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Which city deserves an NHL team the most?
Fri, October 16, 2009

By Mike Zeisberger, Sun Media

Many of the Gary Bettman bashers figure the NHL commissioner seems to turn a blind eye to anything north of the 49th parallel.

To this increasingly vocal group that maintains Bettman is anti-Canadian, it doesn't seem to matter that he has continued to talk with Hamilton officials since Jim Balsillie's bid to move the Phoenix Coyotes to Steeltown died last month.

Or that, during the Coyotes trial, he pondered why the NHL would not at least touch base with Winnipeg in the event of the team's relocation, since that was the original birthplace of the franchise.

Or that he hosted a meeting a week ago with Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume, who wants to resurrect the Quebec Nordiques.

To these conspiracy theorists, Bettman's ultimate plan is to plop teams in Kansas City and Las Vegas one day while ignoring areas such as Winnipeg, Quebec City, and southern Ontario. It is a suggestion he vehemently denies.

"I'm sure there are people in Quebec City who would say if a team is moving to Canada, why should it be southern Ontario? Why shouldn't we get a team back?" Bettman says. "I'm sure there are people in Winnipeg who are saying the same thing. If the Coyotes move, I'm sure they say, 'Why aren't the Coyotes coming back here now that we have a new arena?' And so, there will always be a debate as to where the right fit is. But to the extent people think I have this master list hanging on my office wall in terms of where we are going next, that is not the case. If the opportunity presents itself, then we will look at all the situations and try to make the best judgment. You can confirm for yourself ... there is no list on my wall. Search away, You can look in all the drawers also."

What city should the NHL expand or relocate to in the future? Does it matter whether it is in Canada or the U.S.? Have your say in our forum.

Bettman: Have patience


This comment is FULLY MODERATED.


A team in Regina or Saskatoon would be great! They do not need to build any arenas there. It's so cold out there that they could play on an outdoor rink with no extra cost of a needless roof.
Vince in Ottawa, 2009-12-19 16:46:06

Mike and all the other Bettman excuse makers , Bettman's talk of evetually , possibly , maybe putting another team in Canada is just damage control . He realizes his comments and actions with regards to Pheonix pissed at lot of Canadian fans off (me I already was pissed off with him before Pheonix). Next he plays the old Quebec against Ontario card , discusting . Gary Bettman is a sleazebag who will use any method except honesty to get what he wants. He leads the greedy owners around by the nose with promises of great profits from a TV contract that will never happen , just as another Canadian team will never happen while Bettman is in charge , atleast not in my lifetime.
Bob, 2009-12-15 18:16:32

So how would you describe "fail" then? Of course the game will work in canada that is not the point. You cant grow a league or a sport or any business by locating franchises in places that you know will only be nothing but profitable. If you want to grow the amount and type of people that are interested in your product you have to go into markets that are some times risky in the hope of a long term gain. There are a lot of sports competing in the states, not to mention the fact that in the states attendance is related to winning and being a dominate team, its a tough market. there is not a single sport that has sell outs in each of its arenas every night. Sure the southern teams have not played out as good as everyone would have liked them to, and its taking a long time to build that base but there is a base their and interest grows. There was a report put out last year about new hockey rinks being built in these southern market areas as a result of the nhl, and how they cant keep up with demand with the amount of kids enrolling. You only have to look at the entry draft the last few years to see the number of us born players to go in the first round and over all increase. Having the NHL in these markets is not a fail, far from it. Financially not sound sure, but growing the game and the sport you better believe it. IN the end the NHL may have to move a team or fold a few teams which will be a shame but its something that every other major sport has gone through. If you love the game so much want others to enjoy it and see it for how you see it, dont shut other people out because you have a misplaced bone to pic with the guy at the top. People are missing some things about Bettman, first he is not anti canadian, remember when van, cal, edm just about moved he was the one that fought to keep there in their cities. The NHL's revenue has sky rocketed since he came into the league, the game is at its highest level maybe ever( no other league well maybe except for the CFl can say that only 2 teams are not in the playoff running approaching the halfway mark of their season). Would a team in canada be a boon money wise for the league yes, Win and QC lost their teams, and may still not be large enough to have the corporate sponsorship needed to support one, and moving another team into an already full market( 4 teams in the S.O. region) making it 5 putting 1/6 of your league in one very tiny basket is a very bad move to grow interest in your product. Not to mention moving a team into the S.O. area or "center of the universe" will only piss off every other hockey fan outside of that little bubble. Think of the fans who dont have the ability to see a team as easily as the people in the S.O. market, because i am pretty sure they would like a team just as much or more then you .
Mike, 2009-12-12 08:45:39

