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The Business of Hockey Discuss the financial and business aspects of the NHL. Topics may include the CBA, work stoppages, broadcast contracts, franchise sales, expansion and relocation, and NHL revenues.

How many franchises can the NHL sustain?

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Old
11-18-2013, 01:43 PM
  #76
No Fun Shogun
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
Still see this brought up but is there any historical support for leagues contracting teams and buying out the existing owner to do so?
No, but that's because there hasn't been a big four contraction in a long time, with MLB almost doing it to the Expos and Twins in 2002 before a variety of factors killed it before the particulars were hammered out.

But it's hard to imagine that an owner would sit idly by and allow something he likely spent tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars on to simply go up in a poof. A buyout of the franchise would be the only logical way to get said owner on board and not doing all he could to block such a massive loss of investment capital that they put down on the team already.

And that's still ignoring likely opposition from the PA and likely from local and state authorities who may have a lease with said teams or put money into their arenas (which was the sticking point which prevented the Twins from being contracted).

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Old
11-18-2013, 01:45 PM
  #77
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Originally Posted by KingsFan7824 View Post
In 70 years, the NHL has had 1 team actually cease operations. The Barons moved from Oakland, then merged with the North Stars, only to I guess de-merge into another expansion team back in northern California. The North Stars eventually moved, but Minnesota ended up with their own second expansion team a few years later.

If the NHL will go through all that, where they initially expanded to Oakland and Minnesota, had both expansion franchises relocate, each at least once, yet today have teams in San Jose and Minnesota, along with a team in Dallas, it's going to take a lot to truly contract a franchise, let alone more than one.

I get the pro or anti relocation or expansion debates. Relocation and expansion have happened many times over the years. There's not really a pro-contraction side though, or even an anti-contraction side for that matter. Contraction just isn't really an option, unless of course there are far larger economic issue that come up out in the real world, since it's only kinda sorta happened once in 7 decades of NHL history.
Several current NHL franchises are highly leveraged, including the NHL itself as a lender. They rely on a large credit line to make this possible. By that I mean that cities/states and the league have struck deals to make the finances work out. All the US needs is one more massive economic recalibration (which will happen, just not sure when) to make this very difficult to perpetuate.

I know it's highly improbable right now but a leaner/fitter NHL could survive such a storm more readily than the bloated league we have right now that has liberally used financial creativity to prop up franchise values and its size.

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11-18-2013, 01:49 PM
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
No, but that's because there hasn't been a big four contraction in a long time, with MLB almost doing it to the Expos and Twins in 2002 before a variety of factors killed it before the particulars were hammered out.

But it's hard to imagine that an owner would sit idly by and allow something he likely spent tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars on to simply go up in a poof. A buyout of the franchise would be the only logical way to get said owner on board and not doing all he could to block such a massive loss of investment capital that they put down on the team already.

And that's still ignoring likely opposition from the PA and likely from local and state authorities who may have a lease with said teams or put money into their arenas (which was the sticking point which prevented the Twins from being contracted).
Moyes didn't get a nickle after the Coyotes went into bankruptcy.

The NHL paid money to the court to protect its name with creditors (Dell et al), CoG, and itself (also having $80ish million sunk into the Coyotes).

They have yet to recoup that money.

The hypothetical owner you mention may simply want to say that he lost $200 million and he doesn't want to lose more. Hanging on and continuing to spend money so he can sell a distressed asset for pennies on the dollar? I don't see how that makes any financial sense.

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Old
11-18-2013, 02:13 PM
  #79
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
Several current NHL franchises are highly leveraged, including the NHL itself as a lender. They rely on a large credit line to make this possible. By that I mean that cities/states and the league have struck deals to make the finances work out. All the US needs is one more massive economic recalibration (which will happen, just not sure when) to make this very difficult to perpetuate.

I know it's highly improbable right now but a leaner/fitter NHL could survive such a storm more readily than the bloated league we have right now that has liberally used financial creativity to prop up franchise values and its size.
As with pretty much anything, that leaner/fitter NHL won't come about until after that massive economic recalibration. As long as they can't keep coming up with new financially creative ways to keep things going.

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11-18-2013, 02:14 PM
  #80
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Originally Posted by MNNumbers View Post
Fugu,

Let's have it: Which 24 are your teams?

Mine?
Van, Cal, Edm, Win, Tor, Tor2, Mont, QC - No Ottawa. This is 8.

