Friday, May 04, 2012

Making tracks to Markham?

With no actual playoff team to follow this year (an ongoing theme of late) Toronto hockey fans need a diversion, with the remaining eight teams seemingly not to their liking, Torontonians read with daily interest the latest developments just north of the city, a magical land where it would seem NHL hockey may one day set up shop.

The plans of Markham city council to construct an NHL ready arena seem to be a tightly guarded thing, little information has been released of late, most discussion done in camera around Markham city hall, the kind of security more likely found around the Air Canada Centre on a game day (remember those Leaf fans?) where loose lips sink hockey teams and all that.

Of course closed door meetings and such are more the thing of a Glendale or even Nashville for that matter, where city officials haven't been shy in distributing public monies towards the NHL home side, even if it means that required services end up on the chopping block in the fallout.

The hopeful of Toronto of course, have a different view of things, for one thing hockey would no doubt thrive with a second team in the Greater Toronto Area, a captive audience of over 6 million or so that would welcome a chance to fulfill their hockey destiny.

And perhaps, if one looks at any number of potential relocation prospects of late in the NHL, arrival would instantly move the newcomers over the incumbents when it comes to playoff prospects and potential Stanley Cup glory.

Which perhaps is why the Maple Leafs ensconced in their downtown bunkers are so against the idea of interlopers on the northern flank, much has been made of the prospect of a team in Hamilton, frequently floated, never delivered.

Any team arriving in Markham would most likely bring to an end for now any hopes Hamilton might have to join the league.

And that would be unfortunate as Hamilton, which actually makes much sense as an NHL destination has been thwarted time and time again it seems, either by the southern neighbours in Buffalo or the eastern ones in Toronto, never quite officially of course, but once those doors close you get the feeling that the veins start popping out of the neck in both locales.

Makes you wonder what it must be like down at MLSE central these days, suddenly you have to wonder if maybe Hamilton might have a little support from the Blue and White, if only to keep a second team out of the immediate trading area.

National Post-- Markham arena could be an NHL bargaining tool
National Post-- Markham town council approves financial framework for arena
National Post-- What the #!%*?: Is Markham trying to get an NHL team?
Globe and Mail-- NHL-size arena gets go ahead north of Toronto
Toronto Star-- Toronto Maple Leafs face threat in Markham arena 
Toronto Star-- The real price of the Markham arena
Toronto Star-- Markham council approves massive arena
Toronto Star-- Markham's NHL bait: Will arena make bedroom community a city to rival Toronto?
Toronto Star-- Town of Markham would lean heavily on developers to build new, NHL worthy arena
Toronto Sun-- Is NHL really coming to Markham? Sorry probably not
Toronto Sun-- Markham backs plan for 20,000 seat arena New arena doesn't guarantee NHL team for Markham
CBC-- Major new arena gets green light north of Toronto
Sportnset-- Council approves Markham arena plan
TSN-- Roustan, Anselmi discuss new arena in Markham, Ontario
TSN-- City of Markham votes in favour of new arena plans
NBC Sports-- Greater Toronto Area will get another NHL-caliber arena

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