Readers forum: Penguins / What's next?

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Public leaders thought they were close to a deal for a new arena to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh. But yesterday, team co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle declaring an impasse in the talks and saying they would "aggressively explore relocation." Read story.

Earlier today, asked readers to share their thoughts on the situation. Here's a sampling of the responses.

Stop the bickering and just do it

I have lived in Pittsburgh all my life up until 10 years ago. I moved from Ingomar PA ( North Pittsburgh) to Edinboro, PA and I have continued to support "my Pittsburgh Penguins" hockey club for over 30 + years.

I can not believe that government officials can not see what they will be throwing away by allowing this to happen. The Pittsburgh Penguins are a great part of Pittsburgh Tradition just as the Steelers and the Pirates. Even more important to me being a big big hockey fan.

I travel back home to the Burgh to watch the Pens play as much as I possibly can. Sometimes even through the worst of weather. I make sure that I watch every game on TV that I am not able to attend.

On our drives back to Edinboro, it is amazing to see how many Ontario license plates are in front of us, beside us and pass us ... that are going home from the games just as we are. Just imagine how much revenue this city, county and state of PA will be losing if it allows the Pens to leave. What does it take for you government people to realize? I don't understand how you can not see what you are letting go.

You all act like you are so surprised. Come on now ... It has been in the works for years. I think it is time that this great city that I have been proud of all my life, step up to the plate. It's time for city, county and state officials ... and the governor ... to get with the program and help keep this great part of Pittsburgh ... IN PITTSBURGH. Stop all the bickering and just do it.......

I appreciate you allowing me to voice my opinion.

Thank you,

Rose Merritt
Edinboro, PA

A region in jeopardy

I am a long-time Penguins fan that takes the Port-Authority bus into town to go to my job at Mellon Financial.

In just four months time, my job, transportation, and favorite hockey team have been put in serious jeopardy, due negligence, poor-planning, and lack of loyalty to the city and its people. With a few more blinks of the eye, they could all be gone very shortly.

Having just turned 25, I'm starting to foresee a future that doesn't have Pittsburgh in its plans. City and state officials need to get serious about keeping this city from falling apart, because 5-10 years down the road, there won't be any younger people left in the area to keep the thing running.

Andy Oddo
N. Huntingdon

Unnecessary distractions

What is clear is that the Pens haven't at any point in the last 8 years had as much leverage as they do right now. With a team on the verge of the playoffs and perhaps an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, if they've ever had a chance to try to get as much as they can - now is the time. If all this was going on 2 years ago when they were coming back from a lockout and losing far more games than they won, no one would care. Not to mention the fact that they have the best player in the NHL now as well as a few others who collectively should be perennial All Stars for years to come. This young team deserves a the opportunity to compete for a championship without these unnecessary distractions just as the City of Pittsburgh and Penguins fans everywhere deserve to watch their team hoist Lord Stanley's Cup once again at the Igloo.

John Kowalewski
Pittsburgh, PA

Negotiation surprises

I am not sure why there seems to continue to be "surprises" in these negotiations if everyone is so actively participating in the meetings. It is frustrating to continually hear that "we are close to a deal" yet all of the government officials are surprised by the Penguins actions. Where the heck have they been?!? I think that ever since Governor Rendell got involved there have been continuing negative feelings growing towards the Pens and the possible resolution of this situation. When was the last time you caught a Pens game Governor Rendell? Active negotiations are needed and are needed NOW. Possibly the government officials should remember that they are elected officials and their actions will be taken into consideration at election time. Concessions are two sided. As of late it seem that the Pens have been doing all of the giving. As a season ticket holder I can tell you that the support for the team and the organization is alive and well. Attendance is up, enthusiasm is high, and by the way, we have the most exciting, young, and talented hockey team in the NHL! There will be money made by all, the Penguins, the city, the state. Everybody can win if this is settled. The fans are the true pawns, the ones who have the most to lose and the least ability to affect the outcome. I speak for Section F2, settle this now and let everyone focus on the pursuit of another Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh. Go Pens!