LA, Col, Dal, Minn, Chi, Det, Was, Pitt, Phil, NY, NY2, NJ, Bos, StL, Sea, TB or Nash

1. Montreal
2. Toronto
3. Detroit
4. Boston
5. NY Rangers
6. Chicago
7. Philadelphia
8. Minnesota
9. Los Angeles
10. San Jose
11. Vancouver
12. Seattle
13. Calgary
14. Dallas
15. Colorado
16. Scottsdale
17. St. Louis
18. Atlanta
19. Washington DC
20. Pittsburgh
21. NJD or Isles, not both (sorry)
22. Buffalo/Hamilton/Mississauga
23. Florida (in a better location Miami/Ft Lauderdale corridor)
24. Portland or San Diego


I could be convinced to keep one more Canadian team, and then probably Tampa or alt larger US market.

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11-18-2013, 02:22 PM
  #81
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Actually, Moyes sold the team to the NHL for $140 million, of which Moyes got $13.3 million after taking the huge amount of money that the NHL had already put into the running operations of the franchise was taken out of it.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sport...61958678_x.htm

And that's an exceptional circumstance where the league had already been essentially paying the team's bills for a while now, and even with that in mind the league was interested in trying to recoup their losses with a local buyer before contemplating relocation, much less contraction.

Not seeing a similar scenario unfolding with multiple teams who had operational independence, aren't nearly in as deep of a hole as the Yotes were, and who aren't actively looking to see now.

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11-18-2013, 02:25 PM
  #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
Actually, Moyes sold the team to the NHL for $140 million, of which Moyes got $13.3 million after taking the huge amount of money that the NHL had already put into the running operations of the franchise was taken out of it.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sport...61958678_x.htm

And that's an exceptional circumstance where the league had already been essentially paying the team's bills for a while now, and even with that in mind the league was interested in trying to recoup their losses with a local buyer before contemplating relocation, much less contraction.

Not seeing a similar scenario unfolding with multiple teams who had operational independence, aren't nearly in as deep of a hole as the Yotes were, and who aren't actively looking to see now.
The NHL writes bigger checks for revenue transfer than that $13.3 million Moyes will never see. Recall they're suing him for $65 million or thereabouts.


If you really felt a market was dying, it would be cheaper to buy it out for $13 million than continue the revenue transfer checks annually. Just sayin'.... it is real money after all.

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11-18-2013, 02:26 PM
  #83
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Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
Almost.

Six teams per conference make it in the NFL playoffs, but I do agree that there is a nice symmetry for 50% of teams getting in, with four even eight-team divisions.
Haha I meant the 32 team part, not the playoff part. It didn't come out the way I wanted it to I guess.
I feel like it isn't fair for the Eastern Conference to have 2 more teams than the West, makes it that much more harder to make the playoffs.

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11-18-2013, 02:50 PM
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
The NHL writes bigger checks for revenue transfer than that $13.3 million Moyes will never see. Recall they're suing him for $65 million or thereabouts.


If you really felt a market was dying, it would be cheaper to buy it out for $13 million than continue the revenue transfer checks annually. Just sayin'.... it is real money after all.
Sure, but the point is that the Yotes were an extreme extenuating circumstance and not at all indicative of what a potential future buyout could possibly entail.

For the league's sake, hope we never have to see a scenario where another team gets that buried, much less six.

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11-18-2013, 03:48 PM
  #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
The NHL writes bigger checks for revenue transfer than that $13.3 million Moyes will never see. Recall they're suing him for $65 million or thereabouts.
Just because the NHL is suing Moyes doesn't necessarily mean that the NHL has a leg to stand on with respect to the suit. As I recall, the bankruptcy court threw out most of the NHL's suit at the beginning of October, because all monies the NHL wanted from Moyes should have been addressed during the bankruptcy proceeding.
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
If you really felt a market was dying, it would be cheaper to buy it out for $13 million than continue the revenue transfer checks annually. Just sayin'.... it is real money after all.
Except that revenue transfer occurs annually, whether or not there are 30 teams or there are 24 teams. And I'd be more than willing to bet if the NHL went to 24 teams that many would start calling for the next six teams to be contracted because they are receiving revenue sharing payments.

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11-18-2013, 04:05 PM
  #86
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Originally Posted by Grudy0 View Post
Just because the NHL is suing Moyes doesn't necessarily mean that the NHL has a leg to stand on with respect to the suit. As I recall, the bankruptcy court threw out most of the NHL's suit at the beginning of October, because all monies the NHL wanted from Moyes should have been addressed during the bankruptcy proceeding.Except that revenue transfer occurs annually, whether or not there are 30 teams or there are 24 teams. And I'd be more than willing to bet if the NHL went to 24 teams that many would start calling for the next six teams to be contracted because they are receiving revenue sharing payments.

