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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, NHL revenues, relocation and expansion.

OT New Orleans? Memphis? Louisville? Salt Lake? Richmond, VA? Norfolk?

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Old
12-06-2010, 02:24 PM
  #101
Fidel Astro
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So 3 teams without a Stanley Cup get passes for historical reasons but you're willing to cut out 11 teams with 6 Stanley Cups between them in the last 14-15 years?
Yes, exactly.

It's just my personal opinion, and it's heavily based on what the NHL map looked like when I was growing up watching hockey in the 80s and early 90s, before the relocation of my three favourite teams and the massive expansion to the south soured me on the NHL.

You don't have to agree with me.

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12-06-2010, 02:47 PM
  #102
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Yes, exactly.

It's just my personal opinion, and it's heavily based on what the NHL map looked like when I was growing up watching hockey in the 80s and early 90s, before the relocation of my three favourite teams and the massive expansion to the south soured me on the NHL.

You don't have to agree with me.
Thank goodness we don't all wish to have time stand still. There are lots of things I'd like to be the same as in the past, but a stagnant NHL is not one of them.

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12-06-2010, 05:44 PM
  #103
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Sometimes I think that many Canadians would like to have a CFL version of the NHL. Now mind you, I'd be lying if I said I was 100% in favor of all "southern" markets, but truly if the NHL wants to succeed in the US then it needs to be more or less a nationwide sport. Without that, a national TV deal, at least, will never be an option. Now of course, some fans don't appear to wish for the NHL to have the status of the other major leagues, but most of us know that that is what the League wants, and therefore trying to establish teams in what might be considered unlikely markets is part of the effort. I'd personally just say to the League, don't try to establish the NHL in the most extreme southern US markets. Places like Florida, New Orleans and Houston along the Gulf of Mexico, San Antonio, and San Diego... places like that are just pushing the envelope too far, IMO.
It seems to me like the NHL being a national sport in America is a failed concept.

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12-06-2010, 05:45 PM
  #104
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You realize that California is more populous than the entirety of Canada?
What does this have to do with hockey?

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12-06-2010, 05:50 PM
  #105
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You realize that California is more populous than the entirety of Canada?
What percentage of NHL players are Canadians?
What percentage of NHL players are from California?

Just throwing more teams in there isn't going to change that much. Yes there are fans who can be won over but throwing an NHL team in every market with over a million people isn't going to suddenly make hockey more popular than football, baseball or even basketball.

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12-06-2010, 09:26 PM
  #106
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What does this have to do with hockey?
# of possible fans.

Why are two teams arbitrarily "enough" for California?

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12-07-2010, 01:03 AM
  #107
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My thoughts on each:

New Orleans
- I say this as someone who has deep NOLA roots and as someone who loves and believes in hockey: there is absolutely no chance that the NHL could work there. Hell, the NBA doesn't even work there. It's culturally nothing like any other US city. Other than the Saints, who are something of an anomaly themselves, pro sports is not on the radar in New Orleans and probably never will be. It's too distracted, too poor, and (please don't take this the wrong way) too black of a city for the NHL to just drop a team and get by on a wing and a prayer. Again, if the NBA can't make it work there's not a chance for the NHL.
The poverty is the main problem, which results from New Orleans essentially having a big bull's eye on it for natural disasters that obliterates property values and deters some national businesses from establishing major footholds there. The lack of corporate support, plus the inability of many folks to afford tickets at prices that a club can be profitable off of, mean no hockey in New Orleans.

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Memphis - Similar to New Orleans but somewhat more like St. Louis. It would be a hard go for the NHL, especially being a second team in Tennessee. IMO, Memphis doesn't have the corporate element that made the NHL viable in Nashville, so this is probably also a no-go.
Yeah, like the world's largest airfreight firm? Or the HQ of a chain of 4,000+ auto parts stores? If memory serves, one of the world's largest hotel chains maintains a fairly large corporate presence there, as well.

The big sticking points with Memphis are 1.) widespread poverty in the city proper, and 2.) FedEx Forum is not an NHL-caliber arena. It holds 11,114 for hockey, as opposed to north of 18k for basketball. If the Predators wanted their AHL team there someday, it might work if the tickets are reasonably priced, but an NHL team would not fly in Memphis.

