As previously mentioned by wi, I have tons of useless things to say, and now she's given me a piece of the internet to dump them on. Without further ado...
I attended a luncheon today where Ken King was the keynote. I've heard Ken several times over the years, and he is an excellent speaker and ambassador for hockey and his teams. He looks to be in better shape every time I see him, and he's pretty proud to be 60 pounds lighter (good on him I say).
So Mr. King was a little cautious about the potential for media in the room; he said that after one of these engagements, he got back to the office and the girl at the front desk was reading notes from his speech off a blog. Lucky for him, he won't get this until the next day. Most of the talk was general thoughts on success in business and life. Sincere, well delivered, and valuable. Nothing too earth shattering, and he only really dealt with hockey in the q&a. The hockey related highlights:
New Arena - 3-5 years they plan to roll out a complete proposal. Two potential sites both located near the 'dome with the land already in hand. He got ahead of the important question ("Who's gonna to pay for it?"), and just asked that people don't pre-judge the proposal before its made. He thinks everyone has an opinion of the public value of a new facility, but he doesn't want to presume a financing structure at this stage. In support of the discussion, apparently 1.8 million people travel through the 'dome every year among all of its various events. As for the Saddledome, it would be "decommissioned from its current use". Let's just say the monster truck rally might need to find a new barn.
Hamilton Blackberries (or maybe, RIMjobs?) - He was asked why the Flames voted against Balsillie's proposal (since the BoG vote was unanimous against). The meetings are confidential, but he had an interesting take on the role of the league. He said when you attend the meeting, you have 30 people all working together as partners to make the NHL the best it can be, and then as soon as you leave the room you want nothing more than to destroy those 29 opponents. He suggested that it takes a special kind of trust to make that type of partnership operate, so you need to know that the rules are going to be followed. Balsillie was flaunting those rules before he was even part of the group. That said, he does think that Balsillie will some day obtain a team through a more "conventional" process.
Winnipeg Nordiques/Quebec Jets - At the end of the discussion on a theoretical Hamilton team, there was a little follow up convo on the potential impacts on Buffalo, the large number of Flames jerseys in the stands last Friday, and whether the Flames were the "Switzerland" of the NHL (i.e. when your home team isn't playing, you cheer for the Flames). Out of this came the comment that the most likely new Canadian franchise would be Quebec City. Apparently, french language television generates quite a bit of revenue, which is currently the exclusive domain of the Habs. According to Mr. King, tv revenue is second only to ticket sales in team economics, and Quebec City should have enough of both to harbour a team. News is not so good for the 'peg. The quote was something along the lines of, "If you could run a team on emotional capital, Winnipeg would have two." Unfortunately, that's just not enough.
A-town Heat - The Heat are apparently averaging around 3,000 per game, with a break-even of 3,200 or so, therefore currently running a deficit. They are working on some joint marketing with Chilliwack, as it would seem the two teams are competing for the same butts anyways.
Flu Shots - Not much here that hasn't already been overcooked, but he just went back over the decisions to say at that moment in time it made logical sense to have a family clinic for the team, and no one was ever trying to slip one past or step in front of a person with greater need. Besides the team themselves, 15 children under 5-years, 3 pregnant women, and 3 at-risk people with other illness were part of the "family" that were immunized.
There you go, not too punchy, but at least its long and dull. Sad to say I didn't win the pair of tickets to tonight's game (or the autographed Kipper jersey) that he gave away, so I'll be parked in front of the tube. Thanks again WI for the room to breathe.
Go Flames Go!!!