We're getting into parallel discussions between this thread and the number of teams the league needs thread.

Nothing is written in stone. If the league actually did wish to contract, the onus would be on them to review the entire economic system not just keep plugging the holes the expansion and subsequent lockouts produced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
Sure, but the point is that the Yotes were an extreme extenuating circumstance and not at all indicative of what a potential future buyout could possibly entail.

For the league's sake, hope we never have to see a scenario where another team gets that buried, much less six.
Let's assume that Chipman and MTS Centre had not been suitable. Where would the Thrashers have gone?

I know this gets into a lot of hypothetical/what if scenarios, but the overarching point is that during the lockout, even the PA accepted the claim that a handful of franchises were in very serious financial difficulty. Hence the enhanced revenue sharing and the targeted industry growth fund-- which may still not be enough if the HRR keeps rising as quickly as everyone is predicting (and hopefully most of that growth is central revenue).

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11-18-2013, 04:13 PM
  #87
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
Let's assume that Chipman and MTS Centre had not been suitable. Where would the Thrashers have gone?

I know this gets into a lot of hypothetical/what if scenarios, but the overarching point is that during the lockout, even the PA accepted the claim that a handful of franchises were in very serious financial difficulty. Hence the enhanced revenue sharing and the targeted industry growth fund-- which may still not be enough if the HRR keeps rising as quickly as everyone is predicting (and hopefully most of that growth is central revenue).
Guess it depends if the NHL would've been comfortable putting a team in Le Colisee for a few years until the new QC arena is completed. The prospective ownership is already there.

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11-18-2013, 04:21 PM
  #88
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Quote:
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24-26 franchises.
I'd go with 24 as well. I think a few NHL teams are in AHL markets personally. 4 Divisions with 6 teams is pretty much perfect,

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11-18-2013, 04:23 PM
  #89
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
We're getting into parallel discussions between this thread and the number of teams the league needs thread.

Nothing is written in stone. If the league actually did wish to contract, the onus would be on them to review the entire economic system not just keep plugging the holes the expansion and subsequent lockouts produced.
To be fair, you addressed that you'd have a 24-team League. IMO, that requires the NHL to buy-out six existing clubs, and it's not an easy feat. Consider that the NHL forwarded revenue checks to float the Coyotes until Moyes threw the keys on the desk, and basically, the NHL purchased the team for $140 million. The Blues et al were recently sold for about $140 million. It would take the NHL about $1 billion to buy out six clubs to get to 24 teams, under your scenario. And more about the economic system to follow...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
Let's assume that Chipman and MTS Centre had not been suitable. Where would the Thrashers have gone?

I know this gets into a lot of hypothetical/what if scenarios, but the overarching point is that during the lockout, even the PA accepted the claim that a handful of franchises were in very serious financial difficulty. Hence the enhanced revenue sharing and the targeted industry growth fund-- which may still not be enough if the HRR keeps rising as quickly as everyone is predicting (and hopefully most of that growth is central revenue).
Portland, if the price is right? Seattle, if it would have caused the SoDo arena to be built? Quebec, as they have shovels in the ground?

The simple theory is usually the most correct. The NHL and their Board of Governors are beholden to a cap number as to what they want to give the players. Until the BoG addresses the problem with the HRR cap number, that the handful of top-revenue teams would wreak financial havok by completely outgenerating revenues with respect to the bottom-revenue teams in a 30-, 24-, or 18-team league will always need to be addressed with revenue sharing, the same revenue sharing that occurs in every other North American sport.

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Old
11-18-2013, 04:30 PM
  #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
Let's assume that Chipman and MTS Centre had not been suitable. Where would the Thrashers have gone?

I know this gets into a lot of hypothetical/what if scenarios, but the overarching point is that during the lockout, even the PA accepted the claim that a handful of franchises were in very serious financial difficulty. Hence the enhanced revenue sharing and the targeted industry growth fund-- which may still not be enough if the HRR keeps rising as quickly as everyone is predicting (and hopefully most of that growth is central revenue).
Probably Quebec City, maybe Portland. Seattle wasn't ready then, but those two likely were, or close enough to put the finishing touches together on the fly.

That's the thing... contraction only makes sense if there are no local buyers interested in keeping a team in a market and no outside buyers interested in bringing a team to their neck of the woods.

