I saw this on another site. Had me going for a minute till I remembered what day it was...
Out of NHL offices in Toronto:
In a somewhat surprising move NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has announced at the end of the business day Friday 3/31/06 that the NHL will assume all NHL business operation of the Chicago Blackhawks beginning 7/1/06, for the upcoming 2006/07 season. NHL offices announce that the Chicago franchise will become a "Model" franchise for the entire NHL to base teams on for years to come. Bettman in brief statement has state that the team will be run by a board of executives from the Chicago business community as well as some retired NHL personal on a strictly voluntary basis. The team will be run in this fashion until the NHL board of governors could fill team positions: President, VP, GM, Coach and other key positions with quality NHL level persons.
Some of the other key announcements Bettman disclosed late in the conference were that the Blackhawks would bring in 25% discount cost for season tickets purchases made prior to the start of the 2006-07 opening game. Another surprising decision was that the Blackhawks would be pioneering a TV network in a Joint operation with the NFL and in particular, the Chicago Bears. The television network would carry broadcasts of every home and away games for both teams. Additionally the network would carry an extended and solely exclusive Pre and Post-Game shows for the Blackhawks and Bears on game days. On non game days the TV network would air player interviews and show re-broadcasts of both Bear and Blackhawks games from the beginning of the TV era, from about 1948 through recent season. This network will be a Model for TV networks to follow. For the start up, the Bears/Blackhawks network will be on the air prime time, roughly from 4pm cst through midnight and on weekends beginning at 10am until 11:30pm.
Bettman was adamant on stating the Blackhawks have been an embarrassment to the NHL for some years. If this were not an origional-6 team, we would have considered relocating the franchise. At the NHL we have done studies. The result of the studies are basically that there are still plenty of dedicated Blackhawk fans left. Even after nearly 10 seasons of declining management and operation, where we could save this franchise. This is a very difficult step to take, but the NHL feels the Blackhawks have not been operated up to the standard that I feel franchises need be to uphold the tradition of the NHL. We are prepared for some backlash from some of Chicago's loyal fan base, but with this change the NHL believes the Chicago franchise will become revitalized and prosper in the NHL for many more years, as it had in the past.
Being a lifelong Blackhawk fan, I am quite please with this announcement. I'm very sorry it took until 4/1/06 to find the time to post such wonderful news, but good news does not happen very often with the Blackhawks, so I had to get it up as soon as I found out...