Sunday, April 29, 2007

The InterNational Hockey League?

So, I was perusing the Toronto Maple Leafs Score Boards MB, when I happened upon this interesting little nugget...

"On TSN, MacKenzie said that the NBA plans on expanding there, and the NHL is thinking about it."

If that is true, one way or another, my feelings on such a matter are simple: If it's something like NFL Europe in that there is a branch of the league in the said continent that has next to no interaction with its North American mothership, then I have no beefs what-so-ever. BUT, if it has anything to do with the European branch counting as part of the NHL sir, I don't like it. There are already tons of complaints about travel and/or schedule with just North American teams...I cannot imagine how many more there would be if there was the remote suggestion of travel across the pond and back.

According to KingBrodeur in the linked Score Boards thread, there is a little more to this...

"The cities they mentioned as having teams are Helsinki, Stockholm, London, Berlin and Geneva to start. Then if the economies pick up, move east into Prague, Moscow, Riga etc.

McKenzie think it will happen within 20 years or so. Personally I think if it was to happen, it would have to be some sort of merger with leagues already over there.

I wonder if it gets up enough teams down the road, it would be like an NHL Europe, then the winners of NHL Europe and NHL NA would play each other for the cup.

But this is far in the future. They'll be more expansion in NA first. He also gave a Europe, then the winners of NHL Europe and NHL NA would play each other for the cup. list of cities, Las Vegas(within 5 years), KC, Portland, Seattle and Winnipeg were the main ones. I think there was one more but I don't recall..."

The only way I see a truly international NHL working is for it to be at least twenty-thirty years into the future, when enough teams are established to have two separate leagues, like the MLB, and/or transportation has advanced to the point that continental travel is as simple as an one-three hour plane commute. If the former happens in a somewhat short amount of time, then I think the best form of execution for such an idea would be to try to have the Stanley Cup Finals take place on neutral it somewhere in North America, Europe, or even Asia.

Speaking of Asia, if an NHL Europe is successful, I would not be the least bit surprised if they tried to expand into Europe's eastern neighbor. Especially given how the sport is only growing in popularity in some Asian countries, and there have even been a few NHL draft picks to hail from over there.

Current Music: "Heaven Knows Our Name" by Budgie

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