Now, of the top of my head, there's Quebec City, Hamilton, Saskatoon, Portland, and Seattle, and that's not mentioning potential wild cards that may open up in the next few years if arena deals get done (Vegas and Markham) or if the league digs deep and is willing to drastically reduce their asking price (which may open up a buyer in Kansas City or get Les Alexander interested again in Houston).

Obviously, not all of those scenarios or markets are likely appealing to the league, and a few are probably repugnant to them, but they're all more attractive than the alternative of just folding a team and effectively leaving money on the table.

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11-18-2013, 04:31 PM
  #91
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I' m not in favour of contraction by any means but if one is and decides teams that are making money should go and teams that currently don't exist or are in financial trouble stay....I don't know what to say.

Eliminating Ottawa, Edmonton and Winnipeg and keeping the Yotes and the Panthers is either political correctness gone crazy or I don't know

Adding Seattle, Portland/San Diego and not adding QC....OMG

And bringing back Atlanta......okay LOL

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11-18-2013, 04:33 PM
  #92
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Originally Posted by Grudy0 View Post
To be fair, you addressed that you'd have a 24-team League. IMO, that requires the NHL to buy-out six existing clubs, and it's not an easy feat. Consider that the NHL forwarded revenue checks to float the Coyotes until Moyes threw the keys on the desk, and basically, the NHL purchased the team for $140 million. The Blues et al were recently sold for about $140 million. It would take the NHL about $1 billion to buy out six clubs to get to 24 teams, under your scenario. And more about the economic system to follow...Portland, if the price is right? Seattle, if it would have caused the SoDo arena to be built? Quebec, as they have shovels in the ground?
Oh, I know it would not be easy or desirable from some perspectives, but I did the exercise because Peddie said he actually brought it up with Bettman. He was CEO of the richest NHL franchise and certainly should have some understanding of the money being generated-- and spent.

Quote:
The simple theory is usually the most correct. The NHL and their Board of Governors are beholden to a cap number as to what they want to give the players. Until the BoG addresses the problem with the HRR cap number, that the handful of top-revenue teams would wreak financial havok by completely outgenerating revenues with respect to the bottom-revenue teams in a 30-, 24-, or 18-team league will always need to be addressed with revenue sharing, the same revenue sharing that occurs in every other North American sport.
As you probably know, the NFL made this easiest by instituting a lot of revenue sharing options early before franchise values exploded, and THEN it reaped the rewards by gaining massive national contracts.

MLB opted for their luxury tax system, but also has massive amounts of shared TV money.

The NBA is closest to the NHL in structure, league size and economics (e.g., arena sizes, tenancy, though roster sizes and development of talent is very different). They receive about a billion annually in national TV/digital rights money, in addition to the local money like the NHL has.


So again, it's much, much easier to share revenue that's supposed to be shared (central funds). It's financially unacceptable to ask rich teams to give more than they will receive in benefit because that actually erodes their franchise values. There is no business reason whatsoever that can defend that scenario, transferring your franchise value to another franchise.

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11-18-2013, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by 2525 View Post
I' m not in favour of contraction by any means but if one is and decides teams that are making money should go and teams that currently don't exist or are in financial trouble stay....I don't know what to say.

Eliminating Ottawa, Edmonton and Winnipeg and keeping the Yotes and the Panthers is either political correctness gone crazy or I don't know

Adding Seattle, Portland/San Diego and not adding QC....OMG

And bringing back Atlanta......okay LOL
Me politically correct? Nopity nope.


I focus on the biggest media markets, the places you're supposed to be if you want to be one of the big boys on the block.

The other option is to basically give up and just stay a regional/northern league.

Edit: Also noting that I don't think Atlanta with ASG/Phillips was a good option, but with an arena in a better location? Yes. Phoenix based in Scottsdale? Yes. The smaller Cdn teams can make enough money with the CAD at 90c, and then with the cap system currently in place. That doesn't mean those are the best options for a smaller league however.

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Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post

Obviously, not all of those scenarios or markets are likely appealing to the league, and a few are probably repugnant to them, but they're all more attractive than the alternative of just folding a team and effectively leaving money on the table.

But not if the only way they can survive is through indefinite revenue transfer. That was originally supposed to be a stop gap solution so that these teams could catch up. The reality was, imo, that the revenue gap was never going to be overcome because it's the bigger markets that keep fueling the growth.

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11-18-2013, 04:39 PM
  #94
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how many owners might be tempted by a "throw the keys on the table and wash your hands" agreement? who wants out now?

