NHL expansion: Good or bad?



Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) carries the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) in the third period at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., Sunday, February 3, 2013. The Penguins defeated the Capitals, 6-3. Photo by Chuck Myers/MCT.

Chris Ginley

May 7, 2012, was one of the best days in franchise history for the Phoenix Coyotes. They eliminated the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Semifinals with a 4-1 series victory, and a tentative deal was reached to sell the team to former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison.

The NHL has owned the team for a while now, and they let it be known that they would not own the team forever. News like this made fans in the desert howl and cheer.

Flash forward to Thursday, Jamison announced he was not going to be able to come up with the remaining money needed to purchase the team, further putting the team’s future in Phoenix in doubt.

Whenever relocation in the NHL is mentioned, the Phoenix Coyotes are always the first team that comes to mind, partly because of the up-and-down ownership saga that has plagued the team for years.

Along with all the rumors about the Coyotes moving, expansion has become a hot topic of discussion throughout the NHL. Last season, the NHLPA rejected a proposed realignment plan that would have divided the league up into four conferences, two with eight teams and two with seven.

One reason for expansion would be to even out the proposed conferences. Numerous cities throughout the U.S. and Canada are being mentioned as possible candidates for relocation and expansion. Here are some possible cities:


Pros: Having an NHL team in Seattle establishes a natural rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks. Also, the city recently approved a new arena to be built, with hopes of landing an NBA team in the Pacific Northwest.

Cons: A temporary arena, Key Arena, is too small to host an NHL team while a permanent arena is being built. Also, the new NHL team would have to compete for fans in a sports crazed city that has the NCAA’s Washington Huskies, the MLS’ Seattle Sounders, the MLB’s Seattle Mariners and whatever NBA team is in town.


Pros: Bringing a team to an already hockey-mad town, that has already had an NHL team, would be a great idea. It would also endear Gary Bettman to more Canadian fans, as one of his main arguments against him, is that he is trying to “Americanize” the game. There would be thousands of fans and while Quebec is willing to build a brand-new, NHL-style arena, the team could play at the Pepsi Coliseum, which housed the Nordiques before they moved to Phoenix in 1995.

Cons: The only con that I can think of is whether the NHL could bring a team to a city that had one before but lost it.


Pros: As a city that loves its hockey, Toronto would be able to support another franchise. Also, establishing a rivalry with the Maple Leafs couldn’t hurt either.

Cons: While establishing a rivalry with the Maple Leafs would be all well and good, the Maple Leafs are one of the NHL’s richest franchises, and they would not be too happy about sharing their profits with a new team.

Kansas City


Having an NHL-ready arena and already hosting NHL exhibition games shows they could be ready for an NHL team.

Cons: The exhibition games weren’t exactly standing-room-only, which should make some wonder if Kansas City is deserving of an NHL franchise.


Pros: Having a huge hockey fanbase and the Copps Coliseum are positives for this Southern Ontario city.

Cons: Toronto and Buffalo would surely have something to say about a team moving so close to them. They wouldn’t be too happy about this new team taking fan

Contact Chris Ginley at [email protected].