A Toronto lawyer will pitch Hamilton city council Wednesday on a plan that could bring an NHL hockey team to the city.
City officials say Richard Rodier, a lawyer with HHC Acquisition Corp., will appear before council with a bid to take over the management of Copps Coliseum.
According to Hamilton city councillor Terry Whitehead, Rodier's plan is to obtain an NHL team that will play at the arena, and then take over operation of the facility.
"We are all approaching this cautiously and with lots of cynicism because we have been down this road before," Whitehead told the Globe and Mail.
"We are looking at partnerships that are in the best interests of the taxpayers of this community because we certainly have our fiscal challenges," added Whitehead, who is also the vice chairman of the current operator of the arena, city-owned Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc.
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The city contributes roughly $2 million annually to HECFI.
Rodier declined to comment on any plans to acquire an NHL team or to say who is backing his proposal.
A major roadblock in bringing an NHL franchise to Hamilton is the issue of territorial rights.
According to NHL rules, any club moving within an 80-kilometre radius of another team is required to pay a fee. In the case of Hamilton, they would have to pay territorial rights fees to the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Last year, HHC lost a bid to buy the bankrupt Ottawa Senators and move the team to Hamilton.
In 1991, another group of investors made a failed bid to buy an expansion franchise for Hamilton. The NHL awarded teams to Ottawa and Tampa Bay instead.