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Louisville - This is the best candidate of the group, being more or less virgin territory, but I think the NBA has a distinct edge if it comes to a territory war. But, it's all about marketing and opportunity. IMO, the time isn't right for the NHL to go into a marginal small market, but if the timing was better this would be a short-list choice.
Louisville is tricky because of the Cardinals. Every aspect of the Cardinals dominates the Louisville sporting scene. The team would have to have a completely new facility to play in, which might help, but I'm not sure the money is there.

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Salt Lake City - No idea on the specifics, but my general impression is that SLC is not and never will be a great sports town. Putting a team there would be... odd.
I don't know what gave you that impression. The Jazz consistently draw over 19,000, and Real Salt Lake (while I detest that name) has been a hit and had their best average attendance figures since their inaugural season in 2005 (north of 17,000). The Utah Grizzlies are out-drawing more than half of the AHL, and the triple-A Bees have seen a big upswing in attendance over the last two years. As the city has grown, it has supported almost all of its sports teams very well.

The only problem here is that EnergySolutions Arena only holds just 14,000 for ice hockey. If the Jazz ownership was interested in adding an NHL team (they own the arena), the building would require major renovations up top to expand the number of unobstructed seats available for hockey. Otherwise, someone would have to step up and fund a new arena to get a team to SLC.


Honestly, though, if the NHL is looking at relocation options, it needs to be looking for safer bets, not more experimental markets like Louisville or volatile ones like Memphis or New Orleans. The league needs to stabilize the teams it has before adding new ones. Houston is a safe bet that would help the league's TV audience. Quebec, despite its small metro size, is probably a pretty safe bet if an arena can get built soon. Salt Lake City might work, but Quebec will most likely have its arena ready long before the necessary infrastructure is set up in Salt Lake City.

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12-07-2010, 07:27 AM
  #108
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Originally Posted by worstfaceoffmanever View Post

The big sticking points with Memphis are 1.) widespread poverty in the city proper, and 2.) FedEx Forum is not an NHL-caliber arena. It holds 11,114 for hockey, as opposed to north of 18k for basketball. If the Predators wanted their AHL team there someday, it might work if the tickets are reasonably priced, but an NHL team would not fly in Memphis.
Memphis also has DeSoto Civic Center in the Mississippi suburbs as a minor league hockey venue. As long as you're okay with seating 8K instead of 11K, it's probably a better option to be primary tenant out there than having a likely worse lease deal at FedEx.

But as said, so much of core Memphis is a freakishly poor city by US-Canada standards, and there just aren't enough people on the east side to eastern and Mississippi suburbs who would both want and be able to afford NHL ticket prices on a regular basis. the FedEx and airport money only goes so far.

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12-07-2010, 07:46 AM
  #109
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Originally Posted by worstfaceoffmanever View Post
Yeah, like the world's largest airfreight firm? Or the HQ of a chain of 4,000+ auto parts stores? If memory serves, one of the world's largest hotel chains maintains a fairly large corporate presence there, as well.
Any decent-sized city has at least a handful of large corporate HQs. What Memphis lacks is a large and diversified corporate presence outside its 2 or 3 largest entities.

For example, on this list of Tennessee's 44 largest employers, only 9 are based in Memphis, compared to 19 in Nashville and 6 in Chattanooga. That is, Memphis' corporate clout is closer to Chatty than Nashville. That's not going to cut it in a small market, especially not if even Nashville struggled to get traction in that area.

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I don't know what gave you that impression.
It's just an impression.

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12-07-2010, 08:28 AM
  #110
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It seems to me like the NHL being a national sport in America is a failed concept.
If that is the goal of the NHL in the long-run - and I assume it is - then they'll have to go after the Hispanic market heavily.

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12-07-2010, 08:55 AM
  #111
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Just throwing more teams in there isn't going to change that much. Yes there are fans who can be won over but throwing an NHL team in every market with over a million people isn't going to suddenly make hockey more popular than football, baseball or even basketball.
It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? This actually seems like it's the NHL's plan, though. It's insane. Hockey is never going to be more popular or even as popular as any of those sports, even the college versions, in the United States.

