Sabres mum on Preds' move as Hamilton launches tix drive

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres have expressed no
concern about the Nashville Predators' potentially relocating to
nearby Hamilton, Ontario. Not yet, anyway.

"It's a fool's game for me to speculate on things like that,"
Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn said Thursday. "If and when
somebody decides to put a franchise in Hamilton, they're going to
have to go through a procedure. ... We'll act accordingly."

Quinn declined to say whether the Sabres would oppose locating a
franchise in the Southern Ontario steel city some 70 miles west of
Buffalo. The Sabres count about 12 percent of their season-ticket
holders from Ontario's Niagara region.

Quinn said the topic of a franchise in Hamilton never came up
when he met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy
commissioner Bill Daly earlier this week.

The Predators' move north has been raised as a possibility after
BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie reached a tentative agreement
to purchase the Predators from Wisconsin businessman Craig Leipold.

On Wednesday, Hamilton's city council approved an agreement that
would allow the city's Copps Coliseum to become the Predators' home
if the franchise relocates. Balsillie's lawyer, Richard Rodier, has
repeatedly stressed that there's a lease in place in Nashville, and
he termed the agreement in Hamilton a contingency plan.

Balsillie's purchase must also be approved by the league's board
of governors.

That didn't prevent the launch of a ticket drive in Hamilton on
Thursday. Ticketmaster began taking deposits for "Hamilton
Predators" season tickets.

It's unclear whether the Sabres would have a case against -- or
receive compensation from -- a team moving to Hamilton. The city is
located just outside a 50-mile radius that, under an NHL bylaw, is
considered Buffalo's market.