Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hartford back in the NHL before KC? sent us a great link.

There is podcast interview about bringing the NHL back to Hartford. It is a four-part series. Absolutely fascinating interviews.

This is a must listen if you are interested in whether KC gets an NHL team.

Hartford and KC are going about this in completely different ways.

Hartford = has local owners looking to buy a team now
KC = no local ownership group

Hartford = No new arena -- only the Hartford Civic Center. Would pursue a new arena with the commitment of an NHL (or NBA) team relocating
KC = has a new arena under construction with no NBA or NHL commitment

Northland Investment Corporation CEO Larry Gottesdiener is really committed to bringing an NHL team back to Hartford. As a matter of fact, he says he is pursuing the purchase of an NHL team right now. Gottesdiener is a New London, CT native and his company has already been involved in the revitalization of Hartford's downtown.

Also, Howard Baldwin, formerly the Managing General Partner of the Whalers, wants to bring an NHL team back. The guy made a killing as the producer of Ray, which won an Oscar and he wants to get back into professional sports.

Both say they have no reason to believe the NHL has plans for expansion. But, Baldwin did say that what Gary Bettman and NHL Board of Governors did was give small markets like Hartford the ability to compete.

Gottesdiener's plan is to purchase an NHL (or to a much lesser extent NBA) team now and move them to Hartford. He says his ideal timetable would be get a team and the financial underpinnings of a new arena by fall of 2006. He says a more realistic timetable is to construct a new arena and begin play in that arena in fall of 2008.

Baldwin wants to take more of a slow growth approach by purchasing an AHL team, renaming them the Whalers and waiting for the right opportunity get back into the NHL.

Unlike KC, Gottesdiener's Hartford group say they want the NHL and would, possibly, settle for the NBA. From all accounts, KC doesn't care which (though I would rarely, if ever, purchase a ticket to an NBA game when I can see better basketball at Allen Fieldhouse).

So, Hartford has two advocates; Gottesdiener and Howard Baldwin. We, KC, have one, AEG.

Well, what do you know, I had Hartford on the list of possible cities two months ago.


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