Why Adding More Canadian Teams Is Vital to the NHL's Future Success

Jeff LangridgeCorrespondent IIIMay 7, 2012

From cbc.ca
From cbc.ca

Why should there be more Canadian teams in the NHL?

It's really quite simple. If you want the easiest answer, all you have to look at is the birthplace of hockey.

If you haven't been living under a rock for the past hundred years, you would know hockey is born in Canada. There are many different theories on where in Canada it began, but the point is it began in the Great White North.

If you want a more historical reason, consider which two teams have the most Stanley Cups in history. It's the Montreal Canadians and Toronto Maple Leafs with a total of 37 Stanley Cups between them.

Add in five Cups from the Edmonton Oilers and one from the Calgary Flames and you have a total of 43 Stanley Cups. Since 1915, that is also the number of Cups won by 13 different American teams combined.

Now, if you have had enough of a history lesson, just look at the amount of struggling American teams in the NHL and think of the Canadian cities that could handle an NHL team.

Phoenix, who now looks like they will be staying in Glendale, was last in home attendance with an average of 12,420 fans at their arena. Jobing.com Arena can hold up to 17,125.

In fact, four teams that made the playoffs and three others that were fighting for the playoffs were in the bottom 10 of average home attendance. That means success on the ice isn't necessarily important to fans in the cities in question.

The Winnipeg Jets, while in the bottom 10 of home attendance at 15,004, have proven to be a success because 15,004 is the amount of seats they have in the MTS Centre.

The Jets sold out every game. You can bet that other Canadian cities would have just about the same result.

With all the American teams that are either having trouble on the ice or at the box office, the NHL should be looking at Canadian cities that are ready to handle an NHL team.

Hamilton, Quebec City and Saskatoon all have NHL-capable arenas with fanbases that would welcome an NHL franchise, and all of the arenas have higher seat capacities than the MTS Centre.

Then you have the possibility of a second team in Toronto, and you could potentially have four new Canadian teams.

The NHL's reputation is being hurt by having so many teams up for sale in the past few seasons. Gary Bettman might want to grow the game in the United States, but he has to realize that sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on.

Moving a couple of teams to Canada and perhaps adding two expansion teams would give the NHL several million in relocation and expansion fees, and they would have four more stable markets in the NHL.

Winnipeg has proven that even with a small arena you can be successful. Canadians all over the country want to see more hockey in Canada and it is only right for it to return to its homeland.

Seattle, Las Vegas and Kansas City might be enticing cities for the NHL to bring hockey to, but I'm urging Bettman to see reason here.

A city that lost a basketball team, a gambling city and a city that could only handle an NHL franchise for two seasons are not going to provide any salvation for the NHL.

If Gary Bettman wants to have a more successful NHL, he should be looking north because, here in Canada, we are ready and waiting for more hockey in our native country.