What Canadian Hockey Fans Ought to Do—But Won't

Steve ThompsonAnalyst IIIOctober 1, 2009

So the NHL doesn't want Hamilton to be in its league. Fine.

But don't stop there—go all the way. Take the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks and move them to the United States too.

Take the Stanley Cup and all the other trophies and give them American names.

Clear them right out and let their arenas host teams from a new league that values its Canadian franchises and not treat Canadians like an exploited colony, like every American professional league does.

Because that is what the NHL is—just another American professional league, the only difference being that they play a sport that embarrassingly originated in another country.

The fact is almost every member of the Canadian media and the vast majority of Canadians, including most of those who subscribed to "MakeItSeven," knew that American courts are always homers in cases involving foreigners and that they would stop Jim Balsillie from getting the Coyotes almost from the first day—that says it all.

It means that they knew the Americans would not play fair and that the NHL is anti-Canadian.

Balsillie's achievement has been to hammer this home to more Canadians than ever before. Sadly there are still too many who refuse to take the blinkers off. Some Canadians still think that when the NHL eventually sells the Coyotes or any other American team in trouble, Canadians will get a chance to get it.

Lloyd Robertson on the CTV National News told Hamilton to "hang in there." Don Cherry went to Winnipeg and told the fans they would get their team back someday.

There's no chance.

Just watch the difference when Charlie Wang wants to move the Islanders to Kansas City if he doesn't get a new arena from sucker taxpayers on Long Island. See how many barriers the NHL puts up then.

Balsillie told his "MakeItSeven" supporters that he wanted "a fair chance to bring a seventh NHL team to Canada... I believe I got that chance."

Sorry Mr. Balsillie, I think you are just giving the still hopeful a sugarcoated statement. You told us earlier that you sensed hostility from the NHL Board of Governors before you even opened your mouth. Sugarcoating won't hide that.

You never got a fair chance. You don't negotiate with Americans.

Since 1783, Americans have always hung on to what they have once they get it. They never give back anything.

If you want to negotiate with Americans, you use the British method, which was to take Detroit and burn Washington, or the Viet Cong way, which was to make such a nuisance of yourself that Americans get sick of you and give you what you want so that you'll go away.

If you don't, you get treated the way the Mexicans and Indians did.

If Canadians want more top hockey played in more of their cities, the best thing is to clear the NHL out of Canada and start a new league—one where Canadian franchises are valued and Canadian television deals increase in value if more Canadian teams are added.

Balsillie would spend his time in better ways starting such a league and at the same time giving the CFL its long-sought 10th franchise. He wouldn't need a "MakeItTen" website for that.

The non-decision was a blow not only to Balsillie and Hamilton, but to all future Canadian expansion as well. Like I've mentioned in previous articles, it is not new, but is a consistent policy pursued by the NHL since 1967. Every Canadian franchise except Calgary and Ottawa, which got in at the expense of Hamilton, has been fiercely opposed.

If you are Quebecor, the Canadian media giant that recently announced it was fronting a bid to get the Nordiques back, do you still want to pursue it after seeing how Balsillie was treated?

If you are a taxpayer in Quebec, Winnipeg, or some other non-NHL Canadian city, do you want your money to be spent on NHL-size arenas like Hamilton for teams that never come?

It's time for Canadians to take off the blinkers and say goodbye to the NHL. Stop the craving for American money and TV praise.

That's what Canadians ought to do—but they won't.