Canada Ready For A Three Team NHL Expansion?

If the 2012-13 season is to begin on time, or at all, the NHL and its players must find some common ground (sjsharktank @ flickr)

A potential NHL expansion that would bring Hamilton its long awaited hockey team, is a Canadian urban myth. However, new study released Thursday finds that in next 20 years, Canada will experience a huge sports expansion.

The report published by the Conference Board of Canada suggests that due to demographic and economic trends, Canada could support three more NHL teams, as well as a new MLB and NBA team.

Apparently, Canadians don’t like football. There is no mention of the NFL venturing into Canada. Three new NHL teams means Canada will have ten NHL teams, two NBA teams and two MLB teams.

The Conference Board of Canada explains:

The conditions for growth are right — the Canadian dollar will likely remain strong and the taxation gap with the U.S. is expected to continue to narrow. This will allow existing franchises to prosper and offer a better chance for new franchises to succeed

The cities that will land NHL teams? Hamilton, Toronto and Quebec City, because if Hamilton gets an NHL team, then Toronto will want one too.

The Toronto Maple Leafs legendary territorial exemption has prevented other NHL teams from establishing in Toronto and Southern Ontario. The Toronto Star reports that because Bell and Rogers recently purchased the Leafs, could change things.

Quebec City has cemented the paper work to construct an NHL capacity arena. While, Hamilton has been planning to implement a team for the past 15 years.

Toronto could be the hardest market to establish an NHL expansion according to the report:

The report suggests that while Toronto could support a rival team to the Maple Leafs, the front-end cost of the new franchise could approach $1 billion, including franchise rights, a new rink and paying off the Leafs’ territorial exemption.