Canadian hockey fans and other hockey fans of the more established teams from the North will ultimately will hear the following comments one way or another at a NHL arena, or anywhere else NHL hockey fans gather:
"The Stanley Cup belongs in a real hockeytown"
"I cannot stand when these teams from the South and the West win. It's not right"
Ask yourself this questions my fellow NHL fans: How does this mentality help the game grow? How does this enable other non-NHL fans to be interested in the product? What value do those comments have whatsoever?
If we as fans of this great game want the sport to grow in non-traditional hockey markets, maybe it would help if the great fans that the game start to be more positive about ALL the teams. Stop trashing the teams from the South, from the Southwest, and from other non-traditional markets and embrace these teams.
Embrace how the Stanley Cup Champions The Anaheim Ducks were built. Appreciate the young rising stars like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Dustin Penner. Talk about how much skill the Ducks have, in that the Ducks possess a healthy balance of grit and skill. So what if there are palm trees and Paris Hilton stories that dominate the headlines in L.A?
As much as the traditionalists want the 'old NHL' to return, meaning no teams in the South, more teams in Canada, the return of Hartford, or the removal of Gary Bettman (well, that might not be a bad one!), this is how the NHL will look for quite some time. Anaheim Phoenix, Atlanta, Florida,Tampa Bay, and now talk of Las Vegas.
Get used to it, and embrace it.