Mark Salopek
Cranberry Twp., PA

Losing more than just a team

Pittsburgh is in NEED of New Arena, not just for the Penguins The Pittsburgh Penguins have suffered from the last 5 seasons until this year, when everyone hopped onto their bandwagon. If they would have done well the last 5 years, there would be no question whether the organization would remain in Pittsburgh.

However if the Penguins do decide to relocate, the city will be losing more than just a team. First of all, the owner of the Penguins (co-owner) will be frowned upon. It's not his fault, it is the cities fault. He has been asking for a new arena for the last 8 years, but it takes a threat to make actions. Next, hundreds of businesses will go bankrupt because their will be no reason for citizens to travel to the Hill any longer. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be lost each year, and city's revenue will decrease because their will be less businesses to pay taxes. Lastly, the city has already lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because of the old arena. The Civic (Mellon) Arena does not only serve as a home for the Penguins, but as an entertainment venue for musicians and other activities (Circus, Ice Performances, Wrestling Venues, Motorcross Events, NCAA Basketball Tournaments, etc.). More of those entertainment performance would be more likely to visit the Pittsburgh Area if a new arena was built (when more entertainment activities come to Pittsburgh, businesses will produce more revenue, it's a common practice in thriving cities).

I am only a college student, and recognize the importance of a well orchestrated arena and developed area for a city. Yes, we have suburban areas which are booming, and Station Square, the North Shore, two beautiful stadiums, a conventiuon center which is already falling apart, but we need more. By not providing a new arena to the city, officials are simply ruining the revenue a new arena would bring. The city is desperate for some changes, and proving a new home for the Penguins and entertainment programs would be a start to putting Pittsburgh back on the map.

I am a true Penguins fan, and this is my position.

Andrew Baldasare
Upper St. Clair

Lament from Virginia

I am writing this from my home in Northern Virginia-not Pittsburgh. I am doing so in large measure due to the day-late and dollar-short myopia of Pennsylvania politicians like Ed Rendell.

I won't be able to buy a ticket and drive five hours to see the Penguins in Kansas City. The thrill will be gone anyway.

People of Western Pennsylvania: won't you at least consider voting for someone other than a Democrat, just so they'll have to stop holding you in such disdain? Is Lynn Swann looking good to you yet?

Bill Lewis
Haymarket, VA

Tired of threats

I say, let them go! I'm tired of hearing the threats from the owners. I think that Pittsburgh and the Governer's office have put all the cards on the table at this point. It is time for the owners to make the draw.

MaryAnn Bruno

Why let the Penguins go?

My young family and I moved to Pittsburgh 5 years ago. Part of what made us CHOOSE Pittsburgh as our new home was the fact that the Penguins were here. This city is on the brink of losing SOOO MUCH. Think of these three things:

The age of the average Penguins fan.

The fact that even if the Pens leave, we still need an arena for other events.

If the Pens leave, who will pay Mellon Arena lease dollars?

I was at Sunday's game. This is a youthful fan base. We need things in Pittsburgh to keep and attract young people. Why let the Pens go?

Mellon Arena is falling apart. It is the only major sports venue in town that is used regularly for other events. If the Pens leave, we still have to replace that arena.

If the Pens leave, then all that revenue leaves with them. Including the lease dollars for Mellon. And how will you then be able to generate revenue to replace the arena? (see #2)

This is common sense. The Pens ownership has given enough. It is time for the city and state to pony up and get this deal done. ENOUGH!!!!!

Jim Southworth from Pittsburgh

Might move away

I already haven't followed the Pirates since the mid 90's because of the players union, player attitudes, and the way the league is set up competitively. If the Pens leave, I could seriously consider moving from an area I've leaved my entire life. After watching local and state politics play out in this city and state over the last 6 years, I wouldn't spend another dime in Allegheny County. If the policitians aren't smart enough, or are too well connected, to sell themselves to a revenue stream like the Penguins, then they don't deserve my money. I'll even feel like a hypocrite spending my money on Pitt football. If the Pens leave, I might finally move away from the miserable weather here.

Kevin Mowry
Level Green, PA

Nobody wins

A deal needs to get done------end of story. Nobody wins if it doesn't. Here are 3 reasons why:

1) The fans will lose their team and at least partially blame Mario. The fans are showing their support by a greater than 90 percent capacity. Pittsburgh can't keep people from leaving as is. Just look at the population decline over the years.

