The Buffalo Sabres have been silent from the start on the prospect of the Phoenix Coyotes moving to Hamilton, Ont. At first, it was because Sabres minority owner Larry Quinn didn’t put much credence into the possibility of a team up the road. Now, the uncertainty regarding the pending outcome of the Coyotes’ bankruptcy case has led to more silence by virtually all parties.
Nonetheless, a Hamilton city councilor isn’t pleased with the lack of chatter. Sam Merulla, who represents Ward 4, has issued a release calling for the Sabres to back a team in his city or risk facing a boycott.
Merulla has already called on his constituents to boycott the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have long regarded Hamilton as their territory.
"The Buffalo Sabres’ silence is deafening on the issue of Hamilton's NHL bid," Merulla said in a release. "If the Buffalo Sabres’ silence means that they are working against Hamilton's bid, then Hamilton and the surrounding area residents should join in boycotting the Buffalo Sabres along with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"Clearly, a Hamilton NHL team is long overdue, and Hamilton is extremely deserving of a NHL team, and with the support of the neighboring NHL communities it would facilitate this endeavor with less obstacles."
The Sabres are expected to make a statement following the conclusion of the bankruptcy hearing. Jim Balsillie has made a $212.5 million offer to buy the Coyotes and move them to Hamilton. Judge Redfield T. Baum has suggested the NHL and Balsillie come to terms on a relocation fee before he decides the case, likely sometime this week.