I have had this discussion many times with other hockey fans, and after not liking the idea, I now support it.
One, if hockey is going to survive it needs to transition to a regional sport (i.e. Instead of having 15 teams in huge markets, you have 30 teams in mid size/smaller markets). The TV ratings the past several seasons have proved that, as a nation, the U.S. really isn't all that into hockey. So by exposing as many different fan bases as they can to the game, the NHL can cultivate fans and viewers in small pockets rather then large chunks.
Two, the NHL should jump on this and get there before another sport does. While baseball would never, ever touch it and football is another stretch, I think eventually the NBA will realize Vegas fits in with their high rolling, thuggish culture (that is a slam on the NBA, not on Vegas) and place/move a franchise there.
Having said all that, it is going to happen anyway. I agree with some of the others that have said Bettman has already received a 'down payment' if you will from interested parties. This was indirectly confirmed by Jimmy Devellano of the Red Wings in an interview a few months back with the Detroit Free Press. Not to mention the fact that Harrah's has already annouced plans to build a 22,000-seat arena on land behind Paris and Bally's. The NHL is being given a new, free arena in the absolute heart of the biggest entertainment destination in the world... how they could consider that a bigger risk then placing franchises in places where ice can't naturally exist is beyond me. Besides, Bettman will do it for no other reason then to pocket the expansion money.
While I can support expansion as part of an overall move to a more regional sport, I would much rather see a team in a place where it has been proven it doesn’t belong (Florida, Atlanta, Phoenix, Nashville, Columbus, Anaheim, etc.) move to a place that, while unconventional, has yet to be proven to be unworkable.
· 1 decade ago