NHL: Talk of Second Toronto Team, and Expansion in General, Doesn't Make Sense

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer INovember 10, 2008

According to a report published in the Globe and Mail today (a hockey bible don't ya know), a second team in Toronto could be worth an estimated $600 million dollars.

So why won't all this talk of a second Toronto NHL team go away?  Well, simply put, because there are some really good reasons why it should happen.

First of all, if those figures are accurate, that could be a really big boost to the Canadian economy, as well as the National Hockey League and its revenue sharing program.

Also, as far as Leafs fans are concerned, a second team would create a new rival and more importantly some competition.

Having a strong, popular team in the backyard of the Blue and White would force the team to become even more fan friendly than they already are. 

Worried that some fans may even leave Leafs Nation to head for the pastures of this new team, ticket prices may even drop.  Meh, probably not. But hey, at least with fans jumping on this new team, tickets will at least be available.

I personally don't like the idea that much. But you know what?  It makes sense.

Which is precisely why Gary Bettman won't do it.

Of all his shortcomings, the fact that Gary Bettman has ignored the real hotbed markets and guaranteed money to go for the gamble, will always be his black-eye on the record as far as I am concerned.

Of course, you can't just put the blame on Mr. Bettman.  What about the fans of the Winnipeg Jets, or the Quebec Nordiques?

Clearly, they weren't supporting their team enough.  The market wasn't strong enough.  Gary Bettman has a lot of blunders, but he wouldn't pull a team out of a strong market that is turning a profit.

And in clearly a case of "don't know what you have until it's gone," fans in those cities have clamoured for the return of their teams every time the "E" word is mentioned.

It's not as if it's impossible.  After all, Minnesota and Atlanta got their teams back.  Why couldn't the Jets fly high again in the 'Peg?

Well, nothing is really stopping the NHL from returning teams to no question its strongest market.  Except the economy, which is about as unpredictable and sickening as a Sean Avery interview.

NHL teams in Canada are allowed to buy things called "futures" which protects their money from fluctuating too much.  Simply put, it softens the blow.

As much as the fans in Winnipeg and Quebec, or Hamilton for that matter may not like it, with the economy in a difficult limbo act, Toronto may be the only Canadian city that can support a franchise right now.

It's maybe a tough thing to say, but this time Gary Bettman can do the right thing by not relocating a team in Canada.

But he also needs to curb the talk of expansion and re-location all together.

Everyone, the NHL included, is entering a time of uncertainty, and the last thing the sport needs is another fledgling franchise.

Here's hoping the "E" word gets put away for a while to cool off.  The moment the economy starts to rebound (and you know it will eventually) then we can get serious about talk of new teams coming into the league, and old teams being resurrected.

Until then, it's just a bunch of people trying to sell newspapers.