SBD/May 10, 2011/Franchises

Grassroots Efforts Underway To Attract NHL Franchise To Portland

Grassroots efforts are “underway to attract” an NHL franchise to Portland, according to Andy Giegerich of the PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL. Discussions are in the “very early stages,” as organizers have “met informally to discuss strategies.” The organizers “must convince an owner or ownership group to purchase a team and reach arena-usage terms” with the Trail Blazers, who own the Rose Garden. Trail Blazers Senior VP & COO Sarah Mensah: “Would it make sense to add another major sports tenant? Absolutely. The building was constructed for both basketball and hockey.” ID Experts CEO and “longtime NHL advocate” Bob Gregg said that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman “has indicated the Pacific Northwest would provide a stellar NHL base.” There is no NHL team between San Jose and Vancouver. However, NHL Senior Communications Manager Kerry McGovern in an e-mail said that the league “has no current plans for expansion or relocation” (PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/6 issue).

TURNING ATTENTION TO THRASHERS: In Atlanta, Chris Vivlamore wrote the “clock could start ticking on the Thrashers this week” with the city of Glendale scheduled to vote today “on whether to pay another $25 million to the NHL” to keep the Coyotes in the city. The $25M would be used by the Coyotes “for operating expenses and would keep the financially struggling team in Arizona for one more season.” The proposal is “expected to pass.” Vivlamore wrote with the “situation in Phoenix settled for at least another year, True North Sports and Entertainment, a group interested in purchasing the Phoenix franchise and moving it to Winnipeg, Manitoba, could turn its attention to the Thrashers” (AJC.com, 5/9).
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