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11-18-2013, 04:49 PM
  #95
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1. Montreal
2. Toronto
3. Detroit
4. Boston
5. NY Rangers
6. Chicago
7. Philadelphia
8. Minnesota
9. Los Angeles
10. San Jose
11. Vancouver
12. Seattle
13. Calgary
14. Dallas
15. Colorado
16. Scottsdale
17. St. Louis
18. Atlanta
19. Washington DC
20. Pittsburgh
21. NJD or Isles, not both (sorry)
22. Buffalo/Hamilton/Mississauga
23. Florida (in a better location Miami/Ft Lauderdale corridor)
24. Portland or San Diego


I could be convinced to keep one more Canadian team, and then probably Tampa or alt larger US market.
So, you would keep a team in Arizona and eliminate 3 Canadian franchises. Really?

This "large market" concept is an absolute joke. It would only be a factor if demand for the sport was equal across all market sizes. And as we all know, demand for hockey in southern Florida and in the Desert are not comparable to the northern U.S. and Canada.

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11-18-2013, 04:49 PM
  #96
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Me politically correct? Nopity nope.


I focus on the biggest media markets, the places you're supposed to be if you want to be one of the big boys on the block.

The other option is to basically give up and just stay a regional/northern league.


But not if the only way they can survive is through indefinite revenue transfer. That was originally supposed to be a stop gap solution so that these teams could catch up. The reality was, imo, that the revenue gap was never going to be overcome because it's the bigger markets that keep fueling the growth.


It's a big boy up here and most are quite happy.

Why does hockey have to be one of the big boys on the block?
Hockey will never be a big boy in the states. I could live as long as Methuselah and it'll still be number 3 or 4 in the US. They have football, baseball, basketball, heck even soccer and so much more to spend their entertainment dollar.

You'll never get the level of youth participation as the above sports, not even close. So why eliminate 3 teams (Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg) that make money and is really the only place to spend sports dollars and eliminate the chance of QC, Hamilton and Toronto2.

In my eyes, you stay with your strength areas, eliminate the weak areas and if that means you become a northern or regional league, so be it.


Again I'm not one for contraction.

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11-18-2013, 05:12 PM
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It's a big boy up here and most are quite happy.

Why does hockey have to be one of the big boys on the block?
Hockey will never be a big boy in the states. I could live as long as Methuselah and it'll still be number 3 or 4 in the US. They have football, baseball, basketball, heck even soccer and so much more to spend their entertainment dollar.

You'll never get the level of youth participation as the above sports, not even close. So why eliminate 3 teams (Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg) that make money and is really the only place to spend sports dollars and eliminate the chance of QC, Hamilton and Toronto2.

In my eyes, you stay with your strength areas, eliminate the weak areas and if that means you become a northern or regional league, so be it.


Again I'm not one for contraction.
You may have missed my edit, but I generally don't like this cap/rev transfer system, and the scenario is having a league of only 24 teams. Hence my conclusions about where to invest. Any number you pick that starts going downward, say 20 or 16 teams would mean very careful thought into who stays/goes, and that includes the Canadian teams.

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Originally Posted by jimmycrackcorn View Post
So, you would keep a team in Arizona and eliminate 3 Canadian franchises. Really?

This "large market" concept is an absolute joke. It would only be a factor if demand for the sport was equal across all market sizes. And as we all know, demand for hockey in southern Florida and in the Desert are not comparable to the northern U.S. and Canada.

In a league where I'd have 24 or fewer teams? Absolutely some of the smaller Canadian markets wouldn't make the cut, just like I cut any US market that wasn't in about the top 20 or so in market size.

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11-18-2013, 05:13 PM
  #98
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Fugu,

Let's have it: Which 24 are your teams?

This is all your fault, by the way.

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Old
11-18-2013, 05:58 PM
  #99
Killion
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
This is all your fault, by the way.
Ya, thats always a contentious question to answer, "whats your ideal sized NHL, name the locations". Sometimes you just cant avoid answering it and ya just know whats gonna follow.

So here, I'll help to deflect some of the heat with my list, losing 4 teams;

1) QC
2) Montreal
3) Toronto
4) Hamilton
5) Winnipeg
6) Calgary
7) Vancouver

8) Seattle
9) Portland
10) San Jose
11) Los Angeles or Anaheim
12) Colorado
13) Dallas
14) Houston
15) Phoenix
16) Nashville

17) Atlanta
18) Washington
19) Carolina
20) Boston
21) New York
22) New Jersey
23) Chicago
24) Detroit
25) Minnesota
26) Columbus

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Old
11-18-2013, 05:58 PM
  #100
2525
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
This is all your fault, by the way.
Shocked you responded

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