Colts Fire GM Grigson, Keep Coach Pagano Spanos Tried To Keep Chargers In San Diego Raiders Won't Consider Rebrand For Vegas Move Cowboys Hire Agency To Evaluate E-Sports Foray Golden Knights To Debut Fan Development Program Red Sox Brass Talk New CBA Raiders File Paperwork To Move To Vegas NFL Seems More Comfortable With Vegas Johnson's Ambassadorship Leaves Jets In Flux Eagles' Lurie Becoming More Hands On
SBD/June 21, 2011/Franchises
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Discusses Sale, Relocation Of Thrashers
Published June 21, 2011
Q: Were there failings on the part of ownership in what turned out to be the fate of the Thrashers? If so, what were they?
Bettman: What is the old saying, success has many parents and failure is an orphan. Obviously, lots of factors came into play. I don’t want to suggest that ownership wasn’t one of those factors. However, I don’t think it is fair to suggest that it was the only reason.
Q: The NHL got $80 million to put a team in Atlanta (as an expansion franchise) and $60 million to move it out of Atlanta. What do you say to Thrashers fans who feel the league had an inherent conflict of interest and motives because it got $60 million for allowing the move?
Bettman: The purpose of the $60 million relocation was an attempt to encourage a local sale at a lower price. Obviously, it benefits the league. However, the practical effect would be to encourage a sale at a lower place. By requiring such a relocation fee, we were creating a lower than market value price for an NHL franchise for someone to buy it and keep it in Atlanta.
Q: What do you think of Atlanta as a hockey market? Does that differ from 1997 when the city was awarded the expansion franchise?
Bettman: We had high hopes in 1997. This is obviously not the result we envisioned or we wouldn’t have come. How we got to this position involves a number of issues and that’s why we find ourselves in the current situation.
Q: Atlanta has now lost two NHL franchises. Can you close the book on the city ever getting another team? Why or why not?
Bettman: I try to never say never about anything. You never know what life has in store. I don’t want to build false expectations, but I never say never (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 6/21).