It is inevitable the NHL is going to expand to 32 teams at soon. With the new realignment, the NHL will look to expand to in order to even out the divisions. It is no longer a question of “if” they will expand. It has now become a discussion of “when” and where.”
With this series, Predlines will look at 6 cities that are possible candidates for an NHL expansion team. Factors such as population, arena and previous hockey experience will be examined to decide the best place for the next NHL team. Where will the NHL expand its brand to next?
Arena: The New Quebec City Amphitheatre is scheduled to open in 2015
Previous Professional Sports Experience: Quebec Nordiques. The team left for Denver for political reasons. (And that was a good thing. As in, Quebec was on the nutty side when the Nordiques left)
Current Hockey Situation: Junior hockey
Team Name They Should Pick: Quebec Nordiques
Why it will work: It’s a Canadian city. I need not say more.
Why it won’t work: Because Quebec City still maybe on the crazy side.
Arena: Copps Coliseum
Previous Hockey Experience: Hamilton Tigers (NHL)
Current Hockey Situation: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens) and some junior hockey
Team Name They Should Pick: Anything would be better than Bulldogs. I’d stick with Hamilton Tigers
Why it will work: Hamilton tried to sell season tickets for the Nashville Predators when there was a rumor the Preds would head north and they were very excited at the possibility. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, but the city was hungry for hockey. With a half-million people living in Hamilton borders, the Ontario city can be a viable host for an NHL team.
And again, it’s a Canadian team.
Why it won’t work: If Hamilton gets a team, the province of Ontario will be loaded with teams. The new Hamilton team would not create new fans of the game, but spread fans to other franchises. The NHL needs to grow their market rather than spread it out. A team in Hamilton doesn’t grow the game.
A team in Hamilton would be good for the city and they can support a team. But will Hamilton team benefit the sport of hockey? Probably not.