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When will Fort McMurray get a WHL team?

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12-03-2011, 05:27 PM
  #1
blueandgoldguy
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When will Fort McMurray get a WHL team?

I wouldn't be surprised if this question has already been asked here, but if not here goes............

Why has Fort McMurray not been considered for an expansion team in the WHL??

The city is approaching 80,000 people and growing rapidly.

Being in oil country there are lots of high-paying jobs. Plus I suspect the demographics of the city are ideal for a junior team.

I imagine the arena is one of the stumbling blocks. I only know of two arenas in the city, one of which seats just over 2,000. Hopefully they can overcome this shortly. A city of nearly 80,000 should have a 5,000 seat arena minimum.

Thoughts??


Last edited by Royal Canuck: 11-01-2012 at 08:48 PM.
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12-04-2011, 12:29 AM
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the travel would be an absolute nightmare. That has to be one barrier

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12-04-2011, 12:44 AM
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leoleo3535
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1) geography makes travel brutal
2) they do not have the required arena
3) do they have someone willing to drop $5-$10 million for a franchise?
4) they have an AJHL team which is a very good fit

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12-04-2011, 09:28 PM
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Hmmmmm. For some reason I thought it was 3 hrs. or so to Fort McMurray from Edmonton. Just checked Mapquest though and it's over 5 hrs. You're right, that could be problematic.

Checked Grande Prairie as well. Not much better. 4 hrs and 45 minutes. Too bad.

I really think either one of these cities would be successful WHL cities given the proper arena facilities.

Wonder what the current farthest driving distance between WHL cities is right now, just for a comparison?

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12-05-2011, 12:58 PM
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No way this would happen.

Successful franchises are driven off season ticket revenue, more often than not.

I can't see a city that is filled with people who do shift work, week in and week out, would be willing to put down hard earned money on season tickets.

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12-06-2011, 04:19 PM
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It would be at least #4 on the list of candidate cities

1) Nanaimo - natural rival with Victoria
2) Chilliwack - should still have a WHL team
3) Winnipeg - depends if the Jets want a secondary hockey team in town...
4) Fort McMurray?!?!

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12-08-2011, 03:46 PM
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Financially Fort Mac could support a team if there was an arena large enough and the WHL really wanted to add an extreme outpost.
The team would wind up being like the Flin Flon Bombers of yesteryear.

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12-08-2011, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueandgoldguy View Post
Hmmmmm. For some reason I thought it was 3 hrs. or so to Fort McMurray from Edmonton. Just checked Mapquest though and it's over 5 hrs. You're right, that could be problematic.

Checked Grande Prairie as well. Not much better. 4 hrs and 45 minutes. Too bad.

I really think either one of these cities would be successful WHL cities given the proper arena facilities.

Wonder what the current farthest driving distance between WHL cities is right now, just for a comparison?
Not sure the exact time and distance from Prince George to Kamloops, but it's gotta be pretty close to the above.

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12-09-2011, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by go_leafs_go02 View Post
It would be at least #4 on the list of candidate cities

1) Nanaimo - natural rival with Victoria
2) Chilliwack - should still have a WHL team
3) Winnipeg - depends if the Jets want a secondary hockey team in town...
4) Fort McMurray?!?!
Personally, I think Prince George should move to Winnipeg. It's pretty easy to shift a team from the East to the West (to balance conferences) since there are so many more teams geographically in the west. Winnipeg's NHL team is sold out for 5 years and there a ton of ex-Manitoba Moose fans who either couldn't get Jets tickets or couldn't afford them.

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12-09-2011, 01:54 PM
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I still think it's a little too risky for that.

Winnipeg is flying on a high right now. If the Jets fail miserably over the next 5 years, it may be tough to sell the Jets and a junior team, especially if the Jets have seats available.

I'd easily wait 3-4 years to gauge the public response/reception of having a WHL team come into town.

