It seems the NHL is expanding, and it could be coming to a city near you. Howard Bloom, the publisher of Sports Business News, recently confirmed that Las Vegas is a “done deal.” Furthermore, Bloom predicts a second Toronto franchise, as well as Quebec City and Seattle teams (as early as 2017).
If you live in or around one of these cities, you can look forward to cheering on an NHL team all your own. If not, don’t fret. NHL expansion may continue, and it could be possible to score a nearby franchise if your city takes hockey seriously enough.
A National Hockey League of Your Own
NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, told The Province he promises to “listen to expressions of interest” in adding teams. At first, Bettman was resistant to the idea of expanding, but the NHL has seen increases in profits that prove a large fan base, and promises additional ticket sales for new franchises. Bettman seems hesitant about expanding the NHL, but rumors do suggest the commissioner is at least considering the option.
It’s unclear how much the NHL will expand, but an expansion is happening (at least in Las Vegas), and it gives new hope to cities desiring their own franchise.
Potential team owners will need to fork up a lot of dough to start a franchise. Bettman has been quite vocal about the cost of new franchises. He scoffed at the idea that a franchise could be purchased for $350 million, and went on record saying the amount “undervalues our franchises.” He hasn’t said exactly how much it will cost to start or move a franchise, but it’s certainly going to cost more than $350 million.
What You Can Do Right Now to Promote Expansion
- If you truly want to see an NHL team in your city, you’ll need to start vocalizing that desire. Begin your campaign by posting your wish on social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. Go ahead and tag the NHL in your posts, and ask your friends to chime in. If your post goes viral, the NHL may respond.
- It’s important that a community takes pride in hockey. If you don’t already have youth and senior hockey leagues, you’re not going to be taken seriously as hockey fans. Despite being located in the desert, Las Vegas takes hockey very seriously. The city has a large arena, the Las Vegas Ice Center, and youth and senior hockey teams are prevalent. In fact, the city has won a number of state championships.
- It’s worth noting that local hockey teams can create a sense of civic pride, and fulfill your desire to watch games live. If you already have an ice arena, what’s stopping you from petitioning to put a team together? Of course, you’ll need gear, such as ice hockey skates, sticks, and padding. Hockey equipment from HockeyMonkey.com is relatively inexpensive, and gear can be purchased in bulk.
- Gather signatures from community residents who are also interested in a local team. Send those signatures to local government officials.
- Finally, you’ll need the money. Do you know a rich businessman aching to own a team? Perhaps, there is a rich politician you can write to? A franchise can’t happen without someone willing to buy a team.
If Las Vegas can score their own franchise, what’s stopping your city from following suit? Hockey expansion seems to be on the horizon, and that could mean franchise changes across North America.