Bring back the Winnipeg Jets, Please

Okay, I’m not the biggest hockey fan ever, but I think most of us can agree on this, one point:  hockey in the South is stupid.

I apologize to the collective 150 fans of the Coyotes, Panthers, Lightning, Thrashers, Hurricanes, and Predators.

This is nothing against the South, or in this particular case, the Southwest, which I’m sure is beautiful and a nice place to live if you’re into that sort of thing, but a picturesque Sonoran landscape of saguaro cacti sprouting from the red, parched desert soil doesn’t exactly stir images of steel on ice.

Nope, still not thinking about hockey

I don’t understand why the NHL does this to itself.  I understand that keeping American markets in the league help sell the league to American networks, but in the end you’re just sort of spinning your wheels, taking the cheap $10 when a little hard work and marketing could net you quite a windfall.  While the league wastes time with vapid, stupid teams like the Thrashers, Predators, and Coyotes, much better hockey markets like Winnipeg, Quebec City, Hamilton, and Seattle continue to be ignored by the league.

With the Coyotes ousted from the NHL Playoffs last night, the talk now turns to their future in Arizona.  The team has been owned by the NHL for almost two years now, since their former owner declared bankruptcy.  Even then, billionaire Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie (of BlackBerry fame) offered to buy the franchise and move it to Hamilton, Ontario, in the Golden Horseshoe region of Canada.  This was soundly rejected, and the NHL has been dilligently working on finding investors and a new potential owner to keep the Coyotes in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

Luckily there seems to be a renewed fervor to relocate floundering American teams back to the hockey homeland.  Greg Wyshnynski, who blogs for Yahoo! Sports’ hockey-centric Puck Daddy blog, noted earlier this month that he feels strongly an NHL team will return to Quebec City within the next several year.  This will ultimately be good for the NHL, which has for years unsuccessfully tried to cultivate itself as a mainstream, American sport like football, baseball, and basketball, while turning its back on the heritage and history that ultimately made the sport so attractive in the first place.

But all movements have to start somewhere.  Let’s hope that next year, Arena sits empty while MTS Centre welcomes home its Jets.

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