***** Illegal Curve is no longer posting at this address. Visit us at our new location http://www.illegalcurve.com

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Expansion? The Return of The Jets to Winnipeg?

This quote appeared in Pierre Lebruns article for the Globe and Mail on Tuesday:

"As it relates to hockey, it's one of the great hockey markets in North America," said Pat LaForge, president and CEO of the Edmonton Oilers. " The next proposal-if there ever is one- for expansion, it has to be a great hockey market. And Winnipeg passes the great hockey market test."

The article mentions that the NHL Board of Governors meeting in Chicago will include discussions about possible expansion and that Winnipeg, Las Vegas, Kansas City and Seattle are among the cities on the radar. Now, I am not going to start another controversial debate on whether Winnipeg deserves a hockey team, where an analysis of the economy and arena is discussed, bla bla bla. I feel it is important to simply point out that Winnipeg's name continues to pop up whenever expansion is mentioned. Whether the talk is being generated by the increase in league revenues, the exhibition game between the Toronto Maple Leafs/Phoenix Coyotes at the MTS Centre tomorrow or the instability among some existing franchises, the league has Winnipeg on it's mind. Now let the debate begin.

For Illegal Curve, I'm Ezra Ginsburg.

Ballhype: hype it up!


kanadienkyle said...


Are you of the opinion that this talk is lip service to Winnipeg, with the NHL truly intending to give a franchise to Las Vegas as long as the one allegedly promised to Kansas City, or is the NHL serious?

Ezra Ginsburg said...

It's all speculation at this point, but I truly believe Winnipeg will get an NHL team at some point down the road. It's simply too big of a hockey market to be ignored.

remis said...

you think gary bettman would ever allow this? i mean come on.

Ezra Ginsburg said...

Thanks for your question Michael. It is true that many view Bettman as Anti-Canadian as he was a fresh faced commissioner when he helped relocate franchises in Winnipeg and Quebec City. I think Bettman is starting to warm to the idea a little, as franchises in Atlanta, Phoenix and Nashville have failed miserably in recent years. As I said, it's all speculation, but I keep the hope alive. It's all us poor Jets fan have left. For Illegal Curve, I'm Ezra Ginsburg.

kanadienkyle said...

I am with Remis on this one. I think Vegas and KC go first. Winnipeg may get a team if they move.

zkatz said...

Before anyone even begins to talk about the possibility of am expansion team in Winnipeg, perhaps we should consider whether further expansion of the NHL is a good idea at all. It's pretty clear that the rapid pace that Bettman expanded the NHL was the true cause behind its downfall in popularity, as the saturation of good on ice talent made the NHL's product less desirable to casual fans across North America. I would be all for a team arriving in Winnipeg, but if it meant further spreading out the league's talent pool, the future of all teams in the league might be in jeopardy.

Robin said...

The irony of them expanding to a city they left is palpable... will Quebec city be next? However I agree that the NHL doesn't need more teams right now, but less.

kanadienkyle said...

I think we are all agreed that expansion is not the best idea right now. But mark my words, Bettman has stars in his eyes and Bruckheimer will get his team in Vegas.

That being said, I think the expansion will lead to a mini-implosion/contraction that will see a few teams move north, with Winnipeg being the obvious destination as Bettman starts grasping at straws to save his job.