NHL Power Rankings: Ranking the Potential New Homes for the Phoenix Coyotes
Will it be Quebec City? Winnipeg? Las Vegas?
And until Gary Bettman and the NHL give us the final answer, the speculation will continue.
This list ranks the cities in terms of the chances of them getting the Coyotes. Enjoy, and let the debate continue.
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European expansion has been mentioned over the years, with Bill Daly even stating that expanding into Europe was possible "within 10 years time."
The NHL has held regular season games in Europe for the past four seasons, with no intentions of stopping.
I don't quite understand how an NHL team in Europe makes sense, especially with the amount of travel that would entail.
Perhaps further down the road the NHL develops some sort of European division, but the Coyotes will not be moving overseas next year.
While a second team in Toronto could definitely work in terms of interest and filling an arena, the NHL appears to be in no hurry to move a second team to the hockey hotbed.
Plus, the Maple Leafs would have to agree to this relocation, and the chances of that happening are slim to none.
You have to think that the NHL will pursue a second team in Toronto at some point down the road, but it won't be next season.
6. Las Vegas
Las Vegas has long been rumored as a possible candidate for relocation or expansion, and the NHL appears to be taking notice.
The 2011 NHL Awards will be held in Vegas for the third consecutive year, and movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer has long been rumored to be interested in moving a team to Nevada.
Las Vegas supposedly has the fan base, and also has the arena to support an NHL franchise.
While I do feel that Vegas may some day be considered for an NHL franchise, they look like they will be passed over this time around.
Houston is not necessarily a hockey hotbed, but we have seen the NHL do stranger things.
Currently the largest metropolitan city without an NHL franchise, it is hard to ignore the number of potential fans.
The NHL is the lone Big-Four league without a team in Houston, and their hockey history may help the chances of success.
The Houston Aeros were an original WHA franchise that Gordie Howe once played for. Of course that was almost 30 years ago, but Houston should definitely be considered by the NHL in the future.
Photo via www.hhof.com
4. Kansas City
When the Pittsburgh Penguins were in financial troubles and in danger of leaving town, Kansas City was one of the main options the NHL was considering.
Another city with multiple sports franchises, Kansas City seems like a good option for the Coyotes. One potential knock on the city is that an exhibition game held there in 2009 was played to a half-empty building.
While this does not reflect well on the city or its potential fans, the lowly Islanders played in that game, so perhaps they deserve another chance.
Photo via http://www.pitch.com
3. Quebec City
Quebec City has recently emerged as a front-runner for an NHL franchise, with Gary Bettman mentioning that he would "consider" it as an option.
These comments followed a meeting with government officials in Quebec City.
In addition, KHL president, Alexander Medvedev, has also expressed interest in relocating a team there.
But let's be serious, how soon will there be a Russian owning an NHL team? It appears as though Quebec City may be passed over again this time around.
Photo via www.hockeydb.com
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Jim Balsillie has famously tried bring a team to Hamilton three times now, and has failed with each attempt.
While Balsillie has to be admired for his perseverance, the way in which he went about it ruffled some feathers in the NHL circles.
Hamilton has Copps Coliseum that can house an NHL team, and being in southern Ontario, definitely has the people support required.
Just like with another team in Toronto, the Leafs and Sabres will have to agree to any franchise coming to Hamilton, which doesn't bode well for their chances.
Based on the mess that is the Coyotes' ownership, I'm willing to bet Bettman regrets not taking Balsillie's $242.5M offer he made for the team in 2009.
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While it may be hard to for Bettman to admit failure, I think it's time to end this failed experiment and move the team out of Phoenix.
It appears as though Winnipeg is the front runner to get their NHL team back.
It has to be hard for Jets fans to watch the NHL relentlessly fight to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, especially since they hardly fought this hard for Winnipeg back in the '90s.
Fortunately, it appears as though Winnipeg may finally be back in the NHL.
Of course, Winnipeg does not come without its risks. Ilya Bryzgalov has already said he won't be making the move. After his shaky playoff performance, however, they may not even want him.
And there is always the issue with the lack of corporate support, but if the team is there, I believe the support will come.
Who knows, maybe Teemu Selanne comes back for one more season in Winnipeg where it all started?