Wednesday, November 29, 2006

THE RECORD.COM | Penguins could be moved, Bettman warns

Canadian press reports:
THERECORD.COM | INSIDER | Penguins could be moved, Bettman warns Team's future in Pittsburgh uncertain if casino plan nixed, NHL commish says
The last minute charge to lock up an Isle of Capri victory for the stand alone slots license is being waged from Canada.

Just yesterday I was ranting about the International Olympic Committee and urging them to side with the Canadian women who want to get medals in Vancouver in 2010 in ski jumping. Now today, we need to break the peace and harmony with this ploy to pit them against us for a team that's mascot is only found in the other hemisphere.

Did you know that there are no Penguins, other than Tux, that reside in the North. Tux is everywhere. So, moving the Penguins to Canada would be taking them farther from their natural homelands. So there.

Perhaps, if the Penguins move, we can save the Civic Arena and turn it into an indoor ski jumping venue. Then the outdoor course can be built off of Mt. Washington with its landing zone near the foot of the casino in Station Square.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

full article:

Penguins could be moved, Bettman warns

Team's future in Pittsburgh uncertain if casino plan nixed, NHL commish says

PITTSBURGH (Nov 29, 2006)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman warned yesterday that the Penguins' future in Pittsburgh is uncertain if the Isle of Capri casino chain isn't awarded a licence next month to build a slot machines parlour in the city.

Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. has promised to build a $290 million US arena to replace 45-year-old Mellon Arena, at no cost to taxpayers or the team, if awarded the license. The other two applicants are expected to provide money toward an arena, but neither would fully fund a new building.

"If the Isle of Capri doesn't get the licence, we've got a lot of uncertainty to deal with, and it's best for everybody and the franchise that we're not dealing in uncharted and uncertain waters,'' Bettman said.

With the Penguins free to relocate once their Mellon Arena lease expires in June, city and county officials are working on an alternate plan if Isle of Capri doesn't get the license. Allegheny County chief executive Dan Onorato has pledged an arena will be built even if it is not fully paid for by casino money, and parcels of land near Mellon Arena already have been acquired for the project.

Bettman met yesterday with Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, but wasn't willing afterward to embrace the alternative plan -- if only because doing so would weaken the argument made by the NHL and the team that the Isle of Capri plan is easily the best option.

"I think I've been very clear about this: We want the Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh,'' Bettman said. "This is a great market, there are great fans here, and we would like nothing better for Pens to have a new arena . . . and on the right economic terms, so we don't have to worry about the long-term viability of the franchise.

"If we have to deal with something else, a lot of factors come into play and I can't be as certain about the future.''

Bettman said he wasn't trying to be "an alarmist'' by warning that the Penguins' future in Pittsburgh is in doubt if Isle of Capri isn't chosen.

"If Isle of Capri gets the licence, the building comes in the ground, the Penguins stay in Pittsburgh, where I think they belong, and this thing is over,'' he said.

Bettman said there was minimal talk with Onorato and Ravenstahl about the alternative plan.

"We all agreed it's important for the Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh and that's what we all want,'' Bettman said. "It's vital for the Penguins to get a new arena, they need one desperately. That is the scenario that best deals with the future of the team in Pittsburgh.''

Mellon Arena, originally built in 1961 as a home for the Pittsburgh opera, is the NHL's oldest arena and one of its smallest.

Bettman's remarks were similar to those made last week to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board by Waterloo businessman Jim Balsillie, who expects to be approved as the new Penguins owner by mid-December. Balsillie will meet Monday with the executive committee of the NHL's board of governors; no opposition to his ownership is anticipated.

Balsillie told the gaming board, which expects to choose the slots licence winner on Dec. 20, that selecting Isle of Capri's plan to build the arena and a $450 million casino near the current arena would remove the "cloud of uncertainty'' hovering over the Penguins.