2) The voters will never forget who was in charge of the failed negotiations. How many young voters will rush to the polls to oust these officials next election.

3) The NHL loses a great market to another that will surely fail. Another black mark on Bettman's legacy.

Brian Nowakowski
Irwin, PA

Team not loyal to Pittsburgh

Is it a question of the Penquins holding the city hostage like most cities do?

Aren't they trying to bleed the taxpayers, just like they did in the '90s when ticket prices went up 30% a year.

The Penquins have no loyality to the city, so I say, let'em go.

Steve Steinberg

West vs. East

I don't think the people of Western Pennsylvania knew what they were getting when they elected Ed Rendell, Senator Specter, and Senator Bob Casey. ALL of them are from Eastern Pennsylvania. If Philadelphia needed an arena, Ed would get the deal done. Now it's Pittsburgh who needs the arena and they don't give a damn if the Pens stay or leave. Now this could all end up being a huge show between Burkle and Rendell. If you remember, Burkle is a large contributor to Rendell's camp. Rendell could end up being the hero.

Listen, I am a huge PENS fan, if they leave this city we are nothing more than Kansas City. A two sport city. But wait, if they move to Kansas City the city becomes a big sports market. And Pittsburgh becomes a Steelers fans only city. It would be sad. VERY SAD.

Jordan Kaufman
Mars, PA

What about the fans?

It sure doesn't seem to be about the fans. Does it? Obviously not. If The City, State, and NHL allow the Penguins to leave it will definitely hurt. The viewer and the voters will show their disgust. I buy Penguins hats, T-shirts and more junk. I purchase the NHL package every season. (when their is one) When I come home to visit, I take in a game, buy a few overpriced light beers, then go out on the town and support the local economy with the taxes I pay. I think I do my best to support every one and feel this gives me a voice. If the Pens go I go! I won't be the only one. Do the deal, do what's right! I beg you! I want to do these things in the future.

Michael Shamblin
Bozeman, Mt.

Politicians standing up for taxpayers

I don't understand anyone who would criticize any politician if the Penguins leave Pittsburgh. We all know that the politicians love to spend tax payer money. If they could spend more they would, they don't have any more to spend. Well finally the politicians are standing up for the tax payer. The penguin group will sell the team as soon as they can get a new arena. They don't care about the fans. They will sell the team for about 180 million dollars. This shows they don't care were the team is located, as long as they can sell the team for a huge profit. That is what this is all about for the owners of the Penguins. Do they care were the team will be next year ? No, they are selling and getting out of the hockey business. All they care about is how much money they can make when they sell the Penguins. They want out of this mess that is called hockey. Can you remember, not to many years ago this team was in bankruptcy court. This is the only sports team to be bankrupt twice. I keep hearing how great a hockey town this is, but until the past few months that was not true. All of hockey is a mess, no one watches hockey on TV, and without the TV money you can not be a serious sport. Congratulations to our politicians for telling these millionaires to help pay more for this arena.They will have the money when they sell the Penguins. Remember when the Penguin owners get 180 million dollars for this team, you will never see them in Pittsburgh again. The slot machines can only pay for so much ... like maybe getting us that promised property tax relief.

John Kubenko Jr
Johnstown PA

Both sides at fault

While I have been living in Florida for the past three years, I grew up in western PA (Slippery Rock and Pittsburgh) and attended many Penguins games throughout that time. I believe the true fault lies with both sides in the negotiations over a new arena between the Penguins and Governor Rendell, Mayor Ravenstahl, and Chief Executive Onorato. The smallest fault in the equation lies with the Penguins management and ownership for not pushing for negotiations to begin years ago. When Mario Lemieux purchased the team out of bankruptcy in 1999, this is when the negotiations should have begun. The promise was made by those officials elected at the time that a new facility would be constructed. To date, this has not happened.

