Friday, May 20, 2011

Rating the NHL's relocation candidates

This picture was taken in August, by the way.
It's looking more and more like moving day could be coming to an NHL city near you this summer.

Well, maybe not all that near you, assuming you're not in the southern United States. But with the Coyotes treading water and an apparently deteriorating situation in Atlanta, it seems almost inevitable that at least one NHL team will have a new address soon.

But where? Several cities have been linked with the league in recent years, many with strong cases to make. But each candidate also comes with a unique set of challenges, and success is far from guaranteed. It goes without saying that the league is under heavy pressure to make the right choice.

I want to help. So I've put together a list of some of the most frequently mentioned candidates for NHL relocation and carefully considered the pros and cons of each one.

Hamilton, Ontario
Background: Jim Balsillie has been trying to move a team to the city for years, but has been rejected as a potential NHL owner on the grounds that he has actual money.
Pro: Hockey players are often said to have their best years in their late 20s; if the same applies to hockey arenas, Hamilton should be all set.
Con: If Hamilton ever gets an NHL team then Toronto will want one too, according to the guy in the next cubicle who still says "Whazzup" and quotes dialogue from the Austin Powers movies.

Seattle, Washington
Background: Were actually the first American city to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917, thanks to a late goal by rookie Mark Recchi.
Pro: Recently had their NBA team blatantly stolen from them, so probably wouldn't feel bad about doing the same to some other city.
Con: Unpredictable weather patterns in the Pacific-Northwest can sometimes cause springtime heat waves so sudden that fans need to remove their shirts on live television.

Quebec City, Quebec
Background: The Nordiques made the mistake of trading for Wendel Clark in 1994; being forced to leave Toronto made him so sad he punched the entire franchise to Colorado.
Pro: They could immediately resume their rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens, which would be great because that worked out so well for them the last time around.
Con: The city's population must not be very interested in hockey anymore, because if you go around town asking "Who is your favourite NHL player?" most of them just stare at you like you're speaking a different language.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Background: Hockey in the desert? That's practically guaranteed to work!
Pro: If the league insists on losing money on a doomed and reckless gamble, at least they should do it somewhere where they'll have company.
Con: It might be hard for fans in attendance to follow the puck, thanks to all the steam rising up from where the ice used to be.

Winnipeg, Manitoba
Background: Would probably make a great location for an NHL team; it's surprising nobody else has mentioned the possibility.
Pro: Have already been through the heartache of losing a beloved NHL franchise due to economic realities, and that experience would probably come in really handy when it inevitably happens to them again in a few years.
Con: Fans haven't watched live hockey games since an in-his-prime Teemu Selanne was tearing up the league 15 long years ago; they'd probably be devastated to find out that he's only like 98% as good these days.

Kansas City, Missouri
Background: Have already tried to lure the Penguins and Islanders in recent years, although that just turned out to be part of a weird plot to try to meet Bryan Trottier.
Pro: Would immediately have a natural geographic rivalry with the St. Louis Blues, and it would be a nice change for someone in the hockey world to remember that the Blues still exist.
Con: City is called Kansas City but is not located in Kansas, which probably doesn't impact their ability to support a hockey team but has always just kind of bothered me.

Markham, Ontario
Background: Media reports say this town north of Toronto could soon be home to an NHL-ready arena, after residents complained that the traffic jams on the 404 weren't quite long enough.
Pro: Falls just outside of Buffalo's boundary for compensation, and screwing over the Sabres on a technicality is one of hockey's richest traditions.
Con: Might not be the first choice of the NHL, which tends to prefer that teams are located in large cities, or medium-sized cities, or small cities, or really any kind of actual city.




47 comments:

  1. "City is called Kansas City but is not located in Kansas, which probably doesn't impact their ability to support a hockey team but has always just kind of bothered me." GOLD I LOL'D

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  2. Remember the nutjobs who somehow got Willie O'Ree to show up to their press conference for a 30,000 seat arena to be built at Downsview airport? What ever happened to them?

