Today marks 10 years since the news broke that then-Blackberry CEO Jim Balsillie was trying to buy the Nashville Predators and move them to Hamilton, Ontario.
Things looked bad. Attendance was crappy, the Preds were bleeding money, nobody in Nashville seemed to like original owner Craig Leopold and Leopold ordered the fire sale that saw captain Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell and Tomas Vokoun leave after our best season to date.
Balsillie even had the audacity to sell season tickets in Hamilton before the sale was ever finalized. (Honestly, it’s one of the reasons the Preds weren’t moved because it pissed off the NHL and they talked Leopold into selling to a local group.)
Holier-than-thou Canadians and “traditional market fans” mocked us and told us that we didn’t deserve a hockey team. That hockey couldn’t succeed in the South.
Nashville rallied, and the team stayed.
The expansion years, the Save the Team rallies, Radulov fleeing, Suter leaving, Shea’s offer sheet. All of the struggles make this so much sweeter.