With that being said the significant majority of fault lies with the elected officials. Ed Rendell has repeatedly stated that the Penguins were offered the best deal of any of the sports teams in Pennsylvania, even better than the deal the Pirates were given to move into PNC Park. This should obviously have been the case. PNC Park is used approximately 90-95 dates a year including Pirates home games, high school baseball games, and one or two concerts each year. The Pirates use 81 of these dates for MLB games (approx. 85% of dates). The Mellon Arena has become outdated enough that shows now go to other cities instead of Pittsburgh because the structure of Mellon Arena simply can not accommodate the equipment. A new facility could be used upwards of 250 dates a year, with the Penguins occupying 41 dates (approx. 16%). Regardless of whether a facility is constructed now, when there is a main tenant ready and waiting to move in, or three years from now when Mellon Arena is so far removed from functionality, a facility is needed for the city and the region.

Two other points to consider:

1) The main argument seems to have been reduced to who is going to cover the cost overruns of the construction of the facility. From the simple terms being put forth in the media, the Penguins have now offered to put up $4 million per year towards construction and other capital costs, the casino owner (whoever it may end up being with the recent appeals) has agreed to put up $7.5 million per year towards the same costs, and the state has committed $7.5 million per year from a gambling-backed economic development fund. Over the 30-year run of the plan, this amounts to $570 million (Penguins-$120 million; Casino owner-$225 million; State-$225 million). For a $300 million facility that will not only continue the current influx of tax revenue to the city and county, but will most likely increase this take with the increase in events being held, where exactly is the shortfall going to take place on the coverage of construction costs? Granted, the Peterson Events Center went way over budget, but that project seemed to lack much official oversight. The potential too exceed a $300 million construction cost by $270 million and outrun the contributions agreed to by the three contributing parties seems absolutely ludicrous.

2) If this were the Governor's beloved Eagles or the Flyers threatening to leave Philadelphia, I would put money down that an agreement would have been finalized weeks ago and construction would have already begun on facilities to keep either one of those teams from relocating. But alas, this will not be the case for many years to come because both teams already have new facilities to call home. I guess the Governor proves once again that he really is for Philadelphia, not just Pennsylvania.

Brian Warcup
Boca Raton, FL

Grass greener elsewhere?

Let 'em go. If they think the grass is greener somewhere else, let them find out. The Pens need to quit holding the city, county and state hostage with their threats.

Christine Span
Findlay Township

Short-sighted Politicos:

The political environment in western Pennsylvania and in Harrisburg has seemingly always been an inept mess with absolute no forward vision. That is why I am writing this from Northern Virginia, and not McKeesport where I was born and raised.

The region and the Commonwealth have failed the populace in so many ways and that is why the Steelers, Pens, and Pirates have so many "away" fans. Most are not travelers, but former Pittsburghers who have moved elsewhere for their own livelihood.

Now, the Penguins may do the same. For seven years, we have heard that a new arena was not only necessary for the team to survive financially, but that the region needed a new center that operates throughout the year to a myriad of events. Because there was no hue and cry from the populace as is typical of the region, the team was left to flounder, absorbing losing seasons and financial red ink. It's once best players were given away to what basically amounted to was a case of vulcanized rubber pucks. Only finishing morbidly last allowed them to garner most of the talent we enjoy now. This took neither hockey acumen or public funding, just the core fans absorbing defeat after defeat, year after year.

The puck is now in the Penguins zone and their on a powerplay. They are winning much earlier than predicted. The core fans have been buoyed by the bandwagon legion and politicos who love winners. The Commonwealth had a chance to take a bid from a group willing to redevelop an entire area of one of its most important cities, and chose not to do so.

Presently, they want to drag on further, while a new arena stands almost at the ready in other venues. Even if a deal were signed today, the new facility would be years away- and perhaps even too late to take advantage of this advantage at hand.

The Pens are a hot commodity NOW, the region needs a new facility NOW. By the time the dust settles, Pittsburgh may have its new arena, but the anchor tenants may end up being high school cagers and PIHL hockey teams, as the city will then be begging someone from the NHL, AHL, NBA, CBA, AFL, MILL, to please come to Pittsburgh.

Millions have left the Commonwealth over the years and it has much to do with the same short-sighted vision and lack of investment in the youth and future success by politicians on both sides of the aisle for decades. The many proud and resourceful Pittsburghers "living in exile" may soon find its hockey franchise as their new neighbor- working in K.C., but a Pittsburgher at heart.

