NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke passionately on his weekly radio show Thursday about the Coyotes situation and how it is "fixable" because there is a relatively new arena in Glendale and a passionate fan base in the growing Phoenix area.
"I know people will point to Winnipeg and Quebec, but let me refresh recollections," Bettman said. "In both of those cities the buildings were old and antiquated and the current owners at that time didn't want to own them anymore. Despite all the efforts to find buyers for those franchises, we couldn't find them to keep them there. There was no prospect of new buildings and those teams couldn't survive in the buildings they were in. That's why the franchises moved.
"There is a brand new building in Phoenix. There are people that are supportive of the franchise and want to keep it there."
Bettman again stressed that the League's fight to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, or out of Hamilton, is not about Jim Balsillie, who has been thwarted in his previous attempts to purchase an NHL franchise.
"I never personalize this because it's not personal," he said.
"What you don't do is just abandon places to go somewhere else because somehow you think you have a divine right to a franchise in a particular place," Bettman added. "This is about a league structure and a covenant that every game has to have with its fans. Otherwise you don't have the stability you need to stay in business. To portray the whole debate as anything else does a disservice to the fans of the game."