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No buyer for Coyotes? So Suomi!/The Red Line

April 12, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

Three years ago May 7, I wrote "A home for abandoned Coyotes," a Red Line column about my efforts to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes using funds raised from the potential acquisition of precious metal deposits under the city of Houghton and move them to the Copper Country.

Two sequels later, the Coyotes are in the playoffs again but are still located in Arizona and still the ward of the NHL state, even though they won their division for the first time and have been to the playoffs three years in a row.

We're still trying to bring NHL hockey to the Copper Country, but two more threats have appeared on the horizon.

The City of Glendale is apparently moving forward in negotiations with former San Jose Sharks executive Greg Jamison, who would try to keep the team in the desert.

I'm not too fazed by this: since the team went bankrupt in 2009, the league has been in 'final negotiations' with about 15 rich guys who said they would keep the team in Phoenix, only for several of them to back out. After all, these are not the kinds of investments that make small fortunes, except for people starting out with large ones.

I am concerned, however, about events in Quebec City. Mayor Regis Lebeaume announced that ground will be broken on an 18,000-seat arena bankrolled by media giant Quebecor to open in 2015.

I miss the Quebec Nordiques. Not just because of their funky logo or their liberal use of the fleur-de-lis, but because unlike Montreal, which has enough Anglophones to cause only a small riot when one was hired to coach the Montreal Canadiens, Quebec City is almost entirely French.

So, if that's a problem for the NHL, allow me to suggest the first Suomophone team in league history, the Calumet Kojootit (Coyotes in Finnish).

Quebec language laws mandate that business signs have the French printed twice as large as English. We'll make the Finnish on the Kojootit logo three times as large - or more. So big the umlauts will be the size of hockey pucks.

Besides, why move an NHL team to Quebec City? That province already has a team. Well, at least in theory.

The playoffs got underway Wednesday and six of the eight teams in the Western Conference have Finns, some of them in major roles like the Nashville Predators' Pekka Rinne. When's someone going to stick up for the Scandanavians?

Of course, if we can't find any big chunks of gold (any construction projects this year?) Well, then we're going to have to sell a lot of jersey advertising, but if you've ever seen a European game, they'll put an ad on the blade of a stick if they can sell it.

So, we've still got a dream. It's not exactly a well-funded dream, but neither are several of the other "done deals" for the Coyotes. You'd figure that after three years of desperately attempting to make a square peg fit into a round hole in the desert, the NHL would be willing to sell to anyone. Even me.

And if that doesn't work out, the other New York team could be on the move if it can't get a new arena. Copper Islanders, anyone?

Brandon?Veale can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at



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