Joseph Kisner
Lorton, Virginia

Team a shining star

The Pens will make great partners in revitalizing our city. Let's treat them as partners with a vested interest in the success of Pittsburgh. All sides should not be greedy or shortsighted and check their egos at the door in any future negotiation (God willing). The team is an attraction to our young people and a shining star to the rest of the nation. The Pens leaving will be sending a terrible message to both about the state of our region.

The city of Pittsburgh is better with the Pens, and the Pens are better with Pittsburgh. I don't care what it takes ... tax dollars ... RAD money ... me selling candy bars at work to raise money ...whatever. As voters, we have to hold our officials accountable for looking out for what's best for our region. And accountable they will be held. Please get this DONE, no matter what it takes!

Jason Birdsell
Wayne, PA

Crystal ball

2007: Penguins leave for Kansas City ...

2008: City and state officials finally approve Pittsburgh arena funding ...

2009: New Pittsburgh arena construction completed ...

2010: Pittsburgh lobbies for NHL expansion franchise; application denied by league due to saturation of markets ...

2012: Pittsburgh lands Nashville Predators or Florida Panthers, who leave their respective towns due to lack of fan support.

In the meantime, Kansas City Penguins win the Stanley Cup. League MVP Sidney Crosby hosts huge backyard barbecue on his day with the trophy, filling it with the discarded bones and gristle of Pittsburgh's civic pain and bitter disappointment.

Chris Weber,
Bethel Park

Lessons from Raleigh

As a native of PA I find it hard to believe that we continue to beat down our local franchises that provide millions of dollars of value to the city and state. If you believe the Pens will not leave just look at Raleigh, NC and the Hurricanes. The Canes came into a basketball hotbed and won a Stanly Cup. The same will happen if we allow Kansas City to capture our Penguins, what will their new name be, Tornados?

Recently, a small county in NC with the state pledged $260 million dollars over 30years to get Google to build a service center for 210 employees. If they can do that, surely the Great State of Pennsylvania and the City of Pittsburgh can build an arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Richard Lightner
Altoona native
Franklin, NC

Penguins would be novelty in KC

I live in the Kansas City area and they are really counting on the City of Pittsburgh to fall short in their effort to keep the Pens. I too agree with some of the readers that initially when the Pens would get here and play in the new Sprint Center that there will be many people coming to the game. It will be a novelty. It will be short lived however. They (Kansas City) could not hold onto to a minor league hockey team. If the team were to stumble so would the fans.

I grew up in the Pittsburgh area going to games in the 70's. The Pittsburgh fans love their hockey and know the game. Even if they were to make the move to Kansas City,I know I would have a hard time backing them as the Kansas City Penguins.

I think that the state and local officials need to get busy and do what needs to be done to keep the Pens in Pittsburgh.

Marilyn Turner
Prairie Village, KS

Sense of urgency missing

I don't blame the Penguins for mailing an impasse letter to the City and Governor's office. The Penguins have been asking for a new arena for years. The politicians should of scheduled or demanded face to face meetings with the Penguins throughout the 30 day deadline and expressed a sense of urgency to get a deal done ASAP. If negotiations fail in one meeting, then the city should of rescheduled another meeting asap.

Phone conversations and exchanging documentation on negotiations is not a sense of urgency in my book. I have relocated from Pittsburgh to Cleveland, OH three years ago, and I drive back to Pittsburgh twice a month to see the Penguins play. It will be a shame to see the Penguins leave Pittsburgh, and a shame to not be able to drive in to Pittsburgh twice a month to watch one of my favorite sports teams.

Brian Hinterleiter
Cleveland, OH

Posturing or not?

Sure, there is always posturing on the part of parties involved in negotiations to try to gain leverage. Is this posturing on the part of Mario? I don't think so. He has pleaded for years for a new facility, but his pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Hey, I love the Igloo more than most people, having grown up there. At my first game, Andy Bathgate skated over to me, shook my hand, and handed me a puck. Pretty awesome for an 8 year old! I've seen the good and the bad times, but never have I been as fearful as I am right now that we're going to lose our Penguins. We need a new facility, and we needed it years ago. Sure, mistakes have been made, but let's get this thing done NOW!

