So, Why Not Canada?
That is the question TSN and the Globe and Mail are asking. There is a lot passion in Canadian hockey fans. We all know what's best for the game, we feel strongly when we've been wronged. We get mad at the Commish when he goes on TV during an interview and says that he didn't want the Jets to leave Winnipeg. Really Gary?? That's so nice of you to say 15 years later!! You were one of the people that was helping the moving company pack the team up to send them to Phoenix AND now you are saying that Winnipeg is a city that will be looked at when the time comes. Aww..so many warm and fuzzy feelings. Bah.
The general hockey world has a lot to say on the subject. There are a few that have such a 'high' opinion of Winnipeg and feel that it is a second/third class city. Well get over it, this isn't your city or your pride on the line. There were a lot of factors that went into the Jets leaving in 1996. Everyone here has been quick to mention that the Arena wasn't full for the games. Bravo for stating the obvious. It has been well documented that the building was not filled. However, there is a few reasons for that.
1. The team wasn't the greatest (they couldn't find a goalie who could compete); it was in the dying moments of the franchise that they found Khabulin, and they just sold of Selanne for a bag of pucks.
2. The Canadian economy of the late 80's and 90's was at an all time low. The average Canadian was trying to save money just to buy a loaf of bread not attend a hockey game.
3. The Arena was falling apart (minor detail); and the seats were uncomfortable.
4. The owners were trying to sell the team quite publicly for at least 2 seasons; no one wanted to support an owner that was trying to kill their team. Yes, I know the argument will be: "if you want to save your team then buy tickets", the reply to that is: "why should I give my money to a greedy S.O.B.? Do you often buy things from an individual that slaps you in the face, kicks your dog, and spits on your wife and kids?? No.
The downfall of the Canadian economy was killing more than the Nords and the Jets. Calgary and Edmonton both were close to being axed as well. In fact Calgary still has a consortium of owners instead of 1 sole owner. In the early-mid 90's both those team had an embarrassing amount of empty seats. They weathered the storm (mostly from the help of the fans who learned from Winnipeg and Quebec's mistakes).
So, its great that there is NHL in the Southern U.S. AND it is great that we have that great TV contract to watch teams play with less than 50% capacity. Great job. So here's who should have teams in Canada:
1. Winnipeg (they'd have to close down the AHL team though)
2. Quebec (with the building of a new arena)
3. Hamilton (with upgrades to Copps Col.)
Sorry no second team for Toronto. Get over it, improve the team that you've got first.
Three teams from the U.S. to go:
2. Tampa or Florida
3. Nashville or Dallas
Better yet, just close down a few teams too. Concentrate the player talents over less teams and improve the quality of the game on the ice!