It just isn't going to happen. Obviously it's more likely in certain northern states, but even still...I'm sure if you went to Minnesota, you'd see a lot more people wearing Vikings jerseys than Wild sweaters.

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12-07-2010, 09:09 AM
  #112
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Add: Winnipeg, Quebec City, Hamilton

Bye Bye: Phoenix, Atlanta, New York Islanders

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12-07-2010, 09:55 AM
  #113
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Louisville is tricky because of the Cardinals. Every aspect of the Cardinals dominates the Louisville sporting scene. The team would have to have a completely new facility to play in, which might help, but I'm not sure the money is there.
Louisville just opened a new arena in the past month for Cardinal basketball and volleyball. Don't think it'd be NHL or AHL-ready IMO.

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12-07-2010, 10:18 AM
  #114
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# of possible fans.
Number of possible fans is why the NHL has been seeing attendance problems. You can't just assume that large population will automatically equal large number of hockey fans. It clearly doesn't work like that. If population of "possible" fans is so important, then Mexico City, Beijing and Mumbai are all great hockey markets. They all have lots of people who could "possibly" become hockey fans. Sure, the climate isn't right, and hockey isn't part of the culture, but you could say the same thing about Phoenix.

I think putting a team in a hockey-mad Canadian city of 700,000 would result in much more solid fan support than putting a team in a city that is apathetic about hockey but has five times as many people.

Quote:
Why are two teams arbitrarily "enough" for California?
I thought they had three teams down there. Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles. No?

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12-07-2010, 12:27 PM
  #115
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Originally Posted by Fidel Astro View Post
It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? This actually seems like it's the NHL's plan, though. It's insane. Hockey is never going to be more popular or even as popular as any of those sports, even the college versions, in the United States.

It just isn't going to happen. Obviously it's more likely in certain northern states, but even still...I'm sure if you went to Minnesota, you'd see a lot more people wearing Vikings jerseys than Wild sweaters.
It's a sport played on ice where the majority of players are Canadian, and often there are as many Russians and Swedes as there are Americans. It's a sport most children outside of cold markets cannot afford to play regularly. It's common sense that hockey is not going to appeal to most Americans more than football and baseball in rural areas and basketball in urban areas.

Football will always come first, either the NFL or NCAA, only the North East and West coast are any different, and even then California and Oregon love their college football. Baseball, while on the decline is still viewed as the "national past time" and for certain demographics a sport that is largely considered Canadian or foreign is not going to surpass baseball, especially when one is viewed as gentlemanly (less so since the steroid issue, to be fair) and the other violent and bloody.

Of the big 4 American leagues, the only one that the NHL has been able to surpass is the NBA. This doesn't mean hockey can't become popular among niches in "middle America" but throwing all your resources at converting new markets isn't going to win anyone over. Fans in Phoenix and Atlanta don't even know how much longer their team will survive. Even the relocations that have been successful, like Denver and Dallas, hockey is by far the least popular of the 4 sports and attendance is entirely dependent on how good the team is. It works in these cities because they have very large metropolitan areas and are corporate hotbeds, but "medium" sized markets are another story.


Stability is good for the league. Nobody is saying to make the NHL a Canada only league or to give Regina, Yellow Knife or even Halifax a team, and markets like Richmond, New Orleans and Memphis are equally absurd. It's not like every Canadian is already throwing money at the NHL either, from what I hear in the prairies there are a lot of fans who would rather watch the CFL and feel alienated by the NHL. The two biggest CFL markets are the prairies and Quebec...go figure..


Last edited by Et le But: 12-07-2010 at 12:37 PM.
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12-07-2010, 12:36 PM
  #116
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Stability is good for the league. Nobody is saying to make the NHL a Canada only league or to give Regina, Yellow Knife or even Halifax a team, and markets like Richmond, New Orleans and Memphis are equally absurd.
We were at odds in various posts yesterday, but in part I can't argue with the logic of that part of your post. I'm just not so sure I'd include Richmond in the list, though certainly it wouldn't be a prime location for an NHL franchise.

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12-07-2010, 12:47 PM
  #117
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We were at odds in various posts yesterday, but in part I can't argue with the logic of that part of your post. I'm just not so sure I'd include Richmond in the list, though certainly it wouldn't be a prime location for an NHL franchise.
Well to be fair Richmond (or more realistically, Norfolk/Hampton Roads) to be fair isn't as bad as New Orleans or Memphis, but it makes sense in my opinion less so than the large remaining Canadian markets and larger metropolitan areas like Seattle and Houston.

