CITIES THAT DESERVED AN NHL TEAM OVER VEGAS

SEATTLE

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Seattle residents are still upset over the loss of their beloved SuperSonics, which leaves a dead period between the now yearly Seahawks games and the start of Mariners season. If Seattle, which has hosted several professional hockey teams in the past (including the Seattle Thunderbirds, shown above), wants to prove it can handle having its SuperSonics back, perhaps having an NHL team could a good indicator of how they can handle it, and prove to NBA brass they’re capable of still hosting a major sports franchise. If not, then a dream of Seattle NHL hockey, which has dated back to 1990, can finally come to light anyway.

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KANSAS CITY

KC hosted NHL hockey for two seasons, in which they won a combined 27 games hosting the Kansas City Scouts, who eventually became the New Jersey Devils. KC has enjoyed some prosperity with its outdoor teams in recent years, but the other two major (indoor) sports have eluded them, despite the prescience of a gorgeous state of the art facility, Sprint Center, laying smack in the middle of downtown. Opened in 2007, the arena currently has no permanent tenants, save for the Big 12 basketball tournament. A revival of NHL hockey would be a very solid houseguest.

QUEBEC CITY

Make NHL hockey Canadian again! Quebec not only lost their beloved Nordiques in 1995, but had to watch the reincarnated version, the Denver-located Colorado Avalanche, win a Stanley Cup the very next season. The NHL has been skeptical of adding/moving teams to the Great North due to the decline of the Canadian Dollar, but the resurrected Winnipeg Jets, a.k.a. the zombie Atlanta Thrashers, have enjoyed prosperity upon their return, despite limited success on the ice. Quebec has suffered enough. It’s time to resurrect the Nordiques.

HOUSTON

Prior to making a commitment to return NFL football to Houston, a successful endeavor realized in 2002, Bob McNair had tried to add a second Texan team to the NHL. Normally, I’m against adding Southern teams into a league whose bread and butter is made in cold, northern areas, but fans in the Dallas metroplex have proven that hockey can survive in the Lone Star State, having won a Stanley Cup in 1999 and being a generally competitive team in the years since they moved from Minnesota. A intrastate rivalry would make things even more intense. Previously, Houston hosted the Aeros, an affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.

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HARTFORD

Hartford was another city that witnessed their team not only leave, but win a Stanley Cup after their departure, as the zombie Whalers, the Carolina Hurricanes, won it in 2006. Despite the heartbreak, Hartford still manages to draw great crowds with their current professional teams. The New York Rangers’ minor league affiliate, the Hartford WolfPack, have called the city home for the past two decades, and they recently welcomed in the Connecticut Whale of the NWHL, the premiere women’s hockey league. Hockey purgatory has gone on long enough in Hartford, who has been orphaned by the NHL since 1997.

ANCHORAGE

Yeah, I recently watched Mystery, Alaska. Why do you ask? Seriously, though, an Alaskan team would be a very interesting addition to the NHL landscape. It would be groundbreaking to put a team in the non-continental United States, something that would separate the league from its more popular brethren. Just because the area may be isolated, doesn’t mean the Alaskans aren’t Americans, ones who love their sports, especially hockey. Several modern day NHLers played their college hockey in Alaska as well, representing the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves and the Alaska Nanooks.

 

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