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12-09-2011, 11:21 PM
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Financially a Ft. Mac team would be fine. There is a tremendous amount of money in that city. The travel from Edm is at least 5 hours, and not only that. Its 5 hours on a single lane highway that is considered quite dangerous amongst alberta highways in alberta. Especially during the winter. Travel would not only be lengthy, but quite treacherous.

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12-10-2011, 02:23 AM
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Small city. Very isolated. Huge transient population. Yes, there are 80 000 people there, but almost half of those are transient. It's honestly one of the worst candidates for a WHL team I can think of, outside of towns that are simply too small.

And I personally wouldn't want my son to move to Ft Mac for any reason whatsoever. Rampant drug problem, roughnecks (a large porportion of whom are dangerous idiots), lack of available housing, etc.


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12-10-2011, 04:57 PM
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Fort Mac could support a WHL team. What they would have to do though is charge very high ticket prices and get corporate sponsorships to cover team overhead.
I went to a few games in Fort Mac back in the 1990's and all that I can say is that it was in my estimation the wildest hockey arena I have ever visited. The arena was deafening. If nothing else it would offer young WHL players a road trip to remember.

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12-10-2011, 08:57 PM
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Can't see Fort McMurray getting a WHL team anytime soon, they are too remote. They have great fans for AJHL but the WHL is spread out enough as it is. PG will probably be moving soon.

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12-12-2011, 12:33 PM
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I think they might move Prince George already, its the least popular place to play apparently. I think Winnipeg or Nanaimo should get teams, but when you think about it Fort McMurray is like Playing for Brandon, would something like Bismark, Billings or Idaho work out.

Winnipeg (Good Rival W/ Brandon and good support)
Nanaimo (Good Rival W/ Victoria or if Victoria Gets an AHL team Royals move there)
Chilliwack (Shouldn't have left)
Selkirk (Have the perfect WHL arena)


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04-28-2012, 12:53 AM
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On one hand, there's a Gregg Drinnan blog entry (http://gdrinnan.blogspot.com/) from just this Wednesday:

Quote:
A Tuesday night tweet from Tyler King, the radio voice of the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons:
“Mayor Melissa Blake says they could have qualified bidders and shovels in the ground for a downtown arena as early as this year.”
All of which is rather interesting because there are hockey people who aren’t anywhere near the Alberta city who would love to put a WHL franchise there.
However, the WHL office has said it’s not interested.
You have to wonder how long the WHL can ignore Fort McMurray.
Consider a couple of paragraphs from a piece by Fabrice Taylor, a financial journalist and analyst, that I spotted on the Winnipeg Free Press’ website:
“The average household income in Fort Mac is about $180,000. The average house price is almost $750,000. The majority of the population is under 40. The unemployment rate is about four per cent. The population in the region is 104,000, has doubled in the past decade and will grow by double-digits for years.”
Fort McMurray is located 452 kilometres north of Edmonton.
OTOH...

I was living in Boise in the 90s when the arena there was being built. I got a mailing- the organization building the arena was promising a WHL team. Thing is, I had also called the Winterhawks office, and heard an offhand comment about how the freeway between Portland and Boise sometimes is closed due to winter weather (generally true, if only a couple of times per season). When Boise was denied, actually several issues were cited in local media:

- Apparently, the WHL has some rule about no more than a 4 hour drive to the nearest WHL city. That may be why the WHL is reticent with Fort McMurray. That's also a reason Billings isn't coming back.
- Some Canadian owners are sick of American cities. At least that's how it was portrayed in Boise... that could be interpreted as the large market/small market divide, and those politics have to be considered.
- Boise was trying to get into the WHL by buying the Brandon Wheat Kings. It was mentioned that the WHL would never let that happen because there's some quirk in the CHL policy (or whomever) saying that, if there were no Manitoba teams in the WHL, Manitoba's territorial rights (rights to players) would be ceded to the Quebec League. Sounds a little preposterous to me, but might be motivation to find someone to move to Winnipeg for "insurance" purposes.

