As population continually increases in the Southern states, the NHL is moving teams into large Southern cities. In an effort to increase profits and popularity, the NHL has increased the number of teams in the league and moved into Southern cities that have never had hockey teams before. The problem is that hockey is not as popular in the South as it is in the North. This expansion in the South has lead to huge monetary losses to Southern teams and very low attendance numbers. The NHL should not have expanded the league into Southern cities and should keep NHL teams farther North.
There are a few reasons why the NHL began expanding into Southern Markets. But the one of the biggest events that opened the door for Southern expansion was the trade of Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings. In 1988, the NHL’s best player ever brought attention to hockey in the South. Gretzky’s name and popularity brought people to the arena and made it possible for other NHL teams to expand to the South. After the Kings picked up Gretzky the first new team to expand to the South was the San Jose Sharks in 1991. The Sharks were followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning who joined the league in 1992. In 1993, Florida was awarded their second team in two years, the Florida Panthers. California was also awarded their third team, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. In 1998, Nashville received an NHL team that was named the Predators. Next, in 1999, the Atlanta Thrashers were born. All of these teams were expansion teams, which means they were simply started and not moved from anywhere else. These teams were put in these Southern markets because the NHL was trying to take advantage of growing cities. In 1970, two years a...
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...alaries and lower ticket prices, the NHL should concentrate on where they are wanted and loved, the northern U.S. and Canada. Hockey means a lot to Canadians and children. It does not make any sense that the NHL is concentrating on the South and not helping out teams in Canada or bringing more teams to Canada. When the NHL realizes where hockey matters and where people want hockey, they will be able to be profitable and increase fan support. There is no point trying to force hockey on the southern U.S. because it is not wanted there. Time and money should be spent on helping loyal fans go to games in the North, rather than trying to lure in new fans in the South. The Southern hockey experiment should end now before loyal fans become fed up with pro hockey. If the NHL does not do something soon, it may be too late and NHL fans will be lost forever.
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