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SBD/December 3, 2013/Facilities
Critics Assail Markham Arena Plan As City Shoots For NHL Franchise
Published December 3, 2013
TAKING A BIG CHANCE: The NATIONAL POST's Bruce Arthur noted the arena plan is "still full of holes," with at least C$50M "not covered." The council is "risking an enormous amount of money for a project that is somewhere between risky and outright insane." Bettman on Saturday said, "We have never been encouraging of this project. And we have repeatedly said that if this building is built, it should be built with the expectation that they will not get a team." Arthur noted that is something Bettman has "always repeated ... to those who hope to join the list, because the NHL does not want cities to bankrupt themselves in the faint hope that they might jump to the front of a queue." In this case, Markham is "chasing something that isn't there." A source said that the city is "not a priority for the league, and that building an arena will not make it one" (NATIONAL POST, 12/2). But THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell wrote the project is "about the NHL." Campbell: "Always has, always will be." Everyone involved in the project is "tiptoeing around the subject of an NHL team because they all want to play nice," but nobody is "going to take on a project like this one without visions of an NHL team dancing in their heads" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 11/30).
OTHER OPTIONS: In Toronto, Cathal Kelly writes under the header, "Idea Of An NHL Team In Markham Is A Bad One." An NHL team in Kitchener, Ont., "makes decent sense," and a club in Hamilton "makes a little more." Those cities "are their own ecosystems." Hamilton has "proven that it will do just about anything to support a faltering local franchise." But the "rotting corpse" of Copps Coliseum provides a reminder "of all the money that will die in this deal." Still, maybe there is "enough hockey spill-off in Toronto to float a robust second team" (TORONTO STAR, 12/3).