I knew something was up when we recorded a new podcast last night and there was no major NHL news to report. Usually when that happens something goes kablooey the second we upload it. Low and behold, apparently the NHL is close to expanding by four teams, including another one in Toronto, by 2017.
This is one of the main tweets that has sent everyone into a tizzy:
NHL expansion – four teams added by 2017, Quebec City, Toronto, Seattle, and Las Vegas $1.4b in expansion fees
— Howard Bloom (@SportsBizNews) August 27, 2014
Now I had no idea who Howard Bloom was before this tweet. I gave him a quick follow, as I’m sure hundreds of others did last night and this morning. It’s a nice little boost for his follower count whether it’s true or not, but to be wrong about this sort of thing or to make this sort of thing up would be credibility suicide. I’ll reserve judgement for now. In the meantime, if you know of this guy’s work please leave a comment in the comment section.
Whether this report is true or not it brings up some key expansion questions.
Can the NHL’s talent pool support 34 teams? Twitter reaction seems to suggest that many already think 30 teams is too many and the talent pool is already shallow enough. Adding four teams and almost 100 players (20 per roster plus extras and injuries) to that mix won’t help matters. If you added 90 players and spread them among the 30 current NHL clubs then each team could ice a fifth line. Goons rejoice!
Will there be an expansion draft? If yes, then which players will teams protect? Which pla- oh screw it I’m not gonna beat around the bush: ARE YA GONNA CLAIM DAVID CLARKSON OR NOT?!?
Is this even realistic? Will each of these cities even have an NHL-capable arena by 2017? Where does the one in Toronto even go? Does it go in Markham? Do they double up with the Leafs somehow and use the Air Canada Centre? James Mirtle had a pretty good idea:
@Steve_Dangle I want a new rink built downtown. Bridge connects it to ACC. Death matches between fans.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) August 27, 2014
While entertaining and probably a decent solution for Toronto’s traffic problem, Mirtle’s idea probably isn’t entirely legal.
When Rogers signed it’s brand new media deal with the NHL for 50 bajillion dollars* many asked if Rogers would be able to make its money back. News like this makes me wonder if they didn’t already know Canadian expansion was already in the works.
This move would put an NHL team in each Canadian city with a population over 500,000 people with the exception of Hamilton. I mean, Brampton and Mississauga too, but you guys are basically Toronto so you don’t count. I’m sorry. I’m sure you understand. Can we still be friends?
Personally, I’m glad this story broke. I don’t even care if it’s true! We’re at that awkward stage in the NHL’s summer calendar when it’s too early to really talk about camp but there’s really nothing else going on. At very least, this should keep us occupied for a couple weeks.
* Not an actual number