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04-28-2012, 03:25 PM
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Couldn't see Fort McMurray getting a club anytime soon.

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04-28-2012, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCSPounder View Post
On one hand, there's a Gregg Drinnan blog entry (http://gdrinnan.blogspot.com/) from just this Wednesday:



OTOH...

I was living in Boise in the 90s when the arena there was being built. I got a mailing- the organization building the arena was promising a WHL team. Thing is, I had also called the Winterhawks office, and heard an offhand comment about how the freeway between Portland and Boise sometimes is closed due to winter weather (generally true, if only a couple of times per season). When Boise was denied, actually several issues were cited in local media:

- Apparently, the WHL has some rule about no more than a 4 hour drive to the nearest WHL city. That may be why the WHL is reticent with Fort McMurray. That's also a reason Billings isn't coming back.
- Some Canadian owners are sick of American cities. At least that's how it was portrayed in Boise... that could be interpreted as the large market/small market divide, and those politics have to be considered.
- Boise was trying to get into the WHL by buying the Brandon Wheat Kings. It was mentioned that the WHL would never let that happen because there's some quirk in the CHL policy (or whomever) saying that, if there were no Manitoba teams in the WHL, Manitoba's territorial rights (rights to players) would be ceded to the Quebec League. Sounds a little preposterous to me, but might be motivation to find someone to move to Winnipeg for "insurance" purposes.
The nearest WHL city to Prince George is Kamloops......7 hours away.
The nearset WHL cities to Brandon are Regina at 4.5 hours and Moose Jaw at 5+ hours.
The nearest WHL city to Cranbrook is Calgary at 4.5 hours.

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04-29-2012, 08:34 AM
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I think Fort Mac could be viable. No shortage of cash in that town, and if Prince George can make a go of it, for sure Fort Mac could. No doubt about it.

I wonder if a suburb of EDM like Sh Park or St Albert could support a team?

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04-29-2012, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by I am the Liquor View Post
I think Fort Mac could be viable. No shortage of cash in that town, and if Prince George can make a go of it, for sure Fort Mac could. No doubt about it.

I wonder if a suburb of EDM like Sh Park or St Albert could support a team?
Another team in Edmonton would not do well.

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04-29-2012, 08:48 AM
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Another team in Edmonton would not do well.
Probably not.

Too Oiler centric.

I guess the expansion should probably come from the western conference anyhow.

Or if it did come from the east, I guess Kootenay could move over, but there would have to be an even number of teams I would imagine.

Grande Prairie should get some consideration.


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04-30-2012, 01:14 AM
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The league has NO interest in expansion. Some governors think the league is too large already at 22 teams and would want to contract a few teams or so.

Victoria would have been given an expansion team last year if the league wanted expansion, rather the league tried to move PG, Kootenay to Victoria before being told NO by league ownership, and found Chilliwack's ownership was having problems and managed to get them to sell to Victoria (and Victoria alone) to have a team there..

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04-30-2012, 01:28 AM
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They need to balance out the conferences.

Im not sure what the best way to do that is, but they should be working towards doing it, if it is at all possible.

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04-30-2012, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by leoleo3535 View Post
The nearest WHL city to Prince George is Kamloops......7 hours away.
The nearset WHL cities to Brandon are Regina at 4.5 hours and Moose Jaw at 5+ hours.
The nearest WHL city to Cranbrook is Calgary at 4.5 hours.
I kind of figured that, which is why I mentioned the Portland objection to Boise back in the day. There's no guarantee that the media I was hearing was accurate (or objective, based on a sports editor preferring a San Diego trip to a Moose Jaw trip).

However, there's an all-too-famous bus crash to consider as well.

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05-04-2012, 08:43 PM
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WHL travel is brutal.... By the sounds of it..

Why doesn't the perspective owner of the Fort M team just build a highway....

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