If someone could please come to the next negotiating session with the "jaws of life" to pull Mr. Rendells' head out of his butt, perhaps something constructive, like an agreement, will be reached.

Charles A. Vucetich
Red Lion, PA

Politicians have the most to lose

I think both sides need to set their egos and feelings aside, get into a room and finish the deal that is there to be made. In the end, all of the details will be there for public consumption. I also think that the politicians better realize that they have the most to lose. Pittsburgh and their careers need the penguins far more than the penguins and their billionaire owners need Pittsburgh. It is disheartening to see how the politicians have apparently taken a situation that should have been resolved years ago and let it get to this point. Trusting Rendell to get this done is the only reason I can see that it fails.

FIGURE IT OUT. NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike Ermlich

Move Penguins to Cranberry?

A neighboring county should look into getting the Pens. 228 in Cranberry seems to have some land that could be developed. It is close to US-19, I-76 and I-79. It would keep the Pens in the area, but they could negotiate with a different set of officials who may be interested in boosting their economy.

Alan Weber
Hopewell, PA

Knots in my stomach

Dear Post-Gazette,

I think that the two sides need to get face-to-face and within the next couple of days or week, either agree or call-off talks. I am a massive Penguins fan and really enjoy watching them this season, however; there is always that voice in my head saying this is it! I have knots in my stomach every time I tune in to "Savran on Sports Beat" and "Pittsburgh Sports Tonight" that the message will be, the team is leaving town. I understand the difficulty of the negotiation, but it isn't fair to the fans to keep saying, "we're close" and then "we're not." I will be devastated if they leave, but at least I could enjoy this season knowing there won't be a next. COME ON GUYS, GET THIS DONE!!!! Andrew Zeigler
Chambersburg, PA

Dwindling pride

I can't begin to describe the emotions that I felt yesterday when I heard the news that the team had decided to declare an impasse in negotiations on a new arena. Though I no longer live in the city, I still pride myself on being from the area and fully support all of the local sports teams. Needless to say, it's actions such as these that cause my pride to dwindle. Do the politicians in that state realize what they're doing by seemingly attempting to strong arm the Pens? Do they not remember the story of the Winnipeg Jets? The government officials balked at a new arena and boldly asserted that nobody would want an NHL franchise. Where is that franchise now? Oh, that's right -- Phoenix. So, what happens if the Pens do leave Pittsburgh? They take with them a long standing tradition and hockey history. They also deliver another major economic blow to a city that's already on its last legs. With the local NHL team gone, what happens to all of the ice hockey rinks in the area? Do kids still want to play ice hockey with all of their favorite players now in another city? Or, do they move on and find another sport where there are actually still people to look up to that they can go and see on a regular basis? Also, what is with this treatment of Mario Lemieux? He's stepped in and saved this franchise before and is now making a diligent effort to do so again and there are people labeling him as "greedy?" Are you kidding me? He still makes his home in Pittsburgh and has done everything in his power to keep the team there. How many other local heroes can make the same claims? Jerome Bettis? Nope, he's down here in Atlanta now. Sure, he's opening a restaurant near Heinz Field, but that's merely a money making proposition coordinated from afar. The list of names goes on and on. Should the Pens end up leaving Pittsburgh, it would cause me to seriously question ever setting foot in the city again, as I don't know if I would want them to have a nickel's worth of my money.

Derek Cadwell
Marietta, GA (Originally Allison Park, PA)

Include the fans

I think they should hold the next meeting between our local leaders and the Pen's at center ice in front of a sold out hockey crowd at Mellon Arena. The sad part about the whole thing is that the Pen's are going to get what they want, no matter if it's here or somewhere else. But if it's somewhere else, let the decision be made in front of the crowd that has supported the team through thick and thin, because that crowd will be the loser in the end......and they are paying for it.

George Metelsky
Baden, PA

Pittsburgh needs the Penguins

Although I have been in Sarasota, Florida for over eight years now, the Penguins are still a part of me. My sister was married on the Pens first Stanley Cup win. In fact, we had to switch back and forth between doing the chicken dance and the small black and white TV in the kitchen at the hall.

