While National Hockey League (NHL) fans from coast to coast eagerly await a decision coming out of a court room in Arizona regarding the fate of the proposed move of the Phoenix Coyotes to southern Ontario by Blackberry founder and billionaire Jim Balsillie, Home Hardware owner/operators throughout Canada have thrown their support behind the transfer, including Stan Luchak of the Rimbey outlet.
“I think it’s a good idea. Home Hardware supports hockey in Canada and it’s an excellent thing to get behind,” Luchak said. “Whether we can use another NHL team or support it, we’ll find out but the people that are in the know about hockey think that it can happen and that the population base in southern Ontario is there to support it, so I’m in favour of it.”
Depending on the outcome of a bankruptcy hearing trying to determine ownership of the team involving the NHL and the team’s current owner Jerry Moyes, there is a possibility that the Coyotes – who were moved from Winnipeg to the desert in the mid-1990’s, could return to Canada if the court rules in favour of Moyes who accepted a $212.5 million offer from Balsillie last month.
In the meantime however, national business institutions including Home Hardware and Labatt Breweries are all in favour of the move back to the Great White North.
“As active members of more than 1,000 communities large and small across Canada, Home Hardware owners and staff know how important hockey is to our national fabric,” said Paul Straus, vice-president and CEO of Home Hardware. “A new franchise will be a source of pride for all Canadians and we are excited by the possibility of creating more opportunities for Canada’s best players to play on their home ice, in front of hometown fans.”
As for the local franchise, Luchak admitted he isn’t really that big of a hockey fan, but he’s well aware of the importance of the game north of the border.
“I’m a little bit of a hockey fan because I’m Canadian and I know that Canada is hockey, so I’m all for it and I hope they get it,” he said adding that he also has a soft spot for other sporting and recreational activities. “We support kid’s programs – especially in rural Alberta so we support 4-H and junior golf, but with respect to hockey specifically, no we haven’t over the years.”
For more information on the campaign online, check out: makeitseven.ca.