Sunday, June 05, 2011
The Clarion Content has long derided the National Hockey League for its move into warm weather United States cities. Locally, the Carolina Hurricanes have been the exception to the rule. The exception proves the rule? Bringing the Clarion Content's northeastern Original Six hockey biases to the table, we have never bought into hockey in warm places. This is the national sport of Canada. This week the NHL agreed.
The Atlanta Thrashers were the weakest warm weather franchise this side of the Phoenix Coyotes (