For all of you who have scoffed at the idea of the Stanley Cup returning to Toronto before the next ice age, I have only this to say: Ha!
Sorry, I didn’t mean to open-up on you like that…
No, the Maple Leafs haven’t cloned Rocket Richard or developed remote control puck technology — both excellent ideas, if you ask me.
Instead, Toronto may have its odds of bringing home the Cup doubled with the possible creation of a second NHL team.
And you thought Mats Sundin was indecisive now!
According to the Globe and Mail, league governors — none of whom are listed by name — are toying with the idea of installing a second team in the city that is considered to have the largest hockey market worldwide.
Although it is unclear if the governors are considering moving a team or creating a 31st franchise, it looks as if Jim Balsillie would be the one manning the helm.
Balsillie is the stinking-rich CEO who attempted to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006 and then attempted to buy the Nashville Predators the following year with the intention of moving the team to Hamilton or Kitchener.
As much as I’d love to see the emergence (or re-emergence) of another NHL franchise on Canadian soil, I think packing another into Toronto makes as much sense as shaving with a chain saw.
The obvious choice is Hamilton.
OK, Hamilton does have its problems. But Hamilton is located just outside the densely populated Greater Toronto Area, which would make up for its somewhat small, half-million population. It has a decent stadium (Copps Coliseum) and loyal sports fans — just look at the Tiger Cats who haven’t won a Grey Cup in almost a decade. Google “Hamilton crappy football” to find the website.
But according to one league governor, Hamilton is not an option.
First, Hamilton is unknown to most Americans, even though that wasn’t a problem for Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal — basically any city that’s not Toronto or Vancouver.
And the half dozen Americans who know Hamilton don’t see it as a particularly prestigious city because they have heard too many Torontonians slag it for being a dirt-hole. Either that or they’ve been there.
Second, league governors fear that a team in Hamilton could spell disaster for the Buffalo Sabres, who are hovering near financial collapse.
Addressing the former, OK, sure a layer of soot coats everything in the city whenever it rains. But have you visited Detroit lately? I mean, there’s no need to be elitist — that’s my job.
As for the latter reason, is the extra 45 minutes of driving so much of a deterrent to hockey fans in Buffalo that they’ll go to Hamilton, but not Toronto?
Wouldn’t a second team in Toronto still draw Niagara Peninsula residents who might otherwise go to games in Buffalo?
And besides, if the Sabres go bankrupt, that only increases the chances for Winnipeg to get back a team. (Go Jets!)
Another thing — I’m full of great ideas — adding a 31st team to the league is harebrained, to say the least.
A handful of the league’s teams are going down the tubes, now they’re considering adding another! Why doesn’t John McCain just promise more military invasions to bolster his campaign?
However, this is not anything to lose sleep over. Considering a few of the league’s governors are proposing an additional Toronto team anonymously, it seems probable the Maple Leafs will hoist Stanley’s Cup before Hog Town sees a second NHL team. Which, at this rate, may be never.
But if one is established, may I suggest the name the Toronto Maple Leaves. That way fans will be easily split between traditionalists and grammar enthusiasts.