4 Traditional Hockey Cities That Don't Have an NHL Team but Should
Unfortunately for many hockey fans across North America, there are several traditional hockey cities that are without an NHL franchise to cheer for.
Many of these cities should have an NHL team, but for various reasons, they have been passed over when teams have been relocated or introduced through expansion.
Let's look at four traditional hockey cities that don't have an NHL team but should.
Quebec City, Quebec
As I have noted in the past, the construction of a modern stadium and a passionate fan base make Quebec a fantastic option for the league.
When you see Nordiques fans invade regular-season games each year wearing their vintage jerseys and having their wishes for another NHL team known, it's easy to understand the desire for NHL hockey that the people of Quebec have.
Another advantage that Quebec City has is the lack of another professional sports team in the city that an NHL franchise would have to compete with . There is no CFL, NBA, MLB or MLS franchise in Quebec City to compete with an NHL team.
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There have been several attempts to bring NHL hockey to Hamilton over the last decade, but each attempt has failed.
Wealthy businessman Jim Balsillie has tried to bring existing NHL franchises to Hamilton, but hasn't had too much success.
Copps Coliseum, which can hold over 17,000 people for hockey games, would need some expensive renovations to house an NHL team, but having an arena already built is a positive for Hamilton.
The Hamilton market, which includes a lot of highly populated areas in Southern Ontario, would be a perfect place for an NHL team. From a financial standpoint, Hamilton should be able to support a team.
There's no question that Saskatoon is a city with many hockey fans who would support an NHL franchise, but there are some stumbling blocks that could prevent the city from actually landing an NHL team.
The Credit Union Centre is a nice arena that is great for hockey, but it only holds a bit over 15,000 people. That's not going to help an NHL team generate enough revenue to become financially successful for a long time. However, since Saskatoon already has an arena, it may be a better option than Quebec City in the immediate future.
From a geographical standpoint, Saskatoon is in the middle of Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. So there is the potential for some heated rivalries between the Oilers, Jets, and Flames if Saskatchewan's largest city lands an NHL franchise.
However, will star players want to play in one of the league's smallest markets when they would have much better marketing opportunities in other Canadian and American cities?
The province also does not have a large population, so while the passion for hockey is definitely there, will a team be able fill the seats every game? There are other cities that should get a franchise first, but Saskatoon deserves to get a team at some point in the future.
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London is one of the best locations for an NHL franchise in Southern Ontario. It's farther away from Toronto and Buffalo than other great hockey cities such as Kitchener and Brampton, which is important because the Maple Leafs and Sabres want to own as much of the Southern Ontario market as possible.
The city's OHL team, the London Knights, have been very successful recently and have been well supported by their fans. The Knights led all OHL teams in average attendance during the 2011-12 season.
The one problem for London is the lack of an arena that's big enough to support an NHL team. The Knights play in the John Labatt Centre, which can hold about 9,000 people. That's not close to being large enough for NHL games.
There's no question that London and the surrounding area is full of hockey fans who would help another team in Ontario succeed financially, but the lack of an NHL arena and the city's proximity to Toronto are two major problems.