Even I Have To Begrudingly Admit... *BUMP*
As for the politics of it....Flirts with becoming a mockery, but so long as it can stay on the right side of the line...Not a terrible political pledge.
Policy-wise? Notsomuch. But hey, this is an election. Apparently policy debate and elections don't get to mix.
Here's what I wrote via email to a friend just now:
I must be going soft, because as the day has worn on, I'm actually becoming a fan of the hockey pitch. It's just ballsy enough to catch the attention of many of the undecided boys and men that we need coming out to the voting booth. (The story played on the front page of both TSN.ca and Sportsnet.ca. You can't buy that type of gender specific profile of reader.) It'll start a legitimate debate over the next couple of days. AND the idea of using a bond, sport tax and lottery to fund it eases the burden on the tax payer direct. I'm pretty much convinced that the NHL will be returning one day (just not as soon as Hugh would be suggesting), and there's at least three teams moving in the next couple of seasons (Nashville, Atlanta, Florida). At least one or two of those teams end up north of the border, and Winnipeg has momentum even amongst US hockey media because they want the league to add another exciting hockey city.
Now, can Winnipeg afford a team? Yeah, they probably can. After all, there is far more disposable income in the city than there was ten years ago. Think about how many Eric Clapton, CSNY, Gwen Stefani and Red Hot Chilli Peppers shows there have been thru the city in the last three years. People - for better or for worse - are willing to spend more on entertainment. While the season ticket subscriptions might not be the highest, I would imagine that five- and ten-game flex packs would sell very well. Also, merchandising availabilities would likely provide a decent income stream into the club.
Guaranteed to work? Not in the least. But a worthwhile shot? Why not? I know I fit the absolute bill as a young professional with decent income who won't go to a Moose game on a free ticket, but would pony up for at least five or six NHL games a season.
Let's see how this plays out.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
James Howard from Slurpees & Murder has stolen the "Hack's Current Favorite Blog Title" from the no-longer posting Heather over at But My Mom Says That I'm Special..., and he's got a pretty original take on today's announcement:
See, as you'll recall from your introductory Political Studies courses -- or as I'll recall for you, if you prefer -- the classical understanding of small-C conservatism is to protect the status quo against those unsavoury pie-in-the-sky radicals that would ruin our collective society by making dramatic changes just for the sake of change. And classic small-L liberalism is based on the continued evolution of society to better the lives of the individual, rearranging whatever structures necessary to make incremental progress and keep the existing system from trodding on the common man.
With that in mind, and to recap our current Manitoba setup: the NDP platform is to guard our existing system as-is rather than risk any dramatic changes, and the Conservative platform is to change everything now now now to make things better for individual Manitobans. Oh, and the Liberal platform is to push hard for social justice and environmental rights if it means spending every last dime we have.
I don't even know where to begin with this.
Heh. The Poli-sci student in me giggles.
Check out the rest of Howard's clever post, complete with pictures of a luchador destined to soon prowl the halls of the MTS Centre if Hugh McFadyen gets his way.
Dan Lett adds his two cents. So does six-year old Sean Lett. Dan could very well be right, however I believe he's missing the point of this announcement. It wasn't about overpaying a bunch of shinny players to amuse the poor robbed masses. It's about offering hope that Winnipeg can still be more than its current path suggests. On that, I have to support it out of near principle. For all the talk about us needing to aim higher, when it comes to the NHL, all of a sudden we're expected to settle once again. The symbolism is important providing we can make most of the numbers dance.
Curtis Brown is aiming for more. He doesn't just want the Jets, but the Winnipeg Fury and Winnipeg Thunder as well. I'll leave the soccer to my sisters who have been infatuated with the game following Premiership Football and the early days of the Toronto FC, but my only memory of a Winnipeg Thunder game is absolutely wonderful. For it was at a Thunder game that I broke character and someone assumed the role of a junior high school mack daddy, convincing the pretty girl from Glenboro that of all the young boys at Manitoba Space Camp, yours truly was the one worth spending the game with. Back to today's announcement, I think Curtis overshoots on his critique here:
Did Hugh really and honestly suggest that an NHL franchise in Winnipeg would keep someone from taking a big-dollar job in Alberta? Oh, he did? And he said it with a straight face too?
I mean it's not like Hugh directly made the connection. He's obviously alluding to....*whisper, whisper* What's that? *whisper, whisper* He didn't say 'Absolutely', did he? *whisper, whisper while nodding* Okay, that's just dumb. I'm with Curtis on that one.
HOWEVER! That being said....I have friends from Brandon who have lived in Calgary for years. Got speaking to them both at a wedding over the weekend. Both are exactly the type of ex-pats Manitoba would do well to target and target hard. While a NHL team wouldn't seal the deal, I have little doubt that it would help grease the skids on the sleigh aimed eastward. Both are dedicated Flames fans, attending about four or five games a year. Again, exactly the type of couple needed to make the team (and in the bigger picture - the province) work.
I'll be curious to hear what the ball club thinks of this on opening night this Wednesday. All are twenty-somethings. Most, if not all with post-secondary education. I wonder how much will be negative comments and how much will play into the "hope for the city" angle?
Because that's the mix that will determine if this pig flies or not.
Last Update Before Bed:
The pledge makes the national edition of Prime Time Sports!
Bob McCowen: "Manitoba politicians promise to bring back the
Stephen Brunt: Are people really that stupid to believe it when politicians.....*breaks off, chuckles and acknowledges....*
Bob McCowen: *nodding up and down*
Doug Smith, the TorStar Raptors guy says the building's too small (no), the concourse is too small (probably) and that "the area" is too small (center of the universe jabroni!), though McCowen mentions that they had the designer of the building on the show shortly after the grand opening and said designer told them that the roof could be raised to put some more seats in the upper deck. (This I never knew.)
They all acknowledge that teams are going to start moving, with Brunt putting Winnipeg on the "check out" list, but behind Kansas City and the now-ready-to-shun-the-NBA Las Vegas (which is a city I frankly want to see happen in a bad way anyhow).
Overall though, they got a chuckle out of the pledge and I'm now ready for bed.
Okay, I lied. One more before I go. Look who else might be ready for a return sojourn to River City:
Phoenix Coyotes housecleaning swept out veteran TV voice Curt Keilbeck, who began his association with the franchise in Winnipeg, when the Jets joined in the NHL in 1979. Keilbeck, 58, said he was shocked and disappointed. [link]