The headlines will read “Toronto Maple Leafs Are First NHL Franchise Valued At One Billion Dollars”.

In Montreal, the sub-headline could read “Canadiens Worth Over Half Billion

According to Forbes Magazine the Canadiens are the third richest franchise in the NHL behind  only the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers.  Forbes lists the Canadiens franchise value at 575 million dollars an increase of 29 percent over their 2011 estimate.

Using Forbes Magazine figures, since the Molson family purchased the Canadiens from George Gillett three years ago, the book value of the franchise has increased 165 million dollars.

The Canadiens had operating revenue of 51.6 million, up 3.9 million from the last Forbes survey.  Their gross was 169 million which is an increase of four million.

Including six exhibition games the Canadiens played 47 sold out home dates during the 2011-2012 season with 83 million dollars in total gate receipts an average of 1.76 million dollars per game.  So far twenty-two games have been canceled this season which, based on last year’s average, amounts to a ticket revenue loss of 38.72 millions.

According to their estimates, thirteen of the league’s thirty teams operated in the red last season including seven with double digit losses including Phoenix (20.6 million), Columbus (18.7), Islanders (16.0), Tampa Bay (13.1), Florida (12.0), Buffalo (10.4) and St. Louis (10.0).

Equally startling is Forbes’ estimate that the  three most profitable teams–the Maple Leafs ($81.9 million), Rangers ($74 million), Canadians ($51.6 million)–accounted for 83% of the league’s operating revenue.     The NHL and the Players’ Association disagree on how the revenue imbalance should be addressed and hence 422 of the seaso’s 1230 games have been canceled.

This from the Forbes Magazine analysis

If the salary cap were lowered to, say, 50% of revenue and the subsidies from high-revenue teams to their low-revenue rivals were increased to $200 million from the current $150 million, which is essentially where the two sides seem to be headed, small-market team values would get a big boost (as was the case in the NBA when the New Orleans Hornets and Memphis Grizzles sold for $338 million and $330 million, respectively, after the league worked out a new labor pact last year). The league’s overall profitability would also increase. But teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets would still have trouble making money unless they went at least two rounds in the playoffs

……..A new CBA in the NHL along the lines of what the NBA has, coupled with the relocation of some teams, would shrink the disparity in hockey’s operating income. Hopefully, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA director Donald Fehr stop fighting and start skating toward that goal before the entire season is lost.