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  3. Didn't realize Mark Recchi was a rookie in 1917. I thought he was one of the Original Six...

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  4. "Background: Were actually the first American city to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917, thanks to a late goal by rookie Mark Recchi."

    Coffee, meet computer screen.

    Actually, and I hate that I know this now, but I visited a couple of friends in Kansas City, Kansas, and the way they explained it to me is that apparently the city is spread out between the two states? So it IS also located in Kansas, just not the part that wants a team.

    What bothers me more about it is that it means Missouri will have two NHL teams.

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  5. There`s a couple of missing words in this entry DGB! Must have been pretty early.

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  6. "Pro: Falls just outside of Buffalo's boundary for compensation, and screwing over the Sabres on a technicality is one of hockey's richest traditions."

    Nice.

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  7. States/Provinces with multiple NHL teams:

    Ontario
    Alberta
    New York
    California
    Florida

    Missouri is the logical next entry on the list, no?

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  8. Hey man...if the Senators play 0 games in Ottawa, than the Leafs can play home games in Markham, right?

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  9. I live in Markham, and your point about the 404 was bang-on. How did you know? HOW DID YOU KNOW?!?!

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  10. Funny as usual, I loved it.. But the shot @ the Blues is stupid. They sellout every game, have a great fanbase and have one of the best average Local Tv Ratings in the league.. (I'm not a Blues fan LOL)

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  11. Pennsylvania also with 2 teams

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  12. There's a Kansas City, Kansas, and a Kansas City, Missouri. The larger portion of Kansas City (home to the Chiefs and Royals), and the one people generally refer to when talking about Kansas City, is in Missouri.

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  13. Louie - in spite of his Ottawa-based nature now, DGB has done his time in the northern suburbs.

    Besides, I'm fairly sure the morning traffic jam on the 404 extends up to Ottawa now anyway.

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  14. "Falls just outside of Buffalo's boundary for compensation, and screwing over the Sabres on a technicality is one of hockey's richest traditions."

    I literally spit out my drink and got my keyboard all messy after reading this line.

    Thanks

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  15. Gold, Jerry! GOLD!

    Love the Recchi line. And then this...

    "The Nordiques made the mistake of trading for Wendel Clark in 1994; being forced to leave Toronto made him so sad he punched the entire franchise to Colorado."

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  16. Con: The city's population must not be very interested in hockey anymore, because if you go around town asking "Who is your favourite NHL player?" most of them just stare at you like you're speaking a different language.

    Brilliant.

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  17. 'Might not be the first choice of the NHL, which tends to prefer that teams are located in large cities, or medium-sized cities, or small cities, or really any kind of actual city. '

    Agreed. Put a team in Dryden, ON. They can play in Chris Pronger's parents' back yard. Instantly the most intimidating rink in the NHL.

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  18. "If Hamilton ever gets an NHL team then Toronto will want one too, according to the guy in the next cubicle who still says "Whazzup" and quotes dialogue from the Austin Powers movies."

    THANK YOU!

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  19. Geoff -

    Hahaha true, but only when it snows.

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  20. I'm surprised Seattle made it ahead of Portland. I always thought Portland would support an NHL team better than Seattle since they generally support their junior team more, but then, I doubt an NHL team will ever move to either anyway

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  21. Gotta be Kansas City, Mo.

    MAKE IT TWO! MAKE IT TWO!

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  22. "Unpredictable weather patterns in the Pacific-Northwest can sometimes cause springtime heat waves so sudden that fans need to remove their shirts on live television."

    You say that like it's a bad thing. ;o)

    Seattle's problem is no building. They'd do better in Portland, Oregon. Really.

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  23. If a team moves to Kansas City, it'll go to the Kansas version, not the Missouri version. There's two reasons behind that. First is that Missourians are very particular about their hockey loyalty. The second is due to the Kansas-Missouri Hockey Treaty of 1975. After a bloody war between both states, all NHL franchises headed to Kansas City must now be situated in Kansas instead.

