He’ll be the toast of Portage and Main and Barrington Street for the next decade, Ron McLean on Wednesday night's Hockey Night in Canada All star game coverage, tried his best to get Gary Bettman to commit to expansion to Canada.
McLean had his traditional all star game interview with the commissioner on Wednesday night, a less combative session than those of the past. Perhaps he was using the sugar because of the cause he was proposing, that of more Canada in the NHL.
Ron even drew up his own little flow chart for the Commissioner, showcasing the new Canadian cities of Winnipeg and Halifax as ready to boost the Canadian content of the NHL to eight.
It’s probably the first time that Halifax has appeared on the Commissioners radar, Winnipeg he’s used to, even going so far on Wednesday as to suggest that under the new CBA, that a franchise at the MTS Centre might just make a go of it. But you have to think that McLean's Halifax idea certainly came from the left side of the rink.
Normally when Canadian expansion or franchise shifts are discussed the usual suspects of Hamilton and Quebec City jump to the top of the list with Winnipeg. Not since the Blues almost ran on off to Saskatoon has a rather unsuspecting northern city been mentioned.
And while we are sure that the hockey fans of the Maritimes would fill the Metro Centre or whatever hockey palace needs to be built for an NHL franchise, we sense it might be a harder sell to the 24 American teams who have a hard enough time dealing with the idea of six Canadian teams right now.
That being said, we would welcome McLean’s dream and expand it by two, Ron should grab a pencil, fill in Quebec City and either Hamilton or Kitchener to his flow chart, bringing the Canadian teams total to ten, Halifax included.
Hell if things fall apart in the US as many suspect they very well may, we’d have a ready made foundation for a league of our own. One which surely would demand that McLean be named a new commissioner.
And maybe if they’re real nice, as a measure of our good faith, we’d let Detroit, Chicago, New York and Boston join in, but only if they were willing to travel west on road trips more than once a year!