Unease

I feel terrible for fans of the Coyotes.  Maybe there aren’t enough fans in Arizona to make an NHL team profitable, but no matter how you slice it, for individual fans, this is a heart breaker.  I would be devastated if the Sabres left Buffalo.

I understand that there is still a LOT that would need to happen in order to move the team to Hamilton.  The more I’ve read about the situation, the more confused I’ve become.

picture-91

To me, the idea of a team in Hamilton is scary, but I’m not sure how much of this fear is just a symptom of the nearly constant message we receive in Buffalo that the things around here are eroding.  I’ll admit, I’m not sure I would have had the stomach for the relocation scare that Sabres fans had to live through before the lockout.  The totally irrational fear that the Sabres might never be Cup contenders again is certainly unpleasant, but that unpleasantness absolutely pales in comparison to how I feel when I allow myself to consider that the Sabres might not always be in Buffalo.

One of the things I love about following the Sabres right now (certainly in contrast to the Bills) is that we ARE a good hockey market.  Or, a least we’re good enough. Hamilton scares me though, because as passionate as we are about hockey, the underlying threat in Buffalo (BUFFALO IS IN DECLINE) is constant.

Whether the fear is reality-based or not, sometimes in Buffalo it feels like we’re just one bad turn away from getting permanently lost.

I just hope that whoever is making the decisions concerning the relocation of the Coyotes really knows what they are doing, and I hope that whatever ends up happening, it doesn’t put the longterm health of the Sabres in jeopardy.

I guess we just cross our fingers and hope for the best.

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I stole this chart from Mirtle.  Check out From the Rink for excellent coverage of the Coyote/Basillie situation.

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8 Responses to “Unease”


  1. 1 Erin May 7, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Funny, I’ve been meaning to pull out a map and scare myself with how close Hamilton is to Buffalo but I haven’t had the heart to do it. I mean, I know how close they are but I wanted to get all neurotic about it. Thanks.

    Also, why am I surprised that the Wild make more money than the Sabres. Interesting.

  2. 2 Becky May 7, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    And that’s one of the main reasons why Buffalo plays the Canadian anthem every game…lots of season ticket holders.

  3. 3 Katebits May 7, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    I know how close they are but I wanted to get all neurotic about it. Thanks.

    Heh heh. No problem.

    I literally have NO idea how worried Sabres fans should be about this, which is why I tried to stay COMPLETELY away from any sort of fact-based reporting in this post.

  4. 4 CrotchetyOriginalSam May 7, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Also, why am I surprised that the Wild make more money than the Sabres.

    I’m actually surprised the Wild aren’t a lot higher on the revenue chart. Our team rakes in the cash like no other franchise in any mid-size US market, in jersey sales, ticketing, and concessions. And while I would never suggest that Minnesota is a better NHL market than Buffalo (I would dearly love for even half the crowd at the X to be as blue-collar and down-to-earth as your whole arena seems to be,) we do have the advantage of having our local economy based more than yours on high-tech industries and less on factories. These days, that translates pretty quickly into $$, as unfair as it is.

    I honestly don’t think there’s any chance Bettman allows the Yotes to go to Hamilton. The Leafs are dead set against it, Bettman has already blocked two Balsillie attempts to move a team into Southern Ontario, and Kansas City and Las Vegas are literally begging for a franchise. (KC even built an NHL-ready arena two years ago, which is now sitting empty.) I’ll shed no tears when the late, lamented Winnipeg Jets head back north, but I’m too much of a cynic to have any hope that they’ll be back in Canada.

  5. 5 Katebits May 7, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    The scary thing for Sabres fans (or at least for me), is that I’m perfectly capable of recognizing that from a dollars and cents standpoint, adding a team to Southern Ontario makes a lot of sense. It would be like printing money for the NHL. What I’m NOT sure of is that the fragile Buffalo market can absorb a decrease in Ontario customers. Maybe the hockey market here could survive some competition, and maybe a third team would just mean more money for everyone- it’s just that as a Buffalonian, I’ve been trained to assume that eventually we’ll be left with nothing. :P

    I wish the NHL would just give Toronto a second team! It makes so much sense and I wouldn’t feel threatened by another team in Toronto.

    Minnesota IS a better hockey market because there is much more money there.

  6. 6 CrotchetyOriginalSam May 7, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    The scary thing for Sabres fans (or at least for me), is that I’m perfectly capable of recognizing that from a dollars and cents standpoint, adding a team to Southern Ontario makes a lot of sense. It would be like printing money for the NHL.

    Well, not necessarily, if a team in Southern ON leads to the demise of the Sabres. Ontario, minus Toronto, is basically a series of small cities, widely spread, with zero hope of major population expansion. So any gain the NHL would realize with a S. ON team would have to be counter-balanced with the loss the Sabres would realize as a result. I just don’t see that ever being a winning equation for the NHL, unless they could somehow move the Sabres to Toronto. Which, let’s face it, will never happen. The NHL, like all other sports leagues, wants to put teams where a) they’re wanted, and b) they cause the least conflict with existing markets. S Ontario will probably never fit the bill.

  7. 7 Katebits May 7, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Yeah, what freaks me out about Hamilton is that between Toronto and Hamilton are millions of hockey dollars for the taking, but between Buffalo and Hamilton, there really isn’t that much. Hamilton might ultimately be a more profitable franchise than the Sabres (it almost certainly would be, actually), I just hope that someone in charge is keeping one little eye on the best interests of the Sabres.

    I think Toronto could absorb another NHL team without harming the Leafs OR the Sabres. A few weeks ago I was reading stuff about a second team in Northern Toronto which I think is a dandy plan.


  1. 1 Silly Season Trackback on May 8, 2009 at 5:15 am

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