Hodgemail: If you rated NHL owners, who would be 1 and 30? Staff

1/19/2012 1:26:35 PM

It was a sight to behold for hockey fans and media alike.

In the midst of head coach John Tortorella's post-game news conference this week, New York Rangers owner James Dolan couldn't hold back his excitement for his league-leading NHL team.

"Glen (Sather) and I actually had a pact," he told reporters. "I actually gave him something that I won't reveal what it is. I said, 'You can't give it back to me until we win the Stanley Cup.' And I think I'm getting pretty close to getting that thing back."

Ah, to be an NHL owner. A pretty cool job, when you think about it. Millions of dollars to play with and the ability (at least on paper) to mold your team any which way you want. And your players just love you, right? After all, you're the one who signs their cheques.

And for most hockey fans, you're pretty much a household name. They'll hang by every move you make and everything you say. Some are known to be active in the operation of their team, while some are not.

And of course, some are considered to just be better at it than others.

So here was Dave's question to you: "If you rated the NHL owners, who would be 1 and who would be 30?"

Dave writes,

Thanks for participating and welcome to this edition of Hodgemail on You'll excuse my absence from the usual video presentation as I am recovering from knee surgery - it was successful (as they always say).

There's a wide variety of opinion on the best and the worst of NHL owners. Here are some that caught my eye.
"Number 1 is Mark Chipman in Winnipeg. He's got business savvy, patience, diplomacy and he was smart enough to join forces with the richest guy in Canada." - from RON
"Carolina's Peter Karmanos has to be number 1. Have you seen those cheerleaders?" - from SHELDON
"The worst owner is the owner of the Phoenix Coyotes - the NHL." - from MARK
"Number 1 should be Geoff Molson. You can't hate anyone associated with an ice-cold beer, can you?" - from DONNY
"Number 1 is Detroit's Mike Ilitch. The franchise is like a family and he supports the players accordingly, and gives them free pizza." - from LORNE
"The worst is Charles Wang, a Jerry Jones-Al Davis wannabe, except he gets others to do the work and they do it badly. And then there's that arena." - from BRANDON
"MLSE is number 30 til the Leafs win the Stanley Cup." - from JAMIE
"Number 1 is Eugene Melnyk, the Senators' saviour. We'll celebrate the All-Star Game under his leadership and under our brand new Bell HD Big Screen." - from MICHAEL
And Dave's Reply to All:
Number one by reputation is number one deserved in my opinion.

Mike Ilitch and family in Detroit have won four Stanley Cups, and for that and other reasons, Hockeytown is a popular destination for players. There is stability in Detroit's front office and behind the bench. The Wings have drafted well and have spent money wisely.

A common misconception is that a good owner is one who is able and willing to spend money, and a bad one is the opposite.

By that measure, Terry Pegula became the NHL's best owner when he lifted the Buffalo Sabres to the top of the NHL's salary chart.

He did so because he could, and because he was a diehard fan of the team, the men who ran it and the players who wore its uniform.

Well, he's not so popular now, because too much of his money was spent on the wrong players, and he's unwilling to admit it or to fire the general manager who chose those players or the coach who deploys them.

Pegula had the best of intentions, but now he owns the most troubled team in the NHL, and neither his passion nor his money can fix it.

He's an owner without answers, and answers are more valuable than money.
'Til next time, thanks for this time on Hodgemail on