By Eduardo Monk Jr
Sports leagues are places driven by the growth and the quality of their rosters, whether it be more cities added and awarded franchises or the names on those teams growing in national spotlight and general adoration. So it goes without saying that whenever any league adds a whole new team, every fan, hardcore and casual, is put on notice. A good expansion can breathe completely new life into a stale season.
The NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights are the latest in a long line of expansions in sports history. But where to next for the world of professional athletics? Which cities deserve to have an pro sports team call home?
That’s the question I have been wondering for while now and I think it’s time to do something about it. For the next five days, Sporting Daily will be analyzing, researching and experimenting to determine the six finest cities to house a new franchise in the respective sport for the article.
The NHL is fresh off an expansion with the Las Vegas Golden Knights being added to the league. The sport of hockey is starting to boom in the US after one of the best playoffs in recent memory and with this means another expansion can’t too far away. So to keep this momentum going, where to next for the sport of hockey?
Here are the six best cities for an NHL team.
Quebec City, Québec, Canada
By far, hands down, without a doubt the top city that needs an NHL team. The Nordiques were wrongfully stripped from them in the 90s and it’s about time they make a return. This is a passionate hockey community that simply deserves an NHL team.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Wisconsin is a state with some deep hockey roots. It’s a state with a number of forests, cold winters, and icy lakes that just scream hockey. An NHL team fits perfectly into the culture of Wisconsin and a fan base wouldn’t be hard to build. With a rivalry with the Blackhawks, Wild, Red Wings and Jets just waiting to happen, an NHL team simply needs to come to Wisconsin
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Kansas City is a huge sports town with some of the loudest fans on the planet. Insert a strong team into the city and there is going to be a great fan base already. With the Blues and Blackhawks in such close proximity, a sturdy rivalry is possible. If a team is respectable enough in Kansas City, there is no doubt a strong following will be inevitable.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
A hockey team in Canada simply can’t fail and there is a strong sport following in general in the relatively small market of Hamilton. With a local CFL team in the Tiger-Cats, there is already a sizable sports fan base. Being so close to Toronto brings in an instant rivalry. This team would be the little brother to the Maple Leafs but the hopefully intense rivalry between them is a prospect epic enough to set up an NHL team here.
Seattle, Washington, USA
Seattle is among the best sports towns in the country, shown by their wicked fan base for the local NFL team Seahawks. Seattle is a massive sports market here and the fact the NHL hasn’t set up shop here is still a mystery. There is just too good of a potential fan base to not expand here.
Portland, Oregon, USA
Portland, despite having only a single major team, is one of the best sports towns in the country. They’re currently doing whatever it takes to land another team and I think an NHL team fits perfectly here. The local Western Hockey League team, albeit a minor league team, the Winterhawks has the best attendance in the entire WHL. The people of Portland can love hockey if a pro team is there, especially since there is so little to cheer for other than the NBA or MLS.
A rivalry with the Canucks and the potential Seattle team would be great. A strong fan base and a strong rivalry are all this pick has to it.