Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

A Toast To The NHL And HRR

It shot out like a cannon yesterday, but the rumors finally came to fruition on a real negotiation happening in the hopes of trying to save a season.  The hockey world is bracing for the possibility of an 82 game schedule and full playoff starting on November 2nd.  The NHLPA currently has a proposal in hand from the NHL making things very real to get a deal done in that time table.  HRR – will not go away completely however – even if a new CBA is signed and the NHL and NHLPA bind themselves once again in a legal contract.  HRR – or as we have come to know and love the acronym “hockey related revenue”.  It would seem that we won’t hear that term again until the new CBA would expire and we have to argue over this all over again – but a new HRR creeps into the picture.  The new HRR is hockey relocation and realignment.  The most glaring need for the NHL to resolve right now is the Winnipeg Jets situation, a team far out West playing in the Southeast, as a place holder for the former Atlanta Thrashers.  There is always the underlying issue of the Pheonix Coyotes and the city of Glendale.  How much longer will the saga continue their before the desert dogs rally the pack and find new hunting grounds.
The city of Edmonton is fighting with the Oilers over gathering funds for a new arena – and have already visited Seattle and probably have received courting offers from other major metropolitan areas hoping to lure the lights and sounds of an NHL franchise.  Moving the Edmonton Oilers out of Edmonton is a mistake – a larger mistake than giving Atlanta a second chance at a hockey team.  Granted, as a fan of the Buffalo Sabres – I only get to see the Edmonton Oilers once, maybe twice a year – but the passionate fan base is present.  The possible arena is calling for 18,400 seats – an expansion over what they currently have.  There is a waiting list to get tickets for the team, despite the fact they have been a nonfactor – why would you cap the seats at anything below 20,0000? In an age where real HRR is becoming more and more important – you are going to see modern NHL arenas, centers, rinks, whatever you want to call them start to reach the 25,000 mark.  I don’t want to use the Winter Classic games as a benchmark – because those are once in a lifetime more some people, and once in a half decade or so for others – saying you could fill 75K plus seats 41 times a year is a stretch – but 20K is cetainly doable in some markets.  If the NHL and the NHLPA can figure out cost certainty – the NHL needs to take its focus group and transform them into a travelling show to find out the honest viability of each of its franchises to see where an honest attempt at expanding the league will work.  We don’t need another Pheonix, or Atlanta.  We need more Toronto’s, Buffalo’s and New York’s (Rangers – not Islanders). If that means putting a second team in the suburbs of Toronto – move a second team there.  I don’t care how unfair it is to the citizens of Quebec that they are ready to welcome the NHL back – or how cool it would be to see the Whalers back in the East – you have to do what is in the best interest of the league, not just expand into every city possible.

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Tags: Hockey Related Revenue Off Topic Realignment Relocation

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