Examining the Blues' future in St. Louis 

March, 17, 2011

There are 11 games on the NHL slate tonight, and they all have some sort of playoff implications. Among others, I'll be keeping a close eye on the Calgary Flames' tilt against the woeful Colorado Avalanche at the Saddledome. Simply, Brent Sutter's team must win tonight against the freefalling Avs, who have won only one game since the All-Star break.

For now, however, I'll take my weekly dip into the mailbag.

Is there any chance that a new owner tries to move the Blues out of St. Louis? --Tommy, Columbia, Mo.

I really don't see that happening. I think the St. Louis Blues continue to be a viable franchise in a great sports market. And from what I understand, there are individuals in the area that would be interested in purchasing the club. However, none of those possible local investors were interested in becoming a majority stakeholder (financially) without having the power to run the franchise. That's understandable.

Current chairman/governor Dave Checketts, who doesn't have a significant financial stake in the team, was hoping to find investors who would be willing to contribute roughly 70 percent of the financing without having control of the decision-making process. That was a long shot, at best. As one league executive said to me, "When you're paying the bills, you want to be in the team picture."

With the entire team/lease on the market, I suspect a local investor or group of investors will emerge as a possible buyer. Further, I think the current ownership group will do what it can to ensure that a potential buyer is committed to keeping the team in St. Louis.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.