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Rwarky

Will Hartford get another NHL team?

Will Hartford get another NHL team?   51 members have voted

  1. 1. Will Hartford get another NHL team?

    • Yes
      32
    • No
      19

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62 posts in this topic

Do you think that Hartford will get another NHL team? If so, will the citizens be able to support it?

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Of course we will and of course we can support it.

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I think the Hartford would support a hockey team just fine, better than most teams actually.

However, I do not think Hartford will get an NHL team. The NHL is run by idiots these days. So I had to vote no, sorry.

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I live in North Carolina, and I've wandered why the city lost the team to Raleigh. What was the reason behind Hartford's loss?

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Raleigh North Carolina acted like a bunch of cowboys and built a free arena for the owner hoping to put their city on THE MAP, Connecticut told the guy to get lost..

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Raleigh North Carolina acted like a bunch of cowboys and built a free arena for the owner hoping to put their city on THE MAP, Connecticut told the guy to get lost..

Yeah because so many of us love to battle rush-hour traffic and use peak hour trains to get to Manhattan to see over-priced hockey games that are barely entertaining at all these days. :unsure:

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I think that Hartford can support an NHL team due to the large amounts of corporations in the immediate area. That is what drives this business these days. If a new organization capitalizes on the large corporations in the area to purchase both luxury suites, sponsorship, and season tickets, then the team will do fine. The area can support it on the corporate side. The area can also easily support it on the public side as well.

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Hartford's NHL days will soon return, it's just a matter of time now!!!

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We have way too much momentum now to not get a major league team be it NHL, NBA or both. Hartford's rise is past the point of no return in my opinion. The NHL is struggling and I'm sure they will begin to correct their business model soon enough. There are plenty of teams that would far FAR better here than where they are currently.

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My short answers are : yes we'll get a team, and yes, the market will easily support a team. I'll agree with a lot of points: Gary Bettman is a huge roadblock. He wanted the team moved from the day he stepped into office. We lost our team due to an owner that wanted a team to move, that's a fact. Karmanos basically left town because he was afraid to lose 11mil over the 3 years it would take for a new Hartford arena to be built; he lost that the first year in Greensboro. John Rowland let the team go (Jodi Rell was the head negotiator), he was never a hockey fan, he already had his hand on Robert Krafts ass for the Pats, and he thought that would save face to get an NFL team. Which it would have, except he was getting played. The attendance, the market, the proximity to NYC and Boston, none had anything to do with the leave. It was: Karmanos wanted to leave for Detroit (yeah right), which is why he bought the team. The Arena needed an upgrade, but that was just the excuse. Finally, the TV deal wasn't great., they needed something better than Sportschannel New England where they were second fiddle to the Celtics.

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My short answers are : yes we'll get a team, and yes, the market will easily support a team. I'll agree with a lot of points: Gary Bettman is a huge roadblock. He wanted the team moved from the day he stepped into office. We lost our team due to an owner that wanted a team to move, that's a fact. Karmanos basically left town because he was afraid to lose 11mil over the 3 years it would take for a new Hartford arena to be built; he lost that the first year in Greensboro. John Rowland let the team go (Jodi Rell was the head negotiator), he was never a hockey fan, he already had his hand on Robert Krafts ass for the Pats, and he thought that would save face to get an NFL team. Which it would have, except he was getting played. The attendance, the market, the proximity to NYC and Boston, none had anything to do with the leave. It was: Karmanos wanted to leave for Detroit (yeah right), which is why he bought the team. The Arena needed an upgrade, but that was just the excuse. Finally, the TV deal wasn't great., they needed something better than Sportschannel New England where they were second fiddle to the Celtics.

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Rowland didn't even have his first dinner with Bob Kraft until nearly a year after the Whalers left, so the Patriots played no role in the Whalers leaving. Rowland basically offered the Whalers the same deal he offered Kraft. He offered to build an arena, hand the keys over to Karmanos, who would be guarenteed at least $50 million in revenue streams annually from the sales of naming rights, suites and concessions. The plan was signed off by Tom Ritter and Kevin Sullivan (the legislative leaders at the time), so it was a legit offer. I'll never understand how Rowland gets blamed for the Whalers leaving when Karmanos clearly hand no interest, or intention of staying.

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Well Rowland did offer karmanos a really good arena deal, but Karmanos used the revenue streams excuse to get out of town anyway he can. Wouldn't the legislature have to approve that $11 million anyways, in order for Rowland to give it to Karmanos?

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My perspective is this:

Hartford will get a hockey team. The state will heavily subsidize it. An arena will be built, which will cost lots of taxpayer $ and not actually be effective in creating any spillover effects that revitalize the city. Parking garages will be built and Hartford streets will be overwhelmed with traffic for two hours each game.

BUT- Hartford as a region seems to need this hockey team psychologically. It's like when the Whalers left, all Greater Hartford suburbanites lost any connection to the city at our area's core. The amount of sincere grief that suburbanites feel over the Whalers, STILL, is unbelievable. I think, just on the basis of boosting regional morale, the subsidies might be worth it to bring hockey back to Hartford.

