One franchise's owner wrote this to his team's fans on January 27:
January 27, 2012
My father held a longstanding belief that a major league sports franchise would prove an important catalyst in the growth and development of Columbus. After more than 30 years of effort, the opportunity to make his belief reality presented itself with the NHL awarding a franchise to Columbus in 1997. To my mind, it is clear he was right in his vision. With the Blue Jackets and the Arena as the anchor, Nationwide Insurance has brought vibrancy to our downtown in the Arena District that simply wouldn't have happened without the team.
That said, there is no question our on-ice performance is nowhere near what it needs to be. All of you are disappointed and many are angry. I and the entire Blue Jackets organization share these feelings. I thought as we approached mid-season at the All-Star break, it would be a good time to reflect on where we've been and offer some thoughts about how we go forward. We have taken actions and will continue our push to improve.
Toward the end of last season, we did a thorough evaluation of our team's strengths and weaknesses. From there, a plan was developed balancing our needs against our tradable assets. During the summer, we believed we executed the plan well and took a good step forward. Most people seemed to agree and we were excited for the season to start.
Unfortunately and surprisingly, we opened the season terribly and have struggled ever since. Disappointing is not a strong enough word.
We began looking at why our team was not performing at an acceptable level very early this season and assessing where we are and where we want to go. We added Craig Patrick, an experienced and highly respected figure in the hockey community, as a senior advisor to assist in this endeavor. While this process is not complete, we have clearly defined our options and are finalizing our plans.
I understand you want to know what we're going to do to fix this, but it is important for us to maintain a degree of discretion to prevent putting ourselves at a competitive disadvantage. I can tell you action will be taken in the coming weeks and months, be it around the trade deadline, the entry draft and/or free agency that will be indicative of our direction.
Our goal as an organization is to build a team that wins consistently and competes for the Stanley Cup. Anything less is unacceptable! Everything we do in the coming weeks, months and years will be done to that end and everyone in our organization - myself, management, staff, coaches and players - will be held to that standard.
I am very thankful and appreciative of the dedication and passion you have shown as a Blue Jackets fan and I am committed to giving you a team of which you can be proud.
John P. McConnell
Today, the other franchise's owner wrote this to his team's fans:
July 4, 2012
It seems like yesterday, but it was more than 4 years ago that I bought the Minnesota Wild. I came to the State of Hockey with high hopes and big dreams. I knew all about the loyal fan base and the remarkable support here in Minnesota. I felt the team had a solid roster and we were coming off of two straight playoff appearances and the franchise’s first-ever Northwest Division Championship. The future looked bright.
Long story, short…things didn’t work out the way I expected. Issues in and out of our control went south, and I’ll be the first to acknowledge we have struggled. We made some difficult changes throughout the organization and I’ve had ample opportunity to work on a couple of skills we all need in life…patience and humility.
Like you, I’ve been disappointed with our results the past few seasons. But, at the same time I saw some hope emerging. I am extremely proud of the work Chuck Fletcher and his staff has done to build perhaps the very best group of young prospects in the NHL today. Those of you who follow us closely know all about the likes of Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle, and Jason Zucker among others. Those players represent the bright future of our franchise and it’s been proven time and time again that drafting and developing young talent is the most reliable path to sustained playoff success.
Having said that, when the season ended in April, I found myself wondering, perhaps as you did, how long that process might take and how we could accelerate it. To Chuck’s credit, he had an ambitious plan and today’s announcement of the signing of free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter marks the culmination of that plan. We now have the two most coveted free agents in the NHL to add to our veteran core, led by our captain Mikko Koivu, and our acclaimed class of young prospects. Sounds pretty good to me.
As Chuck has said, this is a rare opportunity to bring two players of this caliber, both in the prime of their careers, to our franchise. I want to thank Zach, Ryan and their respective agents/advisors for their decisions in our favor. I know they both had numerous, attractive offers (some higher than ours). I also want to thank Chuck and his staff for their creativity, vision and earnest pursuit of these players. We are obviously thrilled with this outcome.
Finally and most importantly, I felt like we had a “secret weapon” working in our favor during these negotiations…the spirit and dedication of you fans of the State of Hockey. It’s no secret that both Zach and Ryan have strong ties to this area. They’ve had first-hand experience with the extraordinary pride and unrelenting passion of our fans. Ultimately, I firmly believe that you fans were the deciding factor in their decision and so my final “thank you” is reserved for you.
Now, the real proof will come when we hit the ice this season. But, I am confident that we have taken a huge step forward today. It’s high time that the fans of the State of Hockey are rewarded with playoff success. I can’t wait…oh yeah, that patience thing again!
What I'd give to get a letter like Wild fans got today.
Lest you think otherwise, I'm not upset that the Blue Jackets didn't land either player. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have either guy playing for the CBJ. I just can't be upset at them for taking the money they got to play in front of friends and family.
I'm upset that the Blue Jackets do not appear to be in the conversation for these types of free agent players.