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03-23-2004, 07:44 PM
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Ok, I think I've made my point, and those who think we NEED major markets and the NHL to survive in order for Canadian hockey to survive have made their point. What I want to know from Habs and s7ark (some of my doubters ), is assuming we were to degress in the American market, lose several American teams, and had to revert to say...24 teams, what would that really do to the league?

This is my take, and I'd be interested to hear the opposite perspective...

Ok, so this is how it all goes down... Due to lack of interest, hurting merchandise sales and eventual profit loss, a handful of clubs such as Carolina, Florida, Columbus, Nashville all have to fold. 60 AHLers out of a job - oh well. What small TV contracts we already have in place in America fall through the floor, leaving Americans with no coverage. Support begins to disipate even for the top American teams. Due to all of this, even the rich franchises, like NYR, stop offering the outrageous salaries to UFAs. Teams such as Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa all survive as more emphasis is put on gate sales. Soon, some of the top Europeans stop crossing the pond because there is not too much more money to be made here. The jobs that North American kids lost with the reduction of teams are quickly recovered. The league is now mostly North American born players, with the exception of the Forsbergs and Mogilnys who still pull down over a few million per year - higher than anywhere else in the world can offer them. Eventually, with the smaller wages, Winnipeg and Quebec are given opportunities to field new teams. (I know, now I'm getting carried away)...and soon, like another poster suggested, we could even have a 10 team Canadian Conference and a 10 team American Conference! However it ends up, I can only see less clubs, better teams, more Canadian franchises as an outcome. There is no way the league would fall so far that we wouldn't be the best league in the world anymore. As long as we maintained the Detroits, the Colorados and the Bostons the NHL would still be #1, just not quite as profitable for the owners and players as it could have been.

We have pushed the Americans, and at this point we've hit a brick wall. They are resisting hockey like it's a plague. So if it doesn't work, and the league begins folding in on itself, this won't be because we've failed to go after a market. It will be because the market just isn't there and never willl be. This is why I want to see an explanation of the other version of the future, where the Southern Americans go away, the league falls apart and Canadians are left with a bush-league hockey version of the CFL. For that to happen, another American league would have to emerge with the big TV contract, and all the fans and merchandising it takes to pay big salaries that will take our players away. I can't imagine how this will happen though since most Americans don't want to watch hockey anyways!

I'd be curious what that-alternate universe would look like.

Lafontaine is offline