So Bill Daly was on TSN's Off the Record the other day and the main topic of discussion was, not surprisingly, the sustainability of a 2nd NHL team in Toronto.
Being a western Canadian myself, I really could care less about the Leafs or mainstream Canadian media's love affair with the city of Toronto. Onto the issue itself, there's no doubt that Toronto could hold another team....but at who's expense?
Steve Simmons, Rick Vaive and Rob Ray peppered Daly with just about everything they could think of, favoring the interests of Ontario hockey fans. They concluded that the NHL shouldnt go down Expansion lane again and that relocating an existing franchise would be a better idea.
Sure, I agree with Rick Vaive in that 19,000 fans in an arena is better than 12,000-13,000 in an arena. but Daly definitely put up an interesting comment on how would the fans that do show up and do care about their respective teams in Florida, Nashville, etc feel about relocation.
I happened to also catch Blake Price and Dave Tomlinson on the TEAM 1040 yesterday, completely blasting Daly for that exact comment.
Well, wasn't the point of expansion to EXPAND the game? let it reach places it hasn't reached before and let it grow? This game has a lot to do with the fans (obviously) and why relocate when relocation angers a group of hockey fans who were doing their best in loving the sport? and you'd be relocating to an area that already likes hockey and already has a team to cheer for. Why would you punish the diehards in Cellblock 303 at the Sommet Center or all the Caniacs in Raleigh for dedicating themselves to the sport and the growth of the sport in their respective cities?
Fortunately, I heard a voice of reason on the radio yesterday and that was Bob Marjonovich, otherwise known as "the Moj". Bob talked about a new generation of fans growing in these cities and that we can't grade expansion after 10 years. We have to wait a lot longer. He acknowledged the fact that there is high school hockey in Tennessee. Heck, we don't even have that here in Vancouver (and boy, would I have loved to be part of that). Just ask Doug MacLean how much hockey has grown in Ohio since the BJ's got there. Of course, Doug isn't a part of their organization but he'll still tell you how much it has flourished in Columbus and all over the state.
If I sound a little rushed, its because I'm headed toward class now but the point of all this is that Relocation is not the answer, not yet anyhow. A new generation of hockey fans south of the border is coming and growing. Let's try and keep the game in those southern cities and keep the game healthy, for them.
Thanks and have a good week, HockeyBuzz Nation.