When the NHL decides to expand once again, it certainly won’t be Winnipeg, Quebec, Toronto, or Hamilton, or in general, places where people understand that ice is also for skating on, not just putting up noses. It’ll be where Gary Bettman wants it to be, and that means no Canada.
And right now, it seems that the leading contender for new team in the NHL is Las Vegas, which, I think, could be the next best thing if you can’t have a Canadian franchise.
Each year, Sin City attracts 40 million tourists to the bright lights, a million and a half of which are Canadian, and two million from overseas, which indeed includes countries like Russia, Sweden, and Finland – countries who appreciate hockey. And with staggering numbers like that, especially the 40 million part, you’d have to think that 20,000 would be found to go to games each night.
There is a team in the ECHL based now in Vegas, the Wranglers, who pull in about 4000 fans a game. So hockey isn’t exactly foreign there. And there’s lots of people, guys especially, who would prefer to see the Habs or Penguins come to town instead of forking out $150 for Cher or Bette Midler at Caesar’s Palace.
Hockey would be a nice three-hour break from the Strip. And when they get out of the game, they wouldn’t have to worry about missing anything because this is a city that carries on 24 hours a day. You can lose your money any time of the day or night, no problem.
So it boils down to this. You go on a nice four-day vacation to Las Vegas, spend some time at the hotel pool, check out a bunch of different casinos, stuff yourself at a buffet, go to a hockey game while your wife’s at the Cher show, meet up with her afterward, go back to the casinos and win a couple of bucks, take in a free lounge show, then call it a night because it’s now three in the morning and you had no idea.
Does it get any better than that?