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12-07-2010, 01:00 PM
  #118
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If we the NHL decided to expand there are much worthy cities than New Orleans, Memphis, Louisville, Salt Lake, Richmond, and Norfolk. (No offense to the people who live there)

NO: Like mention above, there's no hockey culture in New Orleans. The only reason you would put a team down there is for a very long term project that has a huge bust rate.

Memphis: Nashville has had a serious problem with attendance in their early history. It has grown a lot, but a second team would go bankrupt.

Louisville: Is the best city from the group, but it's a huge basketball town and having their schedule start in the fall like hockey does makes it a no-go. If it was a football town there could be a serious contender here.

SLC: Doesn't have the bust factor of New Orleans, if a team came here it would be a serious long term project of making a hockey culture in the city.

Richmond and Norfolk: Are OK options, but there are better cities out there.

Another factor I would want the NHL to take under consideration is NO expansion/relocation teams to ANY original 6 areas. That means no Hamilton, Hartford, Wisconsin or any city in the Northeast region besides Quebec City in my opinion.

Hamilton will never get a team. I know they have a fantastic economy area, but NHL will never jeopardize the Buffalo Sabres for a team that will be filled with Maple Leaf jerseys.

Hartford does have distance from other NHL teams, but the fanbase there is most Ranger fans and will sellout with only Ranger jerseys.

Last is Wisconsin and they're surround be Blackhawks/Wings fans. Besides Hamilton, the state of Wisconsin is a great hockey market, but should kept at the AHL, junior teams level.


If I ever was in charge of researching about relocation and/or expansion I would seriously look at,

Seattle/Portland
Winnipeg
Quebec City
Great Plains (Omaha, Kansas City, and Oklahoma)

After that cities that could have the potential of a good support base,
Indiana (State)[Surrounded by hockey states]
Las Vegas
Louisville
Saskatoon
Hartford/Vermont
The Dakota's/Iowa [Small, but possible]

Last I really can't see any NHL teams in,
Houston [Great metro, but the Stars are starting to struggle and like Memphis just doesn't have the hockey base to support a second NHL team.]
Any where in California or Southern states.

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12-07-2010, 01:09 PM
  #119
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Well to be fair Richmond (or more realistically, Norfolk/Hampton Roads) to be fair isn't as bad as New Orleans or Memphis, but it makes sense in my opinion less so than the large remaining Canadian markets and larger metropolitan areas like Seattle and Houston.
Well, I would hope that no one would argue with you on that point, except to dispute your calling them "large remaining Canadian markets". Everyone of the cities being considered in this thread is larger than any of the cities generally being considered in Canada. But if you're talking "hockey fan markets", then I'd have to say that the League appears to take a different perspective with regards to what it calls a "market". Any product introduced into a market can generally be considered to have a "market potential", even if it's more or less a new product, not already one desired by the people.

Let me take the liberty to copy a slightly editted version of a post I made in another thread:
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Honestly, the only American city I can see getting a team would be Hartford. Bring back the Whalers (still think those were some of the best jerseys around)!
It's currently the only US city that had an NHL team for a significant length of time and then lost it. Hartford people don't need to be formally introduced to the NHL because they already have been. Other cities, where the NHL doesn't currently exist, generally have other major league sports and sports teams to focus their attention, and it will generally be that way until you give them an NHL option.

Canadian cities like Winnipeg and Quebec City, and even Hamilton because it's so close to Toronto, are in part in the same situation as Hartford... they've already been formally introduced to the experience of having an NHL team, so logically there are fans in those cities clammering for a team. But in general, most Canadians are hockey-first fans anyway, regardless of whether they have a hockey team in their city to root for or not, and in most cases their cities (not already NHL cities) aren't large enough anyway, and nor do they have other major league teams in the area to focus their attention on instead.

We just simply can't be comparing Canadian sports/hockey fans with US sports fans, because in general most of these US cities we're considering offer other sports options for the fans of the area, and until they have an NHL team on their sports entertainment menu, obviously hockey isn't going to be a common subject of sports interest in their cities.

