SBD/March 16, 2011/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Rangers could start '11-12 season in Henrik Lundqvist's native Sweden
On Long Island, Steve Zipay reports with MSG renovations underway, there is "increasing chatter that the Rangers will open next season, not in Russia, but with two games in Stockholm against" either the Kings or Flames. Those games "would be preceded by exhibition games in Prague and Budapest and three road exhibition games" in the U.S. After Europe, the Rangers "would play a number of games on the West Coast of either the United States or Canada before returning for the home opener" at MSG around Oct. 30. An NHL spokesperson last night said that "no contracts have been signed and declined further comment" (NEWSDAY, 3/16).

MY HEART WILL GO ON? The CP's Marie Vastel reported Rene Angelil, singer Celine Dion's husband, said that he "might take part in a bid to bring NHL hockey back to Quebec City." Asked whether he would participate in a project to buy an NHL team, Angelil said, "Maybe. ... It's a little too early to be talking about any kind of involvement." Vastel noted Angelil "expressed interest two years ago in joining" Quebecor Media Inc. President & CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau in a failed bid for the Canadiens. But now, Quebecor has "landed the naming rights for a future Quebec City arena and was granted exclusive rights to manage the facility," scheduled to open in '15 (CP, 3/15).

ARLINGTON ROAD: MLB Rangers co-Chair Bob Simpson addressed Chuck Greenberg stepping down as Managing Partner & CEO of the club and said, "These things happen in business." Simpson added, "You're about 50-50 in judging people off the cuff, if you're good." In Ft. Worth, Mitchell Schnurman notes the Rangers' leaders -- Simpson, co-Chair Ray Davis and team President & CEO Nolan Ryan -- either "seriously misjudged Greenberg or were unable to work with him after backing him big-time." Schnurman: "The mistake cost them some credibility, and because they had to buy out Greenberg's stake, many millions of dollars, too" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/16).

GET ON YOUR BOOTS: The CNBC program “American Greed” will feature the story of former Predators Owner William “Boots” Del Biaggio III, who bilked investors and banks out of millions of dollars in order to buy the NHL team in '07. The show airs at 10:00pm ET. Del Biaggio's rise and fall was documented in an extensive report by SportsBusiness Journal in July '09.
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