Sunday, April 30, 2006

Winnipeg's NHL dream gets a bit further away

Paul Friesen is a brave guy, in a town that is as hockey mad as Winnipeg, Friesen a writer for the Winnipeg Sun, has penned a column that puts a bit of a cloud over the NHL is coming back to Winnipeg stories.

Friesen shows how the new NHL is actually doing fairly well after it's one year hiatus, something that wasn't supposed to happen. The idea of crumbling NHL franchises laid waste by a lengthy labour stoppage was the lynch pin in any move to bring hockey back to the likes of Winnipeg and Quebec City.

And while the southern teams are still not packing them in with large numbers, the attendance in the so called sun belt trouble spots is actually increasing rather than decreasing, a rather bad omen for Canadian cities hoping to get back into the bigs.

The one team that is on the market, Pittsburgh, doesn't seem to be in any hurry to actually leave Pennsylvania, moves are in motion to secure a new rink in the city of three rivers, with or without the added bonus of gaming machines which is becoming a tad controversial as far as funding a sports arena goes.

Add on to all of that the increasing crawl upwards of NHL salaries and we find that many Canadian cities may find themselves in the same situation as before the lock out year, teams salary structures dont' add up to a profitable situation in the smaller Canadian markets.

While one hopes that somehow the economic universe rights itself to allow Canadian cities to once again dream of returning to the NHL, at the moment it's a situation that would take some serious study for an investor to take a gamble on tackling the NHL challenge in smaller markets.

While everyone hopes to wave a Jets flag again one day, the road is not quite clear yet for a return to Winnipeg or any other Canadian outpost at the moment.

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