Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rumors, Recklessness, and Responsibility


Want to hear a rumor?

The Hockey News could be acquired by the National Enquirer.

In the realm of possibility? Sure.

Probable? Not very.

A rumor. Somewhere in the realm of the possible, but not likely. If I threw this rumor out there, based on the fact that , yes, it is possible although not probable, I am trafficking in the laughable.

Yet the Hockey News and Ken Campbell would chose to traffic in a rumor that the Predators COULD POSSIBLY relocate to Kansas City and the vacant Sprint Center. In his March 22nd column "Campbell's Cuts", Ken Campbell speculates that the Nashville Predators could be a team on the move, specifically to the aforementioned Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Campbell is no stranger to his venom and hatred toward the Nashville Franchise. In a February 12, 2008 blog on the Hockey News website entitled "Why Not Just Move the Predators Now?", Campbell asserts that the Predators should just pack up and move to Kansas City. This article appeared AFTER the new ownership group was announced and the lease between the Predators and the City of Nashville was re-worked. Campbell's money quote in his article of 2008 was this,

"We all know that this lease simply bought Nashville a little more time to play hockey with the big boys before it goes back to being the minor league hockey city it should have always been. We all know the Predators will leave after the 2009-10 season when they lose $20 million or don't average 14,000, or both."

Sorry to disappoint you, Ken, but it ain't happening. And no matter how much you disparage the Nashville market or the Predators franchise, hockey is solid and growing here, and is here to stay.

You want to traffic in rumors, Ken? Then you at least owe your readers full disclosure of the basis for your rumors. To throw this nonsense out there with no basis in fact is like me starting the rumor that the Hockey News is going to be acquired by the Enquirer.

Let's talk about that vacant Sprint Center for just a moment. AEG owns the Sprint Center. AEG is also the owner of the Los Angeles Kings. Phillip Anshutz, the owner of AEG, was victimized by that slick con "Boots" Del Biaggio to the tune of $17MM which was ostensibly used as part of his payment to buy an interest in the Predators. Oh by the way, Anshutz didn't bother to disclose this loan which would have represented cross ownership of another NHL franchise in violation of the by-laws and constitution of the NHL. There is no doubt that Del Biaggio was Anshutz's mole in the Predators operation and was attempting to backdoor the local ownership to move the franchise to Kansas City.

So the only connection to Kansas City, and it is a tenuous one, is with a convicted felon working clandestinely for another owner to move an existing franchise into that owner's vacant building. Sneaky is the nicest thing you can say about this tangled mess and the actions of AEG and Anshutz. Did you bother to include these facts in your reporting of a rumor that has no basis in fact or truth?

Does this checkered past mean that the Preds are moving to Kansas City? Absolutely not. Does the rocky relationship with the rocket scientists on the Nashville Sports Authority mean the Predators are doomed in Nashville? Definitely not.

The relationship with the Sports Authority is less than stellar. Tell me of any franchise that has a perfect relationship with their landlord. Tell me of any franchise that has an exemplary relationship with the city in which they reside. There are none. Sure, some are better than others, but none are perfect. They never will be.

Your "rumors" about relocation of the Nashville franchise are reckless and border on the sensationalism one would expect from the Enquirer. Keep it up, and you have a future there.

It's obvious that you have never liked the fact that Nashville has an NHL franchise. That's fine. You have a responsibility to your readers to state honestly why you don't like the NHL in Nashville. More than anything, you have a responsibility to traffic in truth and not specious rumor. If you want to report rumors, there are several blogs out there that would welcome you. Reckless reporting such as this does a disservice to your readers and to your employer.

Sure, the Predators have had difficulties during their short time in the NHL. These were the making of an absentee owner and a con man that wormed his way into the local ownership group. That's unfortunate, and it has created problems for the franchise. But the fact you refuse to acknowledge is that hockey is growing and succeeding in Nashville.The Predators have sunk deep roots in the community and they are growing the fan base and corporate support every year. Your vitriol and rumors will not change that fact.

You have a wide audience, and spouting these rumors are nothing but an attempt to damage a franchise. That is reckless and irresponsible. You are better than this.

Then again, maybe we shouldn't expect better out of you.

By the way, did you hear the rumor about Ken Campbell...


  1. Excellent! I don't think some of the MSM is called out enough when they make ideas of possibility sound like probability. It's not fair.

