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Wanted- More Canadian Teams

from Barrie McKenna of the Globe and Mail,

The benefits of a leaner, more Canadian NHL are obvious. There would be more viable teams and fewer money-losers. That would lessen the pressure to lower the salary cap and shift more revenues from players to owners – the two main issues in the current dispute.

But that’s not what’s likely to happen. Players will probably bend and accept deep concessions, further harming Canadian fans as more revenue flows south.

Angry? Channel your fury and demand that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman give the game back to its rightful owners – die-hard Canadian hockey fans. It’s the free-market thing to do.

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Comments

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Is it time for the US and Canada to go their own way in hockey? If current trends continue within 10 years the US will produce as many NHL players as Canada. Combine this with skilled Europeans there would be enough players to make it possible to separate the Canadian teams from the US into their own leagues.  Canada could have an 8 to 10 team national circuit and the US can have its own league with 24 to 26 teams. This will put an end to much of the frustration in Canada, which will only increase as Americans start to be drafted on par with Canadians. The sense that the US is taking their national game will grow.

The Stanley Cup belongs to Canada so it would have to go with their league, however the US could also use the secondary Cup for its league. Who cares if both leagues present an identical trophy. Over time with different winners the trophy’s would become distinct. I don’t suggest this idea out of animosity with Canada or Canadians, but out of the reality of hockey relations between the two countries. I think for the most part the US would be happy staying in a league with Canada, but I don’t believe that same feeling will prevail in Canada.  Americans in time will tire of the negative view of Americans and US based teams coming from the north. Canadians will get more demanding as their frustration grows out of the threat coming from American parity in the sport. It may be time to start thinking about a peaceful separation before it becomes an ugly divorce!

Posted by timbits on 09/23/12 at 08:24 PM ET

Primis's avatar

The benefits of a leaner, more Canadian NHL are obvious. There would be more viable teams and fewer money-losers.

Someone needs to inform the Edmonton Oilers of this.

Posted by Primis on 09/23/12 at 11:09 PM ET

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We can talk about this in a few years Primis, but if Edmonton stays (and they will) I’d like you to eat your shoe or hat or whatever. Put a little something behind your pronouncements from on high for a change, yanno?

Posted by dzuunmod on 09/23/12 at 11:49 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

This article is so tired. The NHL needs both Canada and the U.S. to make it work. If the NHL were more Canadian, yes, it’d be more passionate and stable, but it’d also be a much smaller-earning league, which would make it less attractive for the best talent from outside of Canada to join. The money does matter.

I’m not excusing the mistakes like Atlanta (twice, for crying out loud) or Phoenix, but the facts are that the league needs the exposure and money of the New York, Chicago, Boston, L.A., Philadelphia, and even Detroit and Minnesota markets to be a big-time league that can offer big-time money to the best players to put the best game on the ice.

There’s probably a good argument for contracting 2 - 4 teams, but there is no argument that moving to a Canadian-based league or even back to an original six type structure is worthwhile.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/24/12 at 08:18 AM ET

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I think it is obvious that the Cup remains with the majority of the original six teams wherever they reside.

But let’s just say a team then moves to Quebec, will that silence the Canadian demands (which are almost non-existent from any Canadian I have ever spoken to) that there be a unified Canadian league? Or would Montreal and Quebec then opt out to play in the QuebecHL, Toronto and the rest of the Canadians teams in the new CanadianHL and the rest of the US based teams in the remaining USAHL?  The reality is no league is without teams that move as the economies shift.

The idea that a “more” Canadian league being better is as obvious as the Nordiques and Winnipeg moving and the Oilers nearly folding without NHL revenue sharing not too long ago. These were all WHA markets that remained viable as major markets because of their affiliation with the NHL. If what the author is saying is that he wants a league that can finally be dominated by the Leafs, Habs and/or Canucks then maybe this would make sense, but making it a “Canadian” league won’t make it any more fair to small Canadian markets than it currently is.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/24/12 at 08:50 AM ET

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Someone needs to inform the Edmonton Oilers of this.

Care to provide evidence that the Oilers are losing money?

The latest info I can find (based on the 2010-11 season) shows 18 teams losing money, with 18 of those 18 teams being American-based teams.

But yeah, Canadian teams are the problem, right?  When zero out of six lost money versus 18 out of 24 American teams that lost money?  Why let facts get in the way though, right?

Not saying this article isn’t complete horseshit, just saying that you’re an ignorant idiot who is at least as xenophobic as the anti-American idiots in the Canadian media.

I think it is obvious that the Cup remains with the majority of the original six teams wherever they reside.

That’s fine logic unless you’re aware that it was gifted by the Governor General of Canada as an trophy given to the best Canadian team decades before any of the “original six” teams existed.

Posted by Garth on 09/24/12 at 12:23 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I say give Canadians more teams (i.e. Phoenix, Columbus, Florida, Dallas, NY Islanders, etc…)

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 09/24/12 at 12:56 PM ET

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Someone needs to inform the Edmonton Oilers of this.
Care to provide evidence that the Oilers are losing money?

Currently they aren’t, but the idea that all teams in Canada have a unique ability to print money is patently false. It wasn’t too long ago the Oilers were being supported by the NHL. The idea that one country as opposed to individual markets has a better chance of supporting a team goes against everything we have seen in the last 50 years.

That’s fine logic unless you’re aware that it was gifted by the Governor General of Canada as an trophy given to the best Canadian team

The Challenge Dominion Cup was also awarded to amateur teams not

professional

  as well, so much has changed. An American team winning it also predates the NHL. However, the NHL has been the trustee of the Cup since 1947 and as long as the NHL is the premiere league it will remain as such. The general idea, that the Cup belongs to anyone, other than the team that wins it is just dumb.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/24/12 at 02:00 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

It’s a simple matter of numbers. If we want the money in the NHL that it requires to be the league that is truly the best collection of the best talent in the game, we need money from U.S. markets. Sure, there are probably a dozen Canadian cities that would go nuts for an NHL team, and the arena would be rocking and fan support would never waver. But it’s a simple numbers game. The U.S. has more big cities which provides more opportunities for fans and more opportunities for corporate sponsors.

Case in point… the NYC statistical area has over 22 million people. If only 1% of those people are hockey fans, you have 220,000 hockey fans. If everyone in the Saskatchewan metro area is a hockey fan, you have 260,000 hockey fans. For the NHL to be a league with what is truly the best collection of hockey-playing talent possible, it not only needs U.S. teams, it needs to be a sizable majority of U.S. teams.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/25/12 at 09:26 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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