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Honolulu A More Viable Hockey City Over Québec? Not Bloody Likely

Business journal, you so crazy.

The Internet is full of people who have opinions.  Sometimes, I agree with those opinions. Often times, I do not.

The Business Journal recently released a database that grades fifty-eight potential markets for NHL franchises.  Of course, the most logical choices were at the top.  Québec City is naturally a bad choice, right?

The Business Journal ranks San Bernardino-Riverside as the strongest possible candidate for a relocated or expansion NHL franchise.  Of course, that’s the most logical place to stick a hockey team, right?  You know, in a state with three other professional NHL franchises already?  Pack your bags, Florida.  Riverside, here we come.

Houston comes up second on their list.  Other obvious selections include (4) Vegas, (5) Virginia Beach/Norfolk, and (10) Richmond.  Sorry, Virginia.  Didn’t want to make this all about you, but here we are.

22 out of the 58 geographical areas listed were determined to be “Sufficient” to become home to an NHL franchise.  The entire database can be found here.

The Business Journal used this formula for determining a city’s viability to host an NHL franchise.

A score of 100 indicates that a market’s income base is sufficient to support a team in a specific league. A score between 70 and 99 is a sign of a borderline income base, meaning that a market may or may not be able to support a franchise, depending on the team’s ability to reach fans beyond the metro area’s boundaries. A score below 70 indicates that an income base in insufficient for a given sport.

Business Journal – 14 August 2011 by G. Scott Thomas

Somewhat a surprise is to see Québec City ranked at 31st of 58, or a “borderline” score of 80.  Really?  Virginia Beach is more viable a city to host an NHL franchise over Québec?

According to the article, Riverside has disposable income.  So does Richmond, Virginia Beach/Norfolk, and Oxnard/Thousand Oaks (!??).  And that’s great.  Will that income be spent on a National Hockey League team?

According to the Business Journal, Atlanta ranks 11th, which should make it a flourishing hockey hotbed.

Except, that it’s not.  It hasn’t been on two occasions.  Spare me the line about ownership.  I agree, it’s not all fan attendance,  but that’s a large part of it.  If Edmonton didn’t have the fan base it does, there’s no way that it could survive in this league.  Period.

Winnipeg is not a big city.  It’s probably not a ‘sufficient’ city based on the Business Journal’s calculations.

You heard it all over the past decade:  they’re too small, they can’t support a franchise, the fans won’t care once the novelty of an NHL team wears off.  Tell that to the folks that locked themselves into three, four and five year season ticket contracts.  I have a hard time believing the city of Winnipeg will ever release their talon-like grip from that franchise.  They’re going to pack the MTS Centre each and every night that the Jets have a home game.  God help us all if they make the playoffs.  Should Québec be awarded an NHL franchise, I’ll bet you a proper poutine from @Poutineville that you wouldn’t have trouble getting fans to lock into season ticket plans similar to Winnipeg’s. I’d take Québec’s chances of ‘sufficiency’ over Orlando or San Antonio (two other more ‘sufficient’ cities according to the Business Journal) any day of the week.

Maybe I’m all wet here.  Maybe cities like Richmond and Virginia Beach can be viable homes to NHL franchises.  They’re just ahead of other potentially viable cities like Birmingham, Little Rock, and Honolulu on that list.

Alabama, Arkansas, and Hawaii.  Viable hockey markets?  You might get more interest in a dart league.

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