First it was the Phoenix Coyotes that are still in bankruptcy court, now it appears that Tampa Bay, New York Islanders and The Florida Panthers all could be in trouble financially. You have to wonder if some of the teams in the NHL are going to tumble like a house of cards. You have to wonder how many teams can even make payroll. You have a few teams in markets in the nontraditional hockey market of the South that aren't really traditional hockey markets and it appears to be showing up on the balance sheets and in the attendance figures. Watch a game in Atlanta, Tampa Bay and or Miami (Florida Panthers) and there are not a lot of people in the stands. Of course these teams stunk the last couple years but none the less. You have to wonder If Jim Balsillie doesn't get the Coyotes he can probably stand by and wait because eventually another team will file for bankruptcy and I don't know if the NHL brass will be able to prevent him from owning a team. Eventually a Judge is going to rule in his favor.
The NHL has several markets that are in poor shape financially. The most prominent example is that of the Phoenix Coyotes, who are in bankruptcy. The team will be auctioned off very soon, with no clear end in sight to all the litigation and potential financial issues. The Tampa Bay Lightning are probably the NHL's next serious problem. Owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie have barely had enough money to keep the team afloat. With Barrie apparently dropping out due to his financial difficulties, it leaves behind Oren Koules to run an underfunded team with declining fan support.
The Nashville Predators still have a piece of their franchise in bankruptcy. William "Boots" del Biaggio's 27% share in the team is still in bankruptcy court as Boots has been sentenced to jail for fraud. Likely this piece will be purchased by the local Nashville owner's, but it puts a larger financial strain upon them then they originally planned.
The New York Islanders are losing money and playing in an outdated Nassau Coliseum. They are trying to force local politicians on Long Island to fund their Lighthouse Project which would give them a new stadium. As negotiations are not going smoothly, they are expected to push the idea that the team might relocate.
The Florida Panthers have also been a money losing franchise. Owner Alan Cohen has been trying to sell the team for years after overseeing significant losses. He agreed to sell the team to a public company called Sports Properties Acquisition Corporation. [Kukals Korner]
Cross posted at Goon's World.