Winnipeg wasn't too tough for me. Just to crime filled, poor and dirty for my tastes. I'm not in Toronto, but will say that it is a beautiful city and felt completely comfortable there.
BTW, the private message that Jets4Life was whining about was an article from the Winnipeg sun about Winnipeg's 30th homicide of the year, and 5th in 7 days. Sounds like a lovely place to live. Might as well just build a big jail cell around the perimeter of the city.
It is an obvious sociological problem, stemmed from opression, that is accountable for the high hommicide rates in Winnipeg. Similar problems can be seen all over the world. Maybe the problem isn't just Winnipeg...
Toronto's okay... if you like smog and high prices.
First, I'd like to express my opinion that Winnipeg is the best hockey market outside the NHL, and should the NHL return, the team would have no trouble attracting fans to fill the arena's 15,000 seat capacity every game.
For this reason, if a US-based team should suffer severe fan backlash (which I expect will be to a greater extent than post '94 baseball) when hockey resumes, the option to relocate a franchise would be more favourable to the owner than simply terminating the franchise and losing the entire investment.
Again, it's just my opinion (and bias), but Winnipeg would be the best solution for a franchise to relocate, with an already cultivated diehard fanbase and a new world class (albeit smallish) arena.
Granted, this scenario could only happen with revamped economics in the NHL, which hopefully the current labour negotiations will achieve, most importantly controls on player salaries. Also, the current owners of the Manitoba Moose would need to be involved, as they control the MTS Centre.
With the revenue streams now available for a potential Winnipeg franchise (which weren't available to the owners of the previous Winnipeg franchise ie. concessions, pay-per-view, luxury boxes, etc.), the NHL returning to Winnipeg could be a feasible business enterprise.
In a nutshell, hypothetically, if a team such as Carolina (no offence to the team nor it's fans) sustains a couple of seasons of terrible attendance post lock-out, ie. 5-6,000 paying fans per game, than 15,000 paying fans per game in Winnipeg is a much better proposition.
If these scenarios all occurred, then I definitely see the NHL returning. Winnipeg is a very nice city with alot more wealth than is generally perceived.
I don't want to see another NHL team relocate, as I don't want others to have to experience the pain that we in Winnipeg, as well as Quebec City and Hartford, have experienced. However, if it's a decision between a team dying or relocating, than I truly believe Winnipeg would be it's best option for a new home.
The Phoenix Coyotes have lost more money in the past eight years than it cost to acquire the Jets (which sold for us$ 67 million) and hockey's general expansion to the U.S. hasn't been successful. Bringing the NHL back to it's hockey roots (ie. Canada) would be in the game's best interests as well. The lockout is big news here and is discussed daily, while in the U.S. it's not even making the news.
I dont see how hard it could be for the city to renevate the arena. I'm sure they could some how put in an extra 3000 seats and boost up the capacity to over 18,000.
We're not playing with LEGO here. You just don't snap on 3000 seats like so many rows of shiny plastic interlocking blocks. Welcome to something called Reality.
They're just about to assemble the various Captains of Industry and sundry duly-elected civic officials to cut the ceremonial ribbon for the damn thing, and you want to hand them a shovel for another sod-turning? You're just not making sense here.
Mostly private money and plenty of studies went into the planning of the arena. If they had forcast a need 3-5 years down the road for an 18,000 seat facility, they woulda built it that way from the get-go, don't you think? From a Construction Management point of view, it would have made more sense. Renovations are more costly.