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  24. We certainly speak better English in Quebec City than you speak French in Toronto!

    And BTW how did the Mats Sundin experiment work for the Maple Leafs? A Stanley Cup rings?

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  25. "Would immediately have a natural geographic rivalry with the St. Louis Blues, and it would be a nice change for someone in the hockey world to remember that the Blues still exist."

    :(

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  26. " ... and it would be a nice change for someone in the hockey world to remember that the Blues still exist."

    Excellent. Whenever the Blues figure out how to get back to the playoffs, the element of surprise will all but guarantee victory.

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  27. Missouri is the only state in the United States with two Federal Reserve Banks. So why not two hockey teams?

    Though if a team were to move to KC, it would be to the Missouri side as that's where the arena is located.

    Excellent job as always DGB.

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  28. I knew a Blues joke would find its way into the blog eventually :( It cost you a star in my rating.

    Only a 7 out of 5 today!

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  29. Simply magic. Have you tried stand up? But seriously thanks for relieving my bladder for me. Needed it.

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  30. OK -We(San Juan)got hornswaggled on the Expos relocation-4 years here-And Our Rangers--Panthers "Demo" has the distinction of lowest attendance ever-Why doesn't Florida pull a Cuban exile move and float over here--They can't get deported.and the press would be all over it...Please include us in all fantsy moves.Gracias. hockeypuertorico.org At least we win Miss Universe repeatedly!Miss Manitoba??!!

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  31. "A Stanley Cup rings?"

    Hate to be picky, but you screwed up your singular/plural tenses there Fred.

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  32. Missouri is a great hockey town. People love their hockey as you can see by our sold out streak this season despite playing sub-par hockey. I lived in KC for 5 years and the hockey love there is growing and needs some really NHL influence. No longer would they play Royals games instead of Blues telecasts late in the season.

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  33. Apparently the rich people live on the Kansas side of KC (boo!), but most of the city is on the MO side.

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  34. Brilliant caption, as always!

    @Goober McFly: if Florida can have two NHL teams, then any state or province is a ''logical'' choice to have two teams.

    If Bryan Trottier and John Ferguson Jr. had dinner together, would they fight over the crayons?

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  35. Johnny AppleseedMay 22, 2011 at 5:47 AM

    I dunno what made me laugh more, the Mark Recchi line, or the thought of going into NHL 2011 and altering Teemu Selanne's attributes to just say 98 across the board.

    It was the Mark Recchi line.

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  36. Recchi jokes are just reused Chelios jokes. They're losing their lustre. Other than that, hilarious stuff.

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  37. Hey Fred: U mad?

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  38. Hartford bring back the Whale

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  39. Hey bud, hilarious as always, but once again, I find a typo (sorry to be that person)

    "Background: Jim Balsillie has been trying to move a team to the city of years...."

    I think you mean "for years"?

    ......

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  40. I need some help moving a couch. any takers?

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  41. Yes, the main rich people of Kansas City live on the Kansas side, but the main population is on the Missouri side. None the less the metro as a whole is 2.5 million. Not to mention the likes of St. Joseph (MO), Lawrence (KS) and Topeka (KS) are all in very short drives to the KC metro.

    The only drawback for Kansas City right now is they have no owner to bring a team into the Sprint Center (which is a AWESOME venue). Maybe within the next 3-5 years is my guess after Winnipeg.

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  42. Never fear, sometime soon David Backes will lead the Blues to their traditional and rightful place in Hockey History - losing in the second round. Which, compared to the last few years, sounds really darn good right now. (Also in keeping with Blues tradition, Backes will promptly be traded away and captain his new team to a Cup victory.)

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  43. markemthats all chinesse Vaughan is the best GTA fora nhl team to be at with in the next 10 yrs almost half-million people+its near a bigger cityand it is a city not a townlike markem

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  44. I LOL'ed at the comment about the sabres, What about Houston, I mean the Aeros do have good attendance and play in a state of the art arena that is NHL ready

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