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NHL floats notion of second team in Toronto


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  • 3 weeks later...

Isles aren't moving, Wang is still pushing through his lighthouse project. Besides, they had ample opportunity to bolt from 1996-2001 with all the ownership problems...and never did. If it didn't happen then it's not going to happen now.

I don't believe in more expansion and I don't believe in another team right in the heart of Toronto. Let Balsillie have the Preds and move them to either Hamilton or Kitchener-Waterloo.

They'll pretty much be like the Devils to Toronto's Rangers and Buffalo's Flyers. But maybe with a bigger pool of hockey fans to draw from.

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They'll pretty much be like the Devils to Toronto's Rangers and Buffalo's Flyers. But maybe with a bigger pool of hockey fans to draw from.

Yeah, except the new Toronto franchise will probably never achieve what the Leafs have achieved throughout their history, while the Devils have already won more than the Flyers and are just one Cup away from the Rangers. So that's not exactly the best of comparisons. But I get the general idea.

As far as the new Toronto team, I'm indifferent. But generally, moving some teams to Canada seams reasonable. There are a couple of organisations in the NHL which have nothing: no success, no history, few money, few fans. Cities like Winnipeg could certainly use a franchise. But I'm a fierce opponent of expanding the NHL to Europe. The league would be way too big and such long travels would be untolerable. Plus, new European teams would weaker the current leagues in Europe, while not being that prestigous (come on, European NHL teams would always be inferior to American ones. And I don't think Bettman would let the most elite players liike Crosby or Ovechkin go overseas and lose them to Switzerland or Sweden). Opening the NHL season in Europe is great and I hope the Devils come somewhere close to me one year (Slovakia would be ideal, Czech or Germany would be nice too!), but creating new NHL teams there is just too much.

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The Wild, the Blue Jackets, etc are still relatively new. I'm so tired of expansion teams! They water down the league.

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Why not? There's two NHL teams in LA, three in the NY metro area. And Toronto is the NHL's LA/NYC.

The thing is Toronto is a totally saturated market, anyone who is going to be a fan of a hockey team is already a hockey fan. So while another Toronto team could sell out there you wouldn't be adding much in merchandise or TV revenue. So even a subpar market that only draws 12k probably makes the league more when you add in merchandise and TV market while a new Toronto team only adds attendance and cannibalizes everything else from the Maple Leafs.

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The thing is Toronto is a totally saturated market, anyone who is going to be a fan of a hockey team is already a hockey fan. So while another Toronto team could sell out there you wouldn't be adding much in merchandise or TV revenue. So even a subpar market that only draws 12k probably makes the league more when you add in merchandise and TV market while a new Toronto team only adds attendance and cannibalizes everything else from the Maple Leafs.

I don't buy that reasoning Triumph.

First off, as we have seen with the Devils, gate PLUS CONCESSIONS, PLUS PARKING, etc makes a huge, huge difference in the bottom line. When people go to games, they buy food, buy souvenirs and pay for parking. 6,000 people per game is HUGE.

Secondly, if they were to put the team in Hamilton instead of Toronto you are getting out of Toronto proper and into the area where most people are casual fans of the Leafs - they will watch the game on Saturday night, they will read the articles in the paper in the morning, but they are not willing to decorate their downstairs blue and white because they just can't get in to see the games live. There is a different level of fanhood that comes with being a season ticket holder. Hamilton currently is in an odd spot of being fierce rivals with Toronto in the Canadian Football League (currently the rivalry is to see which team is the worst team in the league... and my Argos are kicking ass in that department) but when it comes to the NHL, Hamilton are cheering on Toronto. It's a weird dynamic. If they had an NHL team to call their own, I guarantee more people would buy their merchandise.

As for TV revenue, I can tell you that TSN will think it has died and gone to heaven if there is another Canadian team. They have to fill some nights with bowling and poker that I'm sure they would gladly pay more for the TV rights to Hamilton games. And don't tell me that you think Rangers vs Nashville would have thrice the national audience of Rangers vs Hamilton. The difference in American audience would be negligible while there would be more interest north of the border.

Canadians have been wanting another team since Winnipeg and Quebec left. And I personally think they left for good reasons - they were not in good situations to stay profitable and I doubt they would be even with the cap - we keep seeing it go up to the point where small markets will once again be at a competitive disadvantage. But I think a team could survive in Hamilton - the corporate support would be there, the fans would be there, TSN, CBC and Sportsnet would be happy... I think all factors are there to make it work. To then say to Canadians that "to get another team what you need to do is stop being interested in hockey" is a slap in the face.

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I don't buy that reasoning Triumph.

First off, as we have seen with the Devils, gate PLUS CONCESSIONS, PLUS PARKING, etc makes a huge, huge difference in the bottom line. When people go to games, they buy food, buy souvenirs and pay for parking. 6,000 people per game is HUGE.

Secondly, if they were to put the team in Hamilton instead of Toronto you are getting out of Toronto proper and into the area where most people are casual fans of the Leafs - they will watch the game on Saturday night, they will read the articles in the paper in the morning, but they are not willing to decorate their downstairs blue and white because they just can't get in to see the games live. There is a different level of fanhood that comes with being a season ticket holder. Hamilton currently is in an odd spot of being fierce rivals with Toronto in the Canadian Football League (currently the rivalry is to see which team is the worst team in the league... and my Argos are kicking ass in that department) but when it comes to the NHL, Hamilton are cheering on Toronto. It's a weird dynamic. If they had an NHL team to call their own, I guarantee more people would buy their merchandise.

It's a weird dynamic? Fans in the New York area know all about this - just look at The Locker Room, Devils fans are split on the football team they like and split on the baseball team they like. Meanwhile, obviously Rangers fans share the same baseball and football teams with Devils fans. I think Hamilton can be viable - but I think it should be a last resort for the NHL, not something they jump after. It's going to take away fans from the Leafs, and cannibalizing a market is not ideal. There's a reason why the Devils were moved twice before ending up where they are now. Both the Islanders and the Devils have been mild failures attendance-wise because people from Long Island and New Jersey do not strongly identify enough with their location - they haven't siphoned off enough would-be Rangers fans over the last generation.

Canadians have been wanting another team since Winnipeg and Quebec left. And I personally think they left for good reasons - they were not in good situations to stay profitable and I doubt they would be even with the cap - we keep seeing it go up to the point where small markets will once again be at a competitive disadvantage. But I think a team could survive in Hamilton - the corporate support would be there, the fans would be there, TSN, CBC and Sportsnet would be happy... I think all factors are there to make it work. To then say to Canadians that "to get another team what you need to do is stop being interested in hockey" is a slap in the face.

Survive - yes. Thrive - who knows? It all depends on the US and Canadian dollar.

Edited by Triumph
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