  2. Have you sent this in as a letter to the editor of the Hockey News? Agree 100%, but I think we know you're preaching to the choir here. If Campbell read your blog, he wouldn't be saying the things he does. His irresponsible writing needs to be called out to his employer.

  3. Someone needs to publish the facts that have been uncovered - locally and nationally. The mole situation is just a insidious as Ballsilly. I can't understand why anyone would want the sport to fail anywhere considering the increase in support with recognition and money.

  4. I have not, but probably will do so.

  5. I get the same frustration when I write all the time. You put your time in, do your homework, and make sure everything you put down is right. Then some buffoon writes a piece that is beyond reckless and scathing. Now sometimes scathing is needed but when facts are not researched, it becomes a major concern. I am glad someone called him out on it. Thanks Mark.

  6. Well done, as always, Mark. I love your insight into the business side of the franchise. And agreed with Paul Nich's comments... worthy of a letter to the editor. Albeit the same editor that published the rubbish of a story to begin with.

  7. I'm not convinced that Campbell doesn't like the idea of hockey in Nashville. I think he and many others honestly believe that this city can't support an NHL team, but their belief is based on little more than a "gut feeling" and not grounded in actual data. They need to get past their preconceptions and do some actual research before reaching a conclusion.

  8. As a Canadian hockey fan, I simply don't understand the Canadian hockey media's antipathy toward non-traditional markets. It's like they have never considered the possibility or ability of growing the sport throughout North America. It's quite stunning in it's collective, sustained ignorance.

  9. I say we take him out back and break his knee know, make him an offer he can't refuse...

  10. As a resident of Nashville and season ticket holder of the Preds I can tell you it's not just Ken Campbell that spews negativity toward our beloved team. The Tennessean newspaper goes out of it's way on a, close to, daily basis to bash the Preds and all it's fans. But much to their chagrin "WE AIN'T GOIN NOWHERE"

  11. As much as I hate hockey in the Sun Belt (despite being a Canucks Fan in Sharks territory benefiting from what a well-run organization in a non-traditional market can do) I've grown to respect the Nashville market. The same cannot be said of the Miami, Phoenix and Atlanta markets. I would like to see the two SE teams I mentioned moved to the west and put Dallas and Minnesota in the Central for more natural geographical rivalries.

  12. Canadian Media have no integrity. That is all...

  13. Campbell likely doesn't have a single source for any of the rumors he posted. He wrote that Atlanta was possibly moving to Seattle.

    As a Detroit native living in Seattle, I would love a hockey team here. However, by citing Seattle, Campbell showed just how little (or no) research he does. Seattle doesn't even have an arena with NHL specs, has a taxpayer base that hates paying for sports yet loves to approve taxes on just about everything else imaginable, and let the basketball team go.

    While I don't really care what happens to the Preds, I agree with you that Campbell is not reliable.

  14. I see lots of hate toward THN on here and maybe that is just, considering the lack of facts in Campbells article. But, there is no evidence refuted in this blog. What are the attendence numbers in Nashville? Below 14,000 and thats with a playoff team. Your franchise is losing $10-15M a year that`s published. So, how again, is hockey growing in Nashville? if you are going to refute an article you disagree with, respond with some proof.

  15. Wrong on both counts, Kelly. Not just wrong, but BAD wrong. Attendance well over 14K and the franchise logged a small profit last season. No numbers yet for 2010, so you can't say if they mad or lost money. Your recklessness is as bad as Campbell's

  16. @ThomasPratt01:

    There's A LOT of bitterness in Canada towards the South ever since the Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques left town in the mid-90s. The perception here is that the NHL is anti-Canadian in that it did nothing to help the cities of Quebec City and Winnipeg keep their teams despite the fan support both cities showed and is doing all it can to prop up teams in markets that have spotty records to say the least. I personally think we wouldn't be hearing any rumours like this if the NHL actually tried to undo the damage of the loss of the Jets and Nords instead of providing lip service, because then there wouldn't be the idea that our market is being ignored. Having said that, it may also be time for the NHL to take an honest look at its Southern teams and figure out which teams it wants to keep and which ones it can live without, because the truth is that every year we're faced with a story of a "Southern team in trouble". If it's not Nashville it's Carolina or Atlanta or Dallas or Phoenix or Tampa Bay or Florida...enough's enough. I personally believe there's a market because these teams do have spurts of success- it's just not big enough to support the amount of teams that it has.