Los Angeles and 10 NHL Cities That Still Don't Know They Have a Hockey Team

John B Matheson@@JB_WebberCorrespondent IMay 29, 2012

Los Angeles and 10 NHL Cities That Still Don't Know They Have a Hockey Team

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    As the LA Kings have been making their playoff push this postseason, the LA fans were treated to just how little their cities media knows about their team and the sport.

    NBC4 was talking about the three LA teams involved in the two playoffs that are occurring.

    The issue was the Kings logo that was shown during the broadcast was not only from a team based in another city, but was from another sport entirely.

    The Kings are now getting ready to play in their first Cup Finals since 1993, and have set league records during this postseason.

    The media in LA seems to have placed the Kings so low on the list that they have forgotten there was even an NHL team in their city.

    They seem to have forgotten that the Kings have been in LA since the first expansion in 1967.

    So while the Kings do well at home in regards to ticket sales, they still struggle for air time. The Kings are lost behind Basketball, Baseball and of course Football.

    They are not the only team in the NHL that is suffering in a town that has forgotten them.

    In the slides that follow we look at home ticket sales and TV ratings, not including the postseason, for 10 teams where their city has forgotten about them. Also, an alternative location is suggested.

New Jersey Devils

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    Much like their Stanley Cup opponents, New Jersey seems to pay more attention to other teams and other sports more than they do to the Devils.

    The Devils are the third lowest for viewer ratings locally of all the teams in the NHL. With a paltry .27, it makes you wonder what happened.

    Even their home attendance was among the lowest in the league, ranked 24th overall for total attendance according to ESPN.

    It wasn’t very long ago that the Devils hoisted the Cup twice within five years. Yet it seems that the people of New Jersey prefer sports teams that don’t say they are based in Jersey.

    Potential Relocation City: Quebec City, Quebec.

    They have everything in place to host an NHL team once more and it’s only fair that they receive a Cup Contender as the team they lost in 1995 won the Cup in 1996.

New York Islanders

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    The Islanders were a once proud and mighty team, one of the last true hockey dynasties in recent years, having won the cup four years in a row, from 1980-83.

    They are also considered the originators of the "Playoff Beard" that gets so much attention from all teams these days.

    It may be their lack of playoff success or, like the Devils, their proximity to the historic New York Rangers that has caused the problem.

    Whatever the reason, the Islanders have fallen from the once mighty dynasty to the bottom of the league for attendance and ratings. With the second worse ratings in the league at .23 and this seasons home games ticket sales.

    Potential Relocation City: London, Ontario:

    It’s not an attempt to gain more teams in Canada; it is mainly due to trying to keep the Isles in the same conference, as is done throughout the slideshow.

    As well, Southern Ontario has both the population and the interest in gaining another team. London is a two hour drive away from Toronto, making it far enough to avoid the proximity clause of a place like Hamilton.

    London also boasts an arena that could house an NHL team in the John Labatt Center.

Anaheim Ducks

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    Similar to how the Islanders and Devils are facing proximity challenges, so is another former Stanley Cup Championship team.

    The Ducks of Anaheim are not that far from LA, meaning the same issues that face the Kings are also facing the Ducks.

    There is a notable difference however, as the Kings are doing well at selling tickets.

    Anaheim has the fifth worst home game ticket sales and fourth worst for local television ratings.

    The team saw some initial success when Disney branded their own team after a series of children’s hockey movies.

    Those days are long gone and Anaheim seems to be rapidly forgetting their Cup Champions of 2007.

    Potential Relocation City: Seattle, Washington.

    Seattle is a major city in the North West and is fairly close to the Canadian border. With a few groups having attempted to obtain an expansion team since 1990, or relocate an existing team to the city means that ownership should not be an issue.

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Continuing the trend of teams that have won the Cup only to be forgotten are the Carolina Hurricanes.

    The Canes have struggled to generate fan interest and the media’s lack of attention isn’t helping.

    They were ranked ninth lowest for home game attendance this season; their viewership data was unavailable.

    That too speaks volumes about another southern team lost in the fold between other sports.

    Potential Relocation City: Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    While Halifax may not be as large as some of the other teams' cities, it is the capital of the province, and one that loves their hockey. It would keep the team on the East Coast and could support a professional team. Much like Winnipeg, the team may not have a huge arena but they would sell it out.

Dallas Stars

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    When Minnesota’s North Stars relocated to Dallas, many hockey purists shook their heads. 

    Dallas has seen its share of financial struggles after moving to the Lone Star State. On top of that it seems that Texas would rather hear about local college and high-school football than hockey.

    Even with a Stanley Cup win in 1999, the Stars have failed to capture the attention of the locals.

