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NFL CANADA


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



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59 Comments

Toronto deserves an NHL calibre franchise...

:)

Give them one
powell, 2009-10-16 20:10:11

Bettman is a tool.

Quebec and Winnipeg had teams, could support them, still can't.
Jimmy, 2009-10-16 19:51:31

Type on the Sakatoon pop. Should have read 225,927. Still way too small - even with Regina thrown in. And don't compare the NHL with the CFL. 41 home games is a huge jump (not to mention ticket prices) from the 8 CFL home games.
Gary O., 2009-10-16 19:20:24

Gary O.,

You've got it exactly right. Not only that, although NY city has 2-3 teams and 3 times that population, probably 1 in 20 down there really cares about hockey, whereas in TO it's probably 1 in 2. So if NY can support 3 teams Toronto could support 5 or more. So I don't know why people are so against having a team in Hamilton.

Heck, Alberta has a total population less than half the southern Ontario population and they have 2 teams. And No, Ottawa does not count in the equation because nobody drives from Ottawa to go to a TO game (although they do the reverse out of desperation to see a game).

Truthfully, I think Hamilton should be first to get a team, Kitchener second, Winnipeg third, BC fourth and then Quebec city.
Rick W., 2009-10-16 19:04:04

See! Gary likes us! He really really likes us!

The reality is that he is out of fools in the US to grift, so he's back here to 'right a wrong'... or commit another wrong, depending on your perspective.
John Bladen, 2009-10-16 16:54:38

I think D. Eisler hit it on the head. Neither Quebec City (metro pop 671,000 with 167,000 of that in Quebec City proper) nor Winnipeg (672,000) have the population to sustain a team with a $50 million+ payroll - especially if they struggle from one year to the next - never mind the necessary corporate installations to pick up the slack. Saskatoon? With all of 22,927 people? Forget it.

Ottawa is considered a "small market" franchise - and they have a metro population in excess of 1,450,000!

Southern Ontario - with well in excess of 8,000,000 to draw upon (including Toronto) could easily support another franchise from a fan-base perspective, and has more than enough corporate sponsorhip capability to carry a second team.

It's a nice dream, but just that. A dream.
Gary O., 2009-10-16 16:35:07

Winnipeg deserves a team FIRST. The Jets left because we didn't have an NHL-calibre arena. Well, we've had one since 2004.
Johnny, 2009-10-16 16:20:55

Well, let's see. It's hard to convince me that two cities who had and lost an NHL team deserves on before others who haven't. So Winnipeg and QC are out. Southern Ontario has two teams already and a couple of others merely a shortish car ride away so no more there. BC and Quebec are represented so that leaves three major regions. Atlantic, Saskatchewan and N. Ontario. So ... I'd say Saskatoon, Halifax or Moncton and Thunder Bay. Only sort of kidding. Sort of.
Thomas_L, 2009-10-16 15:47:40

Toronto area deserves another team -- or a team.... There is no question that the market could support another team....I think that a more workable solution in the short run is the Niagara Sabres....half the games played in Buffalo, half the games played in Hamilton.... Toronto might agree to that.

But, on their own merits, both Winnipeg and Quebec City could support teams with the proper revenue sharing and TV rights. And resurrect the 'Toon Berries? Maybe -- Saskatchewan supports a CFL team out of Regina, so maybe NHL out of Saskatoon isn't so farfetched. If you follow the CFL, you know that there are a ton of fans going from Regina to Winnipeg and vice versa for the CFL games, so it may be logical to put a Sask team there .... Saskatoon, at two and a half hours from Regina, puts that trip out of reach.

But we can dream can't we?? Maybe when the ownership base changes and the TV revenues in the US deteriorate further we can look forward to this!
Terry, 2009-10-16 15:41:11

I agree that in the long run someplace like Winnipeg could not keep a team. The city just doesn't have the corportate sponsorship for luxury boxes and although the general public will loudly voice support, they will stay home and watch it on tv rather than pay to be at a game.
cj, 2009-10-16 15:34:52

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