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09-16-2012, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by I in the Eye View Post
I've had somewhat of a similar thought before... but instead of the AHL, the NHL ownes Minor Hockey (in US and Canada)... From age 6 (and under) to 20...

Just a thought...
Very well thought out. Makes sense. The one thing that I'd worry about would be: The value of the NHL supporting youth hockey in that fashion probably doesn't outweigh the cost.

Right now, the NHL has programs where teams support youth hockey, building rinks, funding leagues, etc. But basically, the NHL is paying for lots of crappy kids who won't amount to NHL talent to play hockey until the competition gets too good for them to compete. Currently, the cost of those kids is absorbed by the parents, not the league.

The NHL buying the AHL concept "works" from multiple standpoints:

#1 - franchise values: (See my PHX example). Any franchise that goes up for sale, you can automatically hold a bidding war for an NHL team among owners looking at 15 markets, instead of one. Looking for a guy to own a team in PHX is proving difficult. Instead, you'd have 1-7 guys placing bids from difference cities: SEA, QUE, HAM, KC, OKC, MIL, PHX.

#2 - By relocating some AHL teams around the US, you can maximize the "growth of the game" aspect. The AHL currently has 23 traditional markets and 7 growth markets (Norfolk, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Oklahoma City), as does the NHL (TB, FLA, DAL, ANA, SJ, CAR, NASH).

Lots of the places we're talking about as potential NHL cities don't have AHL teams? That makes no sense. If the NHL owned the AHL, they could move teams out of small northeast markets that we know we'll have fans of the game (the coverage of teams in New England and Upstate New York is way too dense), and move them to these markets and scope out the fans of places like Seattle, Portland, Kansas City, Salt Lake City. And place teams a few hours away and use affiliations to create more fans in places like Florida and Tennessee.

AHL franchises are in towns that NHL teams view as battle-ground territories for fans. Hershey (PIT/PHI/WAS), Scranton (PHI/NYC), Albany (NY/BOS) for example. The idea is you put an affiliate there, and turn that town into fans of your team (TV viewers, merchandise and occasional ticket sales).

Las Vegas (LA/ANA), Reno (SJ), Salt Lake (COL) expands their fan bases outward and creates more NHL interest.

#3 - It gives you options for a doomsday scenario if a radical reconstruction of the NHL is needed. Teams wouldn't fold or move, they'd move to the AHL. Their colors and names would be tied to the city, rather than the franchise. "You'll be back in the NHL when you get an NHL arena, Islanders. Your spot in the NHL has been transferred to QUE."

Making a 20x3 Promotion/Relegation League? Piece of cake. You could get that going in an hour if you owned the 30 AHL franchises.

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