Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Love Letter?

To the good folks at The Fan 960, Calgary Sports Talk Radio:

Like everyone making the effort to email you, I am both sad and ticked that the NHL season looks dead. But what I resent most is the notion that this is happening for the sake of, among others, the Calgary Flames.

A 60-cent dollar and 7 years of lousy teams made it conventional wisdom that Calgary is some kind of weak sister in the NHL family. This is absolutely ridiculous. Toronto is the only hockey market with a greater base of wealth and fan interest - Calgary could compete in the NHL with absolutely no restrictions on salaries or player movement.

Imagine that Michael Feterik had not sold the Stamps; instead, he came out hard for a strict hard salary cap, saying that the CFL in Calgary is doomed if Toronto and Vancouver are allowed to outspend them.

You would be forgiven, I think, for laughing in his face. I can certainly imagine Joe Sports saying something like, "This is a great football town. Get someone in here who knows something about running a team and you'll be fine. And if you won't, sell it to someone who will."

Now compare Calgary's considerable enthusiasm for the Stamps to April and May on the Red Mile - that is obviously orders of magnitude larger. The Calgary Flames have absolutely no economic excuse for a lack of success. If Harley Hotchkiss and Ken King want to defend the lockout and obliteration of the season on behalf of Nashville and Atlanta, fine, but do not tell Calgary's hockey fans that this is for us. Balderdash.


Matt in Lethbridge


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