TORONTO — Bill Daly says a second NHL franchise in Southern Ontario is possible and that the Toronto Maple Leafs can’t do anything to stop it.
The league’s deputy commissioner made the comments Monday at a sports management conference.
In response to a question about the inevitability of another team in the region simply because of the ecomomic benefits, Daly replied: “I suppose, without talking about time frame, there may be.”
Daly added that the team would not be located in Hamilton because the city’s Copps Coliseum, “doesn’t provide modern-day NHL economics.”
BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie tried to buy the Phoenix Coyotes out of bankruptcy court this summer and relocate them to Hamilton to play out of a renovated Copps. Daly described the planned arena upgrades as “a pie-in-the-sky kind of deal.”
During a panel discussion, Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke said if a strong business case for a second team in the region could be made, his team would not be opposed.
Daly said the NHL doesn’t need Maple Leafs approval.
“They can be dead-set against it,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean they can stop the league from putting a franchise here if the league thinks a franchise here makes sense.”