Ice Edge signed a letter of intent to buy the Dogs and keep them in the arena for the duration of their lease(26 yrs). HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!...Oh my sorry about the laughing but at a $30 mil a year loss it should be a quick death in the desert. Have you seen how many people are in those stands??? Look at the Devils and Caps they can't even sell out and are good teams. I got it move them to Cleveland so you can have a rivalry with Columbus that would be awesome...pfffffffff....HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Sorry again
Karl, 2009-12-11 22:32:01

Mike...the bid to make the NHL a winner in the US market has failed. It has nothing to do with the current economic crisis -- the people in the states just aren't interested.

Bettman's pipe dream ($$$$ signs in his eyes) of gaining a big US cable contract is never going to happen -- Americans just won't buy into it the sport.

Bettman is only talking about Quebec city and Winnipeg now to quiet the storm he created with his personal vendetta against Balsille. Bettman has no plans on actually letting them have teams.

Both Quebec and Winnipeg had teams in the past and couldn't sustain them. To give them teams again would be regressing, not progressing.

The only way to make the NHL a stable business right now is to fold some of these weak markets and bring hockey to cities where people actually understand and like the game.

Whether that is Hamilton or elsewhere, doesn't matter. The league has turned into an embarrasing joke, lead by an embarrasing little man.

Jimmy, 2009-12-11 17:02:54

Hey Mike,

Bettman already took the risk and in the southern markets it's been full of fail. It will work in Canada. Period.
BillyBlanks, 2009-12-11 15:50:15

Deserves? Nobody deserves a team. It's whether your city can afford a team, whether your people want to dole out taxes for a team. Whether they will go out and watch their team. Winnipeg left the NHL because they couldn't afford it. You can expect to be taxed if anyone gets a team back. I think it's disgusting that the government is going to fork money over to Quebec for their team. Don't we give Quebec enough money as it is... Give me a break. NHL is a fixed league. Bettman has a slant on all Canadian vs US teams as it is but I guess most people are too stupid/drunk to realize it. NHL is nothing more than WWE on skates. I rather watch Ottawa 67's.
Tom, 2009-12-11 15:46:19

Enough of this already people, anyone who wants another team in southern ontario does not care about hockey, they are only interested in their own selfish wants. Winnipeg and QC would be a great idea, it would be good for the fans who don't get access to games like the people of S.O. do ( 4 teams) unfortunately the size of Win and Q.C. and the viability of sponsors is the reasons the teams left in the first place. The cities may have grown in the last 15 years but they are still small market areas. As good as it would be to see another team come to canada, the league is trying to grow the game, increase its stretch and fan base, you cant do that in canada, because we already have the fan base, all we could provide is a strong revenue team. The us markets that are struggling now maybe were not the best but they had to give it a shot to grow the sport and they have immensely, just maybe not enough to support teams their for much longer. People seem to think this is just a NHL problem teams that are struggling, well its not every other league has had worse troubles and more moves then the NHL over the past 15 years. Its al about finding the right home for a team, i would love to see the teams stay where they are now, to grow and get stronger, unfortunately with what has happened the last year and a half has hurt everyone financially and has not helped the already struggling teams. It would be nice to see the turn around come and the teams increase in support, and attendance for not taking off when the going got tough. As a fan of the game i would want other people to enjoy what it has to offer, if that means moving a team then for the continued growth of the sport any team that moves will have to be moved to another US market. Hopefully it wont come to that, especially with the sport getting so strong since the lock out( all but 2 teams in the playoff hunt, what other league can say that), hopefully the fans of sport in the struggling markets come to see the great product they have. the NHL is trying to increase its fan base, you can only do that in the US markets, in business you cant always go for the sure fire win you have to take some risk in order to get your product out there. Bettman has ben doing a great job, he has had to put up with a lot. He is thinking about the future of the league and the sport. Its all about long term gains not short term ones.
Mike, 2009-12-11 12:55:38

I think a team in either Regina or Saskatoon would be great
Edward, 2009-12-11 11:53:43

The Kitchener/Waterloo region is a great location for another Ont. team. Wouldn't affect Toronto, Buffalo or Detroit. Large population to support it. Just need the arena. Say.....doesn't Jim Basilli own land near Ayr....Hmmmm. Hamilton will never get a team due to proximity to Buffalo.
Dave, 2009-12-11 11:47:46

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