The city needs to do whatever it has to do to keep the Pens in the city. Otherwise, you are on a very slippery road toward becoming a smaller, two sports team market. Do you really want to be compared to other cities with one or two sports teams? I don't think so. Gov. Rendell, Mr. Onorato, Mayor, get this thing done, NOW!

Matt Gentile
Sarasota, Florida

This is a business matter

First and foremost there is no arguing that Penguins team officials have demonstrated good will as much as a corporate citizen could. That much we understand, and perhaps all of us would agree on. However this is a business matter and as such there are some striking realities that both parties must acknowledge and deal with.

A) The first reality is that the Penguins do NOT have a viable and/or realistic alternative to leaving Pittsburgh, however glossy the Kansas City alternative is purported to be painted. Kansas City is as "American as Apple Pie" and wouldn't step over her Baseball or her Football, as the long tradition of Pittsburgh Hockey fans have been able to accommodate all sports. Kansas City has already proven this point once, and the economy there can't handle another major franchise. They simply do not have the demographics of the Pittsburgh sports fans. Perhaps in the first year or two the new arena in KS City can be filled as a novelty item due to curiosity and the adrenaline rush. As far as long term marketing is concerned, when the team starts losing its stars like Malkin, Staal and Fleury to other teams due to their escalating salaries (and rightly so...) the fickle and newbie hockey fans (!) in that city will quickly run to the exit signs unlike we, the Pittsburgh hockey fans, who stood by this team in the lean years where tickets were given away as free promotion or the fire sale years of the latter part of the 90's and early rebuilding stages in the 21st Century.

But if the real intent at present, is to first move the team to another city and then to sell it, there may not be a very enthusiastic list of potential new buyers and the historied Penguins team may soon join the defunct clubs of yesteryears like the California Seals or The Cleveland teams.

B) The inability to match the market which Pittsburgh is, simply rears its disturbing face as "the reality" in moving.

C) On the other hand Republicans and Democrat voters alike, will have a very vivid memory of many of the current officials' sense (or the lack thereof) of urgency come voting day. This is a reality which the current politicians in power must remember. While the migration of this team may not equate to more vital issues such as better health care and safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth, it surely will be one of the deciding factors in their political futures in voters psyche when comparing their savvy of statesmanship or leadership with that of their opponents. This shall not come as a surprise to these officials, simply because the Penguins organization does not only contribute to the Western PA population merely in terms of entertainment value but also generates a lot of movement in the local economy.

D) It must be remembered by all the elected leaders, that the social well being of a population isn't always measured by the quality or the presence of hospitals and transportation (in short by satisfactory infrastructure), but also by how their overall living standards stack up to other good cities.

Now is the time for both parties to act in unison under these realities involved on this urgent issue, which concerns all Pittsburghers, hockey fan or not . Pittsburgh is what makes the Penguins, and Pittsburgh and its environs are a huge part of current officials' electorate.

Merih Alpan

Give Penguins what they want

come on city officials and state and county. PLEASE KEEP THE PENS HERE. U SHOULD GIVE THEM WHATEVER THEY WANT.

The tax dollars u will lost with people not coming to town on those days will be a lot more than u give to them. And u know some day there will be a new arena anyway. That is the stupidity of this whole thing!!!!!!!! Come on get it done. The Pens are the best team in town. Don't subject us to years of fireworks and perogie races. The Pens are coming into their own. Do NOT LET THEM LEAVE.

Jan and Bill Hohn
Cranberry Twp, pa

Get a deal done fast

Pens and the City need to get something done. It is crazy to think of Pittsburgh without a hockey team. If then Pens do make a deal with KC, I think the fans should ban the playoffs and let the arena be empty. The Pens are one of the teams with highest percent of seats sold and is bringing in more revenue than most teams. There is no reason to move this team. Both sides need to get this done real fast or the city of Pittsburgh will lose out once again. I have lived in the DC area for the past 7 years but was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area. The one thing the city has going for it at this time is the passion its fans have for their sports teams. Dont ruin it by letting this team go!

James McNamara


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