    They ranked fifth lowest for home viewership this season and were third-to-last in home game attendance.

    Potential Relocation City: Kansas City, Missouri.

    It’s another city that has come up in expansion rumors and potential buyers wanting to relocate a team. They have the interest there, and it could work better than some of the other more southern cities.

Colorado Avalanche

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    Here is a team that relocated to a larger market intending to thrive.

    And thrive they did for a few seasons. Interest in the NHL was high when the newly renamed Avalanche won the Cup their first year in Colorado.

    They would win another in 2001 but have been floundering since.

    In recent years there has been more of a focus on the other sports; the Broncos of the NFL were hot this year and dominated television time with their signing of QB Payton Manning.

    While they managed to be in the middle of the pack when it came to ratings, their home attendance was poor. They had the fifth worst home attendance in the league this season. 

    They may not be in as forgotten as some of the other teams on this list, but they are still having issues.

    Potential Relocation City: Indianapolis, Indiana.

    Wouldn’t that be Karma? In honesty, if the Av’s moved to Indy, it would immediately generate interest in the city. The issue, as it is in Colorado, would be keeping it. Indianapolis is a large enough city to support a team and as it is nearby a number of existing teams the potential for rivalries with a number of teams is high.

Nashville Predators

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    Nashville is a team that is slowly making its mark in Tennessee. While they are still growing their fanbase, it is still among the lowest in the league and remains almost forgotten in comparison to College Football.

    The city of Nashville wants the team to stay there, the team’s owners want to keep it there and yet many people in Nashville don’t know that the Preds are a major league team.

    As far as southern teams go, their home game sales are a success, selling at 97.5 percent.

    Yet due to cheap air flights and its proximity to some of their division rivals, the stands tend to have as many—if not more—visiting fans come to support their teams on the road.

    Potential Relocation City: Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    With multiple teams from multiple leagues already in Milwaukee, it would make sense for a team to move here. They have the population to be a thriving hockey town. The move would also allow the Preds to remain in their division, making them a little closer to teams like Detroit and Chicago.

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Columbus is the most recent team to enter the league, and it could be as simple as seeing their team succeed that would bring them to the forefront.

    The Blue Jackets have one of the better players in the league, though Nash has requested a trade near the Trade Deadline this season.

    That can only hurt the already struggling team.

    While Columbus has no other major league teams to speak of, they still ranked third-to-last for attendance and fourth-to-last for viewership.

    Ohio may be able to host a team, but the choice of Columbus may have been the wrong one. With Cincinnati and Cleveland nearby and both boasting more established major league teams, the Blue Jackets may just be lost in the fold.

    Potential Relocation City: Cleveland, Ohio.

    Unlike some of the other teams on this list, the Blue Jackets shouldn’t have to move far to gain the acceptance of the locals and the media. Cleveland already has Baseball, Football, and Basketball at the major league level. The short move from Columbus could be what it takes to help this team out.

Phoenix Coyotes

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    The move to Phoenix is one that saw the ire of Canadian Hockey fans. The loss off the Jets to Phoenix had many claiming that Bettman doesn't like Canadians.

    What caused more fans to be upset was that Phoenix has seen some of the lowest support from any team since they moved.

    The NHL currently owns the Coyotes, and though a potential buyer is in the wings, nothing is final as of yet.

    The only time this season that the arena in Phoenix looked full was during their postseason run, and the effects of that have yet to be seen.

    They rank dead last in home attendance, with a measly 72.5 percent of the area filled. They also had the fifth worst ratings and the second worst viewership.

    In order for anyone to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, they need to have a strong push to make the city realize they have a team.

    Potential Relocation City: Portland, Oregon.

    Portland is like Seattle, in a good position to be a great home to a hockey club. The city is located on the West Coast, having a similar climate to Vancouver. It is already home to a major league team in the Portland Trailblazers, and is large enough to support a second major league team.

Florida Panthers

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    The Panthers are quite possibly the saddest tale on this list. This team finished first in their conference for the third seed overall. 

    They took the Devils to the brink of elimination this postseason before being sent home in Game 7.

    Much like LA, no one in Miami really pays them much attention. With the fierce competition of the superstar Miami Heat of the NBA, the revitalized Marlins of the MLB and the Dolphins of the NFL, hockey is simply an afterthought.

    In fact, last season the Panthers' ratings were so bad that infomercials were beating them in the ratings.

    This season their home attendance was the ninth worst in the league, while their television ratings placed them dead last for both ratings and viewership.

    It is becoming quite clear that Florida is by far the most forgotten team in the NHL.

    Potential Relocation City: Anywhere; really could it get any worse?