1997 expansion approval
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12-21-2012, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
I resent it being considered "indisputable" that the southern expansion failed. Unless you count Columbus as a Sunbelt team (Ohio? Seriously?) the only Southern team currently in any imminent danger is Phoenix. The others are a bit rocky, but are in no serious danger of being unable to operate in the near future. They're basically what a league trying to open a new market by expanding into it looks like. Given enough time to warm up to the idea I'm convinced the South will eventually embrace hockey at least as one sport among many and a good sport to come watch when football's not on.
We've seen the beginnings of a bit of hockey culture in certain markets like Nashville and Florida, things unique to that market that allow it its own little bit of distinctiveness -- it's a bit sophomoroc, but when you think about it, so was the Hat Trick when it first got started. It's a process, just like it was for the rest of the NHL fanbases. The difference is, we've already done the kind of growing these markets still need to do. They'll borrow from the sports cultures they know, (such as tailgating outside the arena) and improvise the rest. Give it a few decades of history and they'll be just a few more NHL fanbases with their own little quirky ways of doing things.
I think if you can import the southern sports fan culture into the NHL, it'll make the sport richer and more flavorful. Literally, in the sense of the tailgating fans.
Just don't expect them to be Canadians, and don't look down on them for doing things their way. I'm really interested to see how the south assimilates the NHL over the next few decades and turns it from a Yankee/Canadian import into their own thing.
Last edited by Dojji*: 12-21-2012 at
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