An Actual Hockey Person
Don't know what's going to happen with Jim Balsillie's longshot bid to put an NHL team in Hamilton over the next few days.
But he's finally got a bonafide hockey man and NHL insider on his team.
Doug MacLean confirmed to The Star this morning that he has joined Balsillie's organization as a hockey "advisor." MacLean has extensive experience with NHL expansion clubs and started the Columbus Blue Jackets from the ground up. The likelihood is that he would become a senior executive with a Hamilton team, but he wasn't speculating on the future this morning.
"I'm an advisor, that's it," he said.
For the first time, then, Balsillie's group has an actual NHL insider on its roster, an individual who has been to NHL board of governors meetings and personally knows most of the movers and shakers at the highest level of the league. In fact, MacLean almost became part of a group that was going to buy the Tampa Bay Lightning several years ago before the tandem of Oren Koules and Len Barrie took on that particular project.
MacLean has spent the last few seasons working on television with Sportsnet and on the FAN590, co-hosting an afternoon show with Jack Armstrong.
Some might quibble with his hockey credentials - although what he left behind in Columbus looks pretty darn good now, doesn't it? - there's no question the affable and quotable Prince Edward Island native would be a perfect front man for hockey in Hamilton.
That, of course, may still be a distant dream. But at least instead of suits and lawyers, there's an actual hockey man associated with Balsillie's push to take the Phoenix Coyotes and move them to Canada.