Earlier today, Gary Bettman took to the podium at the All Star Game Weekend or Whatever to talk about a bunch of crap that no one cared about by virtue of it being said by Gary Bettman. But one thing stuck out, and I am in quite a pickle to find myself in agreement with a mortal adversary.
Let’s cut right to it. Here’s the quote. (OK, this wasn’t specifically Bettman, but it was from his parrot-on-the-shoulder, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a similar context to what Bettman fielded questions on):
“It’s not all about money. It’s about commitment to markets.”
Let’s - for a second - leave aside how totally asinine this quote is and give it some context. Apparently Peter Karmanos, a guy who made his money from CompuWare, a company that apparently still exists in some form or another, is losing money. To the tune of borrowing $350+ million from his sons that he can’t repay. Oops. So now he’s thinking about selling his team. Which is fantastic, since this jackass should never have been allowed to maintain control of the team this long anyways. Let’s recap this whole “his team” thing.
For 20 years, up in midstate Connecticut, the Hartford Whalers managed to exist and do the whole pro hockey thing pretty alright. Then Peter Karmanos came along in 1994. He promised to keep the team around until 1998. But, in 1995, he said if they couldn’t sell a certain number of tickets they would leave. The tickets sold. The next year, he demanded more tickets and only sold full-season agreements. The tickets sold. He raised prices 20% the next year. The tickets sold. The fans wanted the team to say. But Karmanos’ mind was made up, and in 1997 - a year early, even aside from the faustian demands - he announced the team would pack its bags for, well, it wasn’t even known at the time. But Raleigh promised a new arena, and in time, to Raleigh he went.
Now, astute readers will identify that the Raleigh metro area is not much larger than Hartford. And that their TV market is not remarkably larger (eh, maybe 10%). And most of all, astute readers will identify that no one gives a shit about ice hockey in the heart of ACC country. But none of that stopped Karmanos. It’s great to hate on Spanos, but imagine if he said “the Chargers are leaving” - but didn’t have a location - just to pick, well, Raleigh. The San Diego and Hartford markets aren’t all that dissimilar. (Oh, and and look forward to 20 years of Goodell shitting all over the San Diego fanbase if you want to replicate the true Hartford Experience)
Well, Karmanos runs out of money on a stupid and failed experiment, his sons run out of money supporting this stupid decision (litigation pending!) and so Karmanos - who apparently gave enough reach-arounds over the years to back-door his way into the Hockey Hall of Fame - turns to his good friend Gary Bettman, and says “buddy, I think I’ve gotta sell the team. There’s some investors up in Hamilton I’m talking to. Understand, they’ve gotta get out of Raleigh or I won’t break even.” And Gary Bettman, Karmanos’ one compatriot in the great parable of “shitting all over Hartford” says to him: “It’s not all about money. It’s about commitment to markets.”
BITCH, WHAT. THIS IS FUCKING GARY BETTMAN’S HOUSE. YOUR FRANCHISE IS FUCKING WORTHLESS NOW BITCH. BETTMAN AIN’T SPINNING SHIT PR TWICE YOU FUCKSTICK. GO GET FUCKED BY A MACE COVERED IN GHOST PEPPERS. I HOPE YOU DIE ALONE, OR BETTER YET, I HOPE YOU DIE SURROUNDED BY YOUR THREE SONS, SO YOU CAN WATCH THEM ARGUE OVER WHO GETS TO KEEP YOUR HOSPITAL BED AS YOU DESCEND INTO HELL. FUCK YOU KARMANOS, WE WAITED YOU OUT, AND THE WHOLE CITY OF HARTFORD WILL LAUGH AS YOU END UP LOSING $100-200M DOLLARS ABANDONING A CITY THAT FOUGHT AT EVERY TURN TO KEEP YOU.
OH, AND P.S., IF YOU STAYED UP HERE THE TEAM WOULD BE WORTH DOUBLE, JUST ASK WANG.
OH, AND P.P.S., FUCK YOU