If the prospects of bringing the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton isn't enough for hockey fans in southwestern Ontario to salvate over, Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post reports that a "mystery group" reportedly has $1 billion to spend on bringing a second National Hockey League team to the Greater Toronto Area.
Fitz-Gerald wrote in his article:
A mysterious group claiming to have $1 billion in private financing has scheduled a media conference for Friday morning to announce a "vision" for a National Hockey League expansion team in Toronto, touting a plan that has been in the works for five years.
In an ambitious media release issued Thursday, the group promises to discuss arena plans, as well as a team name and jersey. It is not known whether the group is the same one that met with NHL officials earlier this year to discuss plans for placing a team in the Toronto suburb of Vaughan.
According to the media release, the announcement Friday will also honour "Canadian heroes while supporting cancer research, national scholarships and children's charities."
The notion of a second team in Southern Ontario has been popularized by the bankruptcy proceedings in an Arizona court, where Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie is engaged in a war with the NHL to relocate the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton. Balsillie tendered an offer of US$212.5-million to buy the team last month, after owner Jerry Moyes filed the team for bankruptcy.
The NHL has protested, and all sides are scheduled to meet in front of Judge Redfield T. Baum again on Tuesday, in Phoenix.
"It's a completely separate item," a spokesperson for the new group said Thursday. "It's about an expansion team. It has nothing to do with any type of relocation of that nature. And it's for the 2012-13 season."
Whether or not this report leads to some tangible big news announcement on Friday morning in Toronto, it remains to be seen. This could end up as just another group of investors that unveil plans that may or may not see the light of day, but primarily to turn up the heat on the NHL to strongly consider the Golden Horseshoe region to have another team regardless of what happens to the Coyotes.