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12-07-2010, 01:37 PM
  #120
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It's a sport played on ice where the majority of players are Canadian, and often there are as many Russians and Swedes as there are Americans. It's a sport most children outside of cold markets cannot afford to play regularly. It's common sense that hockey is not going to appeal to most Americans more than football and baseball in rural areas and basketball in urban areas.

Football will always come first, either the NFL or NCAA, only the North East and West coast are any different, and even then California and Oregon love their college football. Baseball, while on the decline is still viewed as the "national past time" and for certain demographics a sport that is largely considered Canadian or foreign is not going to surpass baseball, especially when one is viewed as gentlemanly (less so since the steroid issue, to be fair) and the other violent and bloody.

Of the big 4 American leagues, the only one that the NHL has been able to surpass is the NBA. This doesn't mean hockey can't become popular among niches in "middle America" but throwing all your resources at converting new markets isn't going to win anyone over. Fans in Phoenix and Atlanta don't even know how much longer their team will survive. Even the relocations that have been successful, like Denver and Dallas, hockey is by far the least popular of the 4 sports and attendance is entirely dependent on how good the team is. It works in these cities because they have very large metropolitan areas and are corporate hotbeds, but "medium" sized markets are another story.
I don't really disagree with any single thing you've said, but I do think we need to keep in mind that the NHL isn't selling "hockey". It's selling tickets and advertisements for a hockey production. Whether or not hockey overtakes baseball culturally is really not significant; what matters is whether the NHL can take a chunk out of the sports-entertainment portion of the economy. That doesn't necessarily mean taking anything away from baseball or MLB, nor does it necessarily depend on their ability to become culturally relevant. It just means they need to be entertaining enough for people to want to see the games.

Example: the recent HBO documentary "Broad Street Bullies" makes it quite clear that hockey was absolutely obscure in Philadelphia until the Flyers started clearing the benches every night and winning Stanley Cups. Today, nobody questions whether Philly is a "hockey town", even though hockey is hardly as relevant as football or baseball on a cultural basis. What matters to the NHL is only that the Flyers are popular, not whether they are taking fans away from the Phillies.

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12-07-2010, 01:48 PM
  #121
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# of possible fans.

Why are two teams arbitrarily "enough" for California?
Why doesn't the NHL expand over to China then? A country with $1B people...surely they'd all come out in heaps and bounds to watch NHL hockey, no?

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12-07-2010, 01:56 PM
  #122
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Why doesn't the NHL expand over to China then? A country with $1B people...surely they'd all come out in heaps and bounds to watch NHL hockey, no?
There probably should be pro hockey in China.

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12-07-2010, 02:16 PM
  #123
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The NBA is about to abandon one of these markets? Other markets don't even have a pro sports presence, how would the NHL do? In New Orleans case, they only have NFL and NBA, why not bring NHL, that's still only Three?
I still don't get where the OP came up with this list. It seems that he just used the premise of the NBA abandoning a couple of cities and then tacked on a few more that he was interested in getting some comment about.

I could easily make a similar list based on the same question:
Sacramento? Indianapolis? Tulsa? Cleveland, Cincinnati? Birmingham?

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12-07-2010, 03:41 PM
  #124
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There probably should be pro hockey in China.
There is. Part of the Asian Ice Hockey League. (Which includes teams in Japan)


NHL Sharks and NHL Islanders have invested in the country ($$, personnel, resources, know how).

NHL Sharks had an agreement where they ran the AIHL Shanghai China Sharks for a number of seasons. (Claude Lemieux started his comeback there, before heading to AHL Worcester and later NHL San Jose.)

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12-07-2010, 04:12 PM
  #125
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Originally Posted by Fidel Astro View Post
I thought they had three teams down there. Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles. No?
Quote:
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Why doesn't the NHL expand over to China then? A country with $1B people...surely they'd all come out in heaps and bounds to watch NHL hockey, no?
You guys missed that I was replying to this post:
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Originally Posted by Kimota View Post
First the sunbelt teams like the Coyotes and so forth should go to Canada and then when all this is settled, they could do a few transfer like The Ducks going to Salt Lake since there shouldn't this much teams in California. The Kings and Sharks are more than enough.

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