There has been a lot of talk florating around the NHL about whether or not some teams will fold, and if cities that have once played host to the NHL will be home to an NHL team again. In an attempt to contribute something worthy and valuable, I'm going to take a more simplistic approach to some options.
According to 2010 Forbes report, the Coyotes are in last place in team value, (Link here) which is what forced the league to take it over. This would seem like a no-brainer to anyone that you should move the team elsewhere. Phoenix's answer to the issue is to try and raise bonds to keep the team and have a guy named Matthew Hulsizer, who is a businessman from Chicago. If you remember, though, a man named Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of the company that brought us a little thing called the BlackBerry, wanted to buy the Coyotes- as well as put in a bid for the Penguins and the Predators- but Gary Bettman was not too comfortable with that.
But selling bonds isn't the solution to the Coyotes problems, because of a political think tank called the Goldwater Group saying selling such bonds for such a purpose would be unconstitutional in the state of Arizona.
I know, what a bore. So what are the options? The most favorable, and which might be the best reality, is to send the Coyotes back to Winnipeg and reform the Jets. That's right, J-E-T-S! Winnipeg Jets!
Winnipeg, like Pittsburgh, is not the largest city in a sports market, but it is definitely a hockey town. And it can provide enough economic support to host another NHL franchise. According to a 2009 study, Winnipeg is the third fastest growing economy among Canadian cities. According to the 2006 Census, there were 633,451 residents in Winnipeg; as of July 2010, 409,500 residents were employed in the city and surrounding area. But a more appealing fact, especially to the NHL, Winnipeg is rated as one of least expensive locations in Canada to do business.
With passion for the sport, a rising economy, an increasing house boom, and low business prices, again, anyone with a brain would think to immediately move the Coyotes back to Winnipeg.
The other option being mentioned in conversation, if only whispered by some, is Hartford, Connecticut. Yes, the Whalers.
As it is an option for the Coyotes to move to Harford, as well, it is a little more difficult and far fetched than Winnipeg. But there are still other teams who have been having trouble making ends meet and appealing to fans. The Atlanta Thrashers are at the top of that list. In a city where over 60% of the residents are black, an NHL team with six black players could be able to appeal and make more fans, but this hasn't been the case.
Using that same Forbes link, the Thrashers are 29th in team value. It's not necessarily anything to do with the economy so much as it is people don't care about hockey in Atlanta, or in the south at all for that matter. (All southern teams are in the lower third of team value.)
So would Hartford be a good place to put another NHL team, to resurrect the Whalers? It's hard to tell. Hartford is a huge insurance center, but a lot of insurance companies have been re-locating their offices from the city. And with a population of 121,578 per the 2000 Census, that's a hell of a lot smaller than Winnipeg, and thus more of a threat or concern that people would not take to another NHL team.
I guess it could be worse for these two teams. They could be the Islanders.
Which team would you prefer seeing on the move?
Phoenix Coyotes (32 votes)
Atlanta Thrashers (14 votes)
Florida Panthers (20 votes)
Nashville Predators (6 votes)
72 total votes