glen a richter wrote:
When they say expansion team, I don't know whether they're referring to a brand new team or a relocated team, because I seem to recall the Avalanche were considered an "expansion" team even though they obviously weren't. When I think of expansion, I think of a team that makes the current number of teams increase. I'm sure we all think that because it's the only logical way to describe a team which expands the scope of the league.
There certainly needs to be a lot of relocation, and expanding any further should be the last thing on Bettman's mind. I think all the 4 major sports are extended beyond what should be a reasonable number of teams. All it does is water down talent. Expanding any more would be completely stupid. In particular, expanding to a city that already has a team with solid roots (Toronto), or expanding to a city that's already failed as an NHL city (Atlanta) shows a serious lack of judgment.
I'm willing to give KC a pass if they want to take the Islanders because it seems like they've made ample preparations to not end up like the Scouts. I can understand the reasons behind fighting a move to Hamilton because it'll suck some life out of the Buffalo market. Not that I know a lot about the size of various Canadian markets, so maybe some of our Canadian friends can help out here. How about Halifax instead (aside from the two obvious markets: Quebec and Winnipeg)?
To be fair, I also don't know how big Toronto is, but I'd assume that a 2nd team in Toronto would be close enough to either suck fan base away from the Leafs, or more likely not be able to build enough of a fan base because of the Leafs. Ask the Islanders and the Devils how much they'd like to not have to compete with the Rangers in the same geographic market. The same thing would happen with the Toronto Legacy.
1. I'm pretty sure the Avalanche were never considered an expansion team. As a matter of fact, I'd be willing to put money on that. Expansion franchises are those that are created from the ground up and involved expansion drafts. When the 'Lanche moved to Colorado there was no expansion draft, they just packed up their entire organization from top to bottom and moved to Denver. Their roster stayed intact and were not offered players on other teams.
2. The reasoning behind NHL/Bettman wanting to place and expansion team in Hamilton versus moving a team there is the expansion fee to be paid by the new owners to participate in the NHL. I've seen speculation that the league would ask $300-$400 million dollars for this phantom expansion team. The money would of course we redistributed among the other teams and would help out with economic downturn throughout the entire league. If a team relocated to Hamilton there's no fee and therefore no financial benefit to the other teams in the league.
3. That being said, the Hamilton market is no doubt big enough to support a franchise. Especially with the long list to even get single game tickets in Toronto. The only question is whether those long time Leafs fans would be willing to switch their allegiance based on ticket availability. Then there's also the question of the NHL canabilizing itself putting 3 teams so close to each other. Buffalo just recovered from a near devestating financial situation. Does the league really want to put strain on a franchise that almost collapsed in the recent future?
I'm a staunch advocate of relocation over expansion. It needs to happen and there are markets ready to support teams. Hamilton is surely a market that CAN support a team. However I feel there are greater opportunites in smaller, yet untapped markets in Canada that deserve teams before a 3rd team moves in to such a small geographic space.