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NFL CANADA


Should the NHL contract teams?
Tue, February 3, 2009

By BILL LANKHOF, SUN MEDIA

The NHL never has seen a time filled with such tumult.

Attendance woes beset not only pauper franchises, but vacant seats are showing up in even its more traditional cities. Owners bemoan the cost of salaries and fret over a depressed economy. Others complain unsuitable arenas make franchises unsustainable.

Unemployment is not only crippling the world economy it is keeping fans on the living room couch rather than in arena seats. Cash constraints make the long-term survival of franchises tenuous. Speculation is rampant of teams folding or moving.

It is pro hockey's harsh new world. And, it is the 1930s. It just sounds a lot like the NHL we know today.

But, this was the NHL of the Montreal Maroons and the original Ottawa Senators, who along with the Americans of New York, the St. Louis Eagles, Philadelphia Quakers and a club in Pittsburgh would disappear -- victims of the financial ruin wrought by the Dirty '30s. What NHL franchises are experiencing today is nothing that hasn't happened before. Most of us just weren't around to see it the first time.

Do you think the NHL should contract teams to become a more viable league in the long run? Have your say in our forum.

NHL in turmoil



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26 Comments

Thanks to all who pointed out a second NHL team in Ontario. It should be Southern Ontario. The article has been updated.
moderator, 2009-02-03 14:07:27

Of the first three comments I see here, I agree with pretty much all of it. Yes, Bettman is a joke as commish, always was. Yes, Lankhof (great talent and great article) somehow miscounted Ottawa and T.O. as two. Yes, the league expanded past its limits. Goodbye and thanks for coming out: Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, TBay, Florida, LA, Dallas (where they skate the playoffs on slush,)NYI. I've always maintained that there's enough talent out there for 24 teams, tops. And btw, wasn't there a story last week about expansion into Europe? And we know that the no-salary-cap KHL will continue to pull or keep talent from the NHL. Lankhof is right: this is a crisis. I'd suggest the NHL contract a few teams, put a better product on the ice and TV screens. Cheers, deap
deap, 2009-02-03 12:39:30

I really don't get Bettman's logic in his desire for the NHL - a Canadian sport, played on ICE , not sand - to compete with American sports played in the sun, and surrounded by cacti and desert! For Pete's sake, contract those teams in the God-Forsaken deep south and bring them home where they belong: Winnepeg, Quebec, and Hamilton; OMG - I'd even forgive the NHL for placing a team in Seattle if it meant that fans would actually show up to a game and pay to see a game instead of being paid! Look, hockey just doesn't belong in the desert or the far south - the fans that do understand the game or who actually show at to support those teams are often either snowbirds or displaced Canadians! Give them their college basketball, baseball and football - give us our hockey and to heck with those rich porkers down there who are giving the NHL a black eye!
Ron S, 2009-02-03 12:31:44

YES...AND START BY THE "CONTRACTION" OF BETTMAN...the worse pro sports Commish in the history of the world! As long as he is allowed to control the NHL it will remain the FAILURE it has become under his moronic leadership! FIRE THIS BUM!
FRT, 2009-02-03 11:51:00

I don't have a problem with contraction during tough times, but if they do so without letting Balsillie have a go at another team in Ontario and letting Winnipeg and Quebec, amongst others, have a say at taking over the teams first, it would be ludicrous. That would be stating that real fans in solid markets don't matter. They're just expected to pick one of Toronto or Montreal and mail in their merchandising dollars to already rich franchises.

There was no hesitation in accepting ready money from owners down south, the sole criteria being they were willing to lose $10 million plus per year. The only problem with the Canadian teams was that the owners were better businessmen than that or their pockets weren't that deep. Now that the situation seems to be reversed, what is the holdup? I'd like to see 12 Canadian teams in the league.

BTW, the article mentions the effects of putting a second NHL team in Ontario. Since Ottawa is there I guess they're saying Toronto is not an NHL team?
Rick W., 2009-02-03 10:59:25

To many teams, to many games and a water downed product.By the time the final is played everyone is just hockeyed out,poor scheduling, I could go on....Contract teams that are nothing but a waste of talent, time and money, by this time next year they will have no choice but to contract or relocate teams to cities that can support a franchise, quality not quantity should be the goal...

Ed
Ed, 2009-02-03 10:48:39

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