A Victory For Canadian Hockey Fans, Everywhere.

Today is a very big day in Canadian hockey and the promise of more to come is nothing short of amazing.

Winnipeg has back its NHL franchise, and with it Canada has back some of its influence over a sport Canadians, for the most part, keeps financially viable.

Since Bettmans Napoleonic march into un-traditional Southern US hockey markets, Canada has watched its tangible grasp on NHL hockey dwindle, its tickets prices increase, and its influence (outside of the un-fettered access to our money) dissipate.

Canada has become the muzzled majority, the beast of burden, if you will, pulling the NHL plow through the arid southern markets.

Add to this the near criminal transfer of Canadian dollars out of profitable Canadian franchises, and into un-profitable US markets, and you have the equivalent of insult to injury.  First you took our teams, then you took our money, to disguise your folly, and bolster foreign economies.  That’s right Canadian hockey fan, your dollar goes to support US cities, instead of your own.

Let’s be perfectly clear on this.  Canada is the NHL.  Remove Canadian support, and the NHL dies a quick death.  Yet, despite this un-deniable fact, the US based majority on teams have wrested from its key fanbase any real influence over the game.

The return of NHL hockey, to Winnipeg, is a strategic shift in the current direction of NHL generated funds, and inevitably, influence.

We, as Canadian Hockey fans, remain well under served, and over-taxed, but the return of one, and hopefully, two franchises will, at least in part, help to re-balance the current financial over representation of faux US markets over our game.

This view is not hyperbole, or xenophobic chest thumping, it is cold hard fact.

We, as Canadian hockey fans, should all buy a newly minted Winnipeg sweater, because, in many ways, Winnepeg is our collective wedge severing the chains of Bettman led oppression.

There is simply no justifying money losing teams in ambivalent US markets, while hockey mad markets remain under-serviced.  The business model had its chance, and has failed.

Now let’s move Buffalo to the GTA, Phoenix to Quebec City, Florida to the GVA and the Islanders to Halifax.

Then contract to 28 teams.



14 Responses to “A Victory For Canadian Hockey Fans, Everywhere.”

  1. What I’d like to see is two more teams around Toronto..
    Mississauag/Oakville, Hamilton, Guelph etc ..
    Also another team in Laval Qc,

  2. kyle747 Says:

    Screw Winnipeg. We don’t need any more Canadian Franchises that only distract people from becoming sens fans. As far as I am concerned there should only be 4 Canadian teams, Ott, MTL, Tor & Van.

    And I think you are mistaken about the money trail, it wasn’t that long ago that the NHL had things like the currency equalization in place to help Cdn franchises. With the new TV deal we may see more cash flowing north for a change.

    In any case, I’m more interested in your take on the recent signings.

    • Ever wonder where the vast amount of that “NHL” money came from?
      Hint: Not the US.
      As for the signings, they were as expected, hardly exciting, but it is good to have them done prior to the end of the season.

  3. Last I heard, nothing was finalized. I really hope Winnipeg & Quebec City get their teams back. More Cdn team… healthier NHL.
    By the way, Halifax will never get an NHL team.

    What if a another team does move into the GTA and play much better than the Leafs… will they then start losing their support?

  4. Skeptic Says:

    While I agree with the premise of this blog whole-heartedly, I am skeptical that Winnipeg the second-time around will be anymore successful than it was originally.

    There wasn’t enough population or corporate infrastructure to support an NHL franchise in the 90s. They couldn’t sell out a 12000 seat arena during their final season. There’s no way in hell they can do it now when ticket prices and attendance are that much higher. The population of Winnipeg has stayed flat for decades, there are no nearby towns to draw from and there’s no corporate base to buy expensive boxes.

    Will Winnipeg do better than Atlanta, Florida and Phoenix? Sure. However, I wouldn’t be so sure that they hold their own with the other much larger and much better equipped Canadian and US markets – as much as it pains me to say it.

    If the NHL were serious about expanding into Canadian markets that can support NHL hockey – they’d put a team in Quebec City, another team in Montreal and three in Southern Ontario along with an additional one in Vancouver.

    Those are the only places that have the population to support an NHL franchise over the long-term.

    • There is a strong corporate presence (better than Ottawa). The previous building made leveraging this corp. base impossible. The buiding was at near capacity in the teams final year, even when people knew the teams exodus was immenant.
      With a better building, a salary cap, and a strong dollar, it is a whole new business environment for WPG compared to the time of its demise.

      • Skeptic Says:

        The Jets were in the bottom half of the league in attendance in the league from 89-90 until they left. They averaged between 11,000 and 13,500 during that time and were dead last in attendance in their final year.

        • The building was consistently near or at capacity, attendance was not the issue that cost WPG a franchise.
          In terms of attendance, the Jets functioned at @85% capacity from 1979/80 to their demise. Meanwhile, teams like the Canucks struggled mightily to get seats filled, and then built a new building, helping turn things around. Winnipeg didn’t get this same chance.
          Same could be said for Minnesota, who had even greater attendance issues than Winnipeg, but they are now, with a new building, on far firmer ground.
          The Islanders have been woefully attended for over 20 years, and they too are now at risk of moving if they can’t get a new building.
          Its very much about the building, and Winnipeg has a new NHL building…and now an NHL team to play in it.
          The Nordiques consistenly performed better than many other teams, bt then moved, because of a lack of a new building.
          See a theme here?


          • Skeptic Says:

            Point taken on the importance of the building.

            I’m still skeptical that Winnipeg is a big enough market – but I’d be extremely happy to be proven wrong. More teams in Canada is a good thing.

          • The fact is Winnipeg is a very small market for a pro team with multi million dollar salaries, on that you are very right.
            If 13k is the average attendace, they will struggle, and possibly fail, but if they can move into a +16k average, at or near the ave. CDN. ticket price, along with some corp. support, they will do well enough to satisfy the uber wealthy Thompson family.

  5. awesome awesome post!! right on, bro! let’s hope ATL is the first domino to fall. QC, HAM and TOR are waiting!!

  6. I hope you were joking about Buffalo

    • Not really, and I think BUF fans are awesome (althgh, whinners, lol).
      But, the fact is, the team would be vastly more lucrative in the GTA than in BUF.

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