The Canadians are obviously afraid of Starbucks taking over Tim Hortons

Listen it's still summer (sort of), so everyone in the (mostly) Canadian Hockey media's favorite pastime is talking about moving those awful southern teams either back to their own country in places where teams failed before because the markets weren't large enough to hold onto them in the first place (I'm looking at you Winnipeg and Quebec City) (FYI there's too many examples to count). This isn't a knock against the fans of those cities, but we've been here before, Winnipeg has a metropolitan area size of approximately 695k people. If it were an American City it would be about the same size as Greensboro-High Point, NC or Akron, OH. Quebec City is a little bigger with a population of 716k which gives it a population roughly equal to Columbia SC, but still smaller than El Paso, TX and the Grand Rapids-Wyoming MI area.Despite the fact that Canadian demand for tickets is high, it is monumentally stupid to think that a city of either size can adequately support an NHL team. The only place in Canada that is big enough to support another team right now is Hamilton, mainly because of it's proximity to Toronto.

Some writers offer up contraction of the southern teams as the best option. They offer up relatively weak arguments about quality of play, and schedule compactness. To be honest the argument seems like bitterness over the fact that there's as many teams below the Mason-Dixon line as there is in the great white North. Sometimes there's mention of KC or Vegas for relocation, but that doesn't really solve the "problem" of having hockey teams in hockey coldbeds (what's the opposite of a hotbed?)

I'm sure I have written about this before, but I think it bears repeating because it shows the complete lack of originality of many current sportswriters, is that there's an American city within driving distance of Canada (1 hour 49 minutes from the Border). It has a metro population of 3.3M, and currently has no professional sports franchises in the winter months. Oh and for business support there are 15 fortune 500 companies in the metro area. Of course, I am talking about Seattle, WA.

Why this city (along with Cleveland OH, Milwaukee WI, and even Portland, OR) are not mentioned as a potential location for a franchise is beyond me. Seattle seems like an idea place for a franchise. It would have a natural geographic rival (Vancouver), and no competition from an NBA franchise. And they have an easily convertable 12 year old arena. In fact the NHL would actually have some good pub by moving a franchise to Seattle.

So from now on can we put Seattle on the short list of relocation places, I realize that's outside of Canada's borders so the team couldn't possibly work, but we could give it a try right?

6 comments:

  1. Not to mention that the Northwest teams would love to have another team within a reasonable travel distance. It's insane how far those teams have to fly just to play within their own division.

    You could move Colorado to the Southwest, Dallas to the Central, Nashville to the Southeast, and relocate the Panthers to Seattle. Problem solved!

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  2. didn't even think about travel problems, but that's an excellent point, even though I'd move the Thrashers before the Panthers.

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  3. Sheer genius. I'd love to see a team in Seattle. They've got a WHL team as well as a couple others in that area so it seems like it could be a viable hockey market.

    And we're not worried about Starbucks. That overpriced, bitter stuff just doesn't appeal to our refined taste buds :P

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  4. the main issue is that seattle is a poor sports market (i have no idea why). the NBA has moved on, and the mariners and seahawks aren't exactly great franchises either.

    it's also really close to vancouver. im not saying i agree with no team there, but im sure these are the main arguments against seattle as a NHL city.

    how does minor league hockey do there? do they have an AHL team or something?

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  5. @ matt:

    I respectfully disagree with the "Seattle's not a great sports town" argument.

    Until last season, when a move became iminent, they were at > 90% capacity (usually >95%) every year since 2002.

    The Seahawks have been >100% the last 2 seasons (the only two i could find a record for) and they have the nickname of the 12th man because it gets so loud. And when the Mariners are good they sell out.

    They have a CHL team that i can't find any attendance info for. (Seattle Thunderbirds)

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  6. Some owners may see it like Matt though. Who is going to risk taking on a team from a less popular American sport in a questionable sports market?

    Personally I agree with Jibble. Just playing some devil's advocate.

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