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Vlad, I have to disagree with you on this one. The Whalers leaving town were part of the downward spiral of downtown during the early to late 90's not the cause of it. Plus, Karmanos likely would have come up with another excuse why one more state concession wasn't enough and would have made the State bend over again. Andrew Zimbalist, an economist who specializes in this area time and time again has performed studies on how 100% subsidized arenas PLUS profit/loss subsidy is one step too far. It is a good thing that Rowland didn't offer that concession.

Having said that, I am a big proponent of the State building an arena primarily with public dollars. If the state does get an NHL team interested it should go out of its way to offer incentives for that franchise to sign on....with the exception of ensuring certain levels of profitability.

The age of team's getting free rides to move to cities is pretty much over. It is the norm that teams have to kick in at least something in terms of rent to play in the new publicly financed arenas.

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Vlad, I have to disagree with you on this one. The Whalers leaving town were part of the downward spiral of downtown during the early to late 90's not the cause of it. Plus, Karmanos likely would have come up with another excuse why one more state concession wasn't enough and would have made the State bend over again. Andrew Zimbalist, an economist who specializes in this area time and time again has performed studies on how 100% subsidized arenas PLUS profit/loss subsidy is one step too far. It is a good thing that Rowland didn't offer that concession.

Having said that, I am a big proponent of the State building an arena primarily with public dollars. If the state does get an NHL team interested it should go out of its way to offer incentives for that franchise to sign on....with the exception of ensuring certain levels of profitability.

The age of team's getting free rides to move to cities is pretty much over. It is the norm that teams have to kick in at least something in terms of rent to play in the new publicly financed arenas.

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First, the number bandied was 11mil, not 40mil. Jodi Rell was designated by the Governor to do all the number crunching and report to him. And I agree, Karmanos would have still tried to get out, but a great deal always beats a good deal. The correct phrasing I should have used was the Whalers were the last 5 nails in the coffin. Look at downtown Hartford during a WHalers game, then look at it after they left. Downtown was packed during those nights. The only times even close to that since were the UCONN parades which obviously surpassed...

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The writing was on the wall when all the local corporate owners cashed in their stock and sold to Gordon. That was the day it became inevitable the Whalers would leave with the highest bidder.

Small market teams, that remain small market teams, like the Packers, never sold out like that.

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The Whalers departure was nearly 10 years ago, and as time passes...the specific facts surrounding their departure tend to get jumbled due to a number of factors, not the least of which is time and opinions about the personalities at play during that time. The Hartford Courant ran a great look at the negotiations in its March 28, 1997 edition. I was able to dig it out of archives. Unfortuantely, I can't provide a direct link. (Though it is available in archives for those willing to pay $3). But here is some selected highlights about the deal and the winding path of negotiations.

Notice, the final demand from the Karmanos...the state subsididize$43 million in operating losses.

Copyright 1997

The deal on the table Tuesday morning essentially would have made the Whalers business partners in the future of downtown Hartford.

The state would have built a new $147 million sports palace just north of I-84 at the edge of downtown Hartford and handed the Whalers the keys.

Rowland told the Whalers they could take whatever upside they could out of the building, with the exception of University of Connecticut basketball games. Besides concessions, advertising and the right to sell the name of the building, the Whalers also would get money from arena parking -- not only for Whalers games, but from other arena events and daily downtown workers.

In return, Rowland wanted to collect about $3 million in admission tax on tickets sold in the building, and $2.5 million in rent. That money would have gone toward paying off the state bonds financing the arena.

The building, both sides agreed, would have earned the Whalers $50 million a year. The team's operating budget this season was $42 million. And if the small signs of economic hope now evident in downtown bloomed into a real recovery, an estimated $2 million a year in initial parking revenue could have grown.

The Whalers told Rowland that wasn't enough. They needed the money the state would have taken out of the building in admission taxes and rent; they wanted two years of losses covered while a new arena was built.

They also wanted an option to leave after 10 years if the Whalers became a winner but the fans didn't provide strong support. Rowland said no -- stay 20 years, no exceptions.

Still, Fox had another card to throw on the table Tuesday morning. Over the weekend, Hartford Mayor Michael P. Peters had come up with a plan to boost the city's contribution to subsidizing the Whalers' short-term losses to $20 million.

"Say I have a check in my pocket for $45 or $50 million," Fox told Karmanos. "Do we have a deal?"

Karmanos, Fox said, didn't answer.

Brendan Fox, a lawyer who formerly worked in downtown Hartford, is not a high-profile official on Rowland's team, but he's an important one. His job is to put out the brush fires that spring up just about every day in running the state.

The arena assignment was a big one for Fox. Colleagues in the Capitol felt sorry for Fox because he had to learn so much, so fast about the pro sports business, but they admired the effort he put into the job.

Fox saw what the arena could mean to Hartford -- it would expand downtown north of I-84 for the first time. Karmanos has proposed opening an office of his computer software company, Compuware, in Connecticut, and the governor's office tried to interest Karmanos in Metro Center One, a glass office building on Church Street that looks across the highway at the arena site.

"I always thought that the home run here would be to have the arena, to have the Whalers stay for 20 years, move those {Compuware} jobs into downtown Hartford and have some entrepreneurial spirit move into the Civic Center," Fox said.

Fox said he believed in the state's final offer.

"I honestly felt I could have said, `This is a good deal. It's good for the taxpayers; it's good for the city of Hartford and the state of Connecticut, and it's good for the Whalers.' I really believed it was gonna work."

Fox collapsed at the end of negotiations Tuesday morning. He has no recollection of driving home and passing out, sick with the flu. When he woke up in the middle of the afternoon, he says he didn't know what day it was.

The back-and-forth negotiations began March 6, with a meeting at the Capitol of Rowland, Karmanos and Bettman.

Rowland put his offer on the table -- a new state-of-the art arena, run by the Whalers. The state offered $14.5 million to cover the Whalers losses while the new arena was built.

Karmanos answered four days later. He rejected the admissions tax and rent. The Whalers would eat their losses next season, but wanted the state to cover all subsequent losses until the new arena opened on Jan. 1, 2000.

Rowland replied within 48 hours.

The state boosted its subsidy on the operating losses to $20.5 million, using a $10 million contribution from the city of Hartford. Rowland said that the revenue projections for the arena were so conservative the Whalers could count on earning $3 million more than the consultants projected -- essentially covering the cost of the admissions tax.

The Whalers never accepted that line of reasoning, Beer and Rutherford said.

Yes, the $50 million in revenue from the building is more than the Whalers' expenses this year, but the estimate does not anticipate continued inflation of player salaries, Rutherford said. It would be "a Band-Aid" situation, Rutherford said, leaving the team unable to compete with large-market teams for top talent.

"You get to a point where you can only put so much into a business," Rutherford said. "If we had local TV revenue like most other teams, and you get that $5 or $6 million, you stick that number into the pro forma and you're a lot closer to making it work."

Were the Whalers moving the goal line a little further back each time Rowland got close?

On March 10, Karmanos wrote Rowland: "Three more years of play in the Civic Center will result in new losses in the excess of $40 million."

The Whalers offered to cover one year of losses -- then told the state days later that the team needed $43 million to cover operating losses in the final two years in the Civic Center.

Rutherford said the change came after new income projections that considered higher salaries.

"Those numbers did change through different pro formas, but {Fox} knows why they changed," Rutherford said.

In the end, the gap between the parties was philosophical and fiscal.

Rowland offered the Whalers a business opportunity in running a new arena. Revenue projections done by the state's consultant, KPMG Peat Marwick, were based on 120 events at the arena a year -- the Civic Center hosted 127 events last year.

Couldn't the Whalers assume they would do better in a new building -- book the NCAA Women's Final Four, for example -- allowing both downtown Hartford and the team to prosper together?

The Whalers felt that scenario was not "reasonable," Beer said. "We could also assume that downtown Hartford would flourish and bloom because the Whalers were here, and another $5 million would be generated," Beer said, dismissing the question.

Across the negotiating table, Rowland did not abandon his philosophical position that the new arena be "revenue-neutral" -- not drawing tax dollars from the general fund. Knowing he would have to make the case to the legislature, Rowland needed to show that revenue from the building, through admission taxes and rent, would repay the money the state would borrow to build the arena.

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I don't think we are on different pages here. While the article mentions operating losses of 43 million, that was the total, not the difference in values. At the end of the day, the difference ended up being approx 11 million. Now, to be truthful, this is heresay on my part. My girlfriend at the time worked for the team, and one of my best friends also worked for the team. I got what I know from them. Whether any is true, who knows, but I would make the assumption they would have an inside track. One was an insider, one was not, but both had access to at least rumors from team officials. Again, this still doesn't clear Karmanos from any wrong doing, at the end of the day, the blame falls squarely on his head. That being said, there is stillplenty of other blame to be spread out...

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Well, the $43 million figure is from a letter to Rowland signed by Peter Karmanos...can't get much more credible in fact. And based on the article, the team demanded those losses be covered. Upon further review, it looks like the state was willing to subsidize about $21 million of the losses...leaving a difference of about $22 million. In my opinion, Rowland should have told Karmanos to take a hike the second he demanded subsidies for operating losses. Even if Karmanos accepted that offer, it would have set an awful precedent. If there is blame to go around on the state side, it should go to Lowell Weicker who played a role in Karmanos and company getting the team. Based on everything I have read, the fate of that franchise was sealed on that June day in 1994. Of course, the market should also be blamed. Had more fans showed up in the early and mid-90s, there wouldn't have been as many sharks (read-potential owners) smelling blood in the water and positioning themselves to buy the franchise and move the team. Bottom line: Peter Karmanos was NOT interested in owning an NHL franchise in the city of Hartford, CT. Given that fact, I can't really blame any state official who came after the franchise was sold in 1994.

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