Peter Gilbert, owner of the Colorado Rockies, sought formal permission from the National Hockey League Board of Governors yesterday to move his team to the new Meadowlands complex in New Jersey.
At the same time, a Colorado delegation led by Allen Aden, asked the governors to keep the Rockies in Denver. The situation will be discussed at a meeting of the governors here today, and it is possibile that Gilbert's request could be rejected immediately.
Although this is Gilbert's first formal attempt to move the struggling franchise, he has expressed such a desire before. The Philadelphia Flyers, who are involved in territorial rights, along with the New York Rangers and New York Islanders, have always opposed his wishes.
"I'm not sure that I can block it, but I certainly hope so," Ed Snider, chairman of the Flyers board, said last night. "There are a lot of legal aspects to be considered.
"I was very impressed with the presentation made today by the people from Colorado, and I hope we can find a way to keep the team there."
Unless the NHL's constitution is changed, it would appear that Snider can block the switch by voting no.
"According to our constitution, it (the move) can only be done by unanimous vote," said Gil Stein, general counsel for the NHL.
The Rangers, although they have stated in writing that they would not oppose the Rockies moving to New Jersey, are said to be considering such a shift themselves for tax reasons. They could make the move without NHL approval.