHL team to play in. That's kind of more important than finding an owner for a team that doesn't yet exist, don'cha think?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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