NHL, Stop Right There!

C KSenior Analyst IOctober 9, 2008

Hey NHL, I have one question for you: What are you thinking?

Last year, I was fine with the Ducks and Kings playing a game overseas. I would have made the game in the middle of the season right before the All-Star break, but I can live with the season opener in Europe.

Then this year, the NHL did it again.

At first, I thought it was fine. I then learned that they were playing four games and had four teams play this time. I was still somewhat okay with the idea.

But then I heard the stories of how the NHL could expand this to eight teams opening the season in Europe next year. Oy vey! I understand the league wants to "expand" the game and make more money—but the NHL is already such a huge market over there and they don't need to play the season openers there to get more interest.

If anything, they should play those games in the middle of the year—like I said above, right before the All-Star break—and use the lower-market teams so they can make money. That would work because those teams don't sell out all that much during the middle of the year, so if you bring them overseas, their games will sell out.

But it quickly became worse.  I heard the rumors of a possible expansion team in Europe sometime in the future. Now, of course, this would not be anytime soon, but it could be within 10 years.

My first thought that popped in my head was how would they actually do this? A team would need to go all the way overseas to play a game, and then come right back to the States or Canada. And people complain about a west-coast swing!

My second thought was what would this do to the fan bases of the teams? I know that I would lose some interest when my Flyers went overseas. It would be too hard to get into the game in my opinion. The crowd isn't real, the emotion isn't real, nothing's real.

Also, my family has season tickets for the Flyers, and we would lose a good amount of games. We don't want that—and neither do the owners and GMs.

So even though I doubt this will actually happen, an expansion to Europe would be the worst thing to ever happen to the NHL.

Playing some games there every year may be okay—but Gary Bettman, please limit those games and keep the game that we Americans and Canadiens love in our countries. Don't take hockey away from us just for some more cash.