By Daniel Friedman
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On Tuesday night, it was reported that the NHL is set to expand by four teams in 2017. Toronto would get a second franchise, while Seattle, Quebec City and Las Vegas would also join the league, which would get $1.4 billion in expansion fees.
The NHL has since denied the report.
“Not in our plans. Nothing new to report on expansion,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TVA sports.
But, for the sake of discussion, it’s always fun to analyze which cities “deserve” or “don’t deserve” to have teams. Here are 12 potential NHL expansion scenarios:
This idea has been discussed and rumored for quite some time. It appears to be inevitable. The city’s sports fans deserve a new team to cheer for after what happened with their beloved SuperSonics. A rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks would be fun to watch, too. Think about the scene inside CenturyLink Field for Seahawks and Sounders games in an NHL arena. Those people do it right.
2. Quebec City
The city is already building an NHL-caliber arena. Might we see a Nordiques revival, similar to the reincarnation of the Winnipeg Jets? Either way, I’m sure the fans will just be glad to have a hockey team again. And if they do get one, rivalries with Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa will only add spice to the Canadian-based game.
I don’t think it’ll happen, but people in the area still love the Whalers and have fond memories. There’s a ton of passion for hockey throughout that part of New England.
The WHL’s Winterhawks have been very successful, demonstrating that people in Oregon and beyond enjoy watching hockey and will pay to do so. I think an NHL team would flourish.
How does Wisconsin, a state that has produced plenty of talented hockey players, not have an NHL team? I think it’s long overdue.
Considering the city hasn’t held a Stanley Cup parade in 47 years, doubling its chances is probably a worthwhile investment. I don’t think support will be a problem.
A Baltimore/Washington D.C. rivalry would be fun to watch, but I’m not sure how feasible this scenario is. Still, remember the Cap Center?
Hockey is really starting to gain momentum in Columbus. A second team in Ohio could add even more fuel to the fire. It’s unlikely to happen, but again, fun to think about.
9. Kansas City
The city is still looking for a team to fill that beautiful, state-of-the-art arena. There have been rumors in the past, as most Islanders fans would like to forget, but nothing of late. Looks like that will continue to be the case, for now.
When the Stars are good, they draw in Dallas. Would a team in Houston be able to do the same? Everything is bigger in Texas, or so they say.
A team in Indy would be geographically primed to have rivalries with Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and Columbus. The sport is alive and well in South Bend, considering the success of Notre Dame’s ice hockey program. I think it’s worth a shot.
12. Las Vegas
To say that putting a hockey team out in that desert is a gamble would be a huge understatement.
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