Over the past 100 years, the National Hockey League has undergone plenty of expansion. From six teams to now 30 teams, with 23 in the United States and seven in Canada. The NHL hasn’t expanded since 2000, with the league adding the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild. The most recent relocated franchise was the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg in 2011, becoming the “new” Winnipeg Jets.
Come the 2017 season, the National Hockey League will be adding one more team to its list of 30 teams, the Vegas Golden Knights. This will now bring the league to 31 teams and there has always been the talk of expanding elsewhere around The United States and Canada. I will go through a list of viable options to further expand the NHL.
Three Possible NHL Expansion Sites
1. Quebec City, Quebec
Seems like a no brainer here. Quebec has been on the radar of wanting to get the NHL back since 1995 from losing the Quebec Nordiques to Colorado. A hockey crazed market, like Winnipeg of the East. This would ultimately make a rival with the Montreal Canadiens. A new arena, Centre Vidéotron, open in Quebec City on September 28th 2015. Quebecor, the group that has been apart of trying to get the NHL back to Quebec City, is still being seriously considered Gary Bettman but has not been decided just yet. Keep your fingers crossed Canadian fans.
2. Seattle, Washington
This city has been trying to get an NBA team back since the lost the beloved Supersonics. A new arena. Adding this city to the NHL would be highly ideal. This would create a possibility of rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks. Since 2007 there have been many groups that have been trying hard to get the attention of Gary Bettman that want the NHL apart of the North West. Time will definitely tell if this city ever gets the groundwork going for a new arena. It definitely seems this area loves it’s hockey with the WHL being very successful since joining the Canadian Hockey League.
3. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
This might come as surprise to some reading this but it makes a ton of sense if you think about it. Hockey is very popular in the state of Wisconsin. The NHL has considered this city a few times. It’s a smaller market in the United States. Some observers out there say “the reason why there hasn’t been a team adding here yet, we want to protect the Chicago Blackhawks fan base”. I can see that but this could create that rivalry that I’ve mentioned in the other two potential spots of NHL expansion. This seems like an ideal spot for the NHL to look into as well because of have even conferences again.
Always an interesting topic to discuss about possible new teams entering the NHL. Surely us observers of the NHL will see another team join Las Vegas in a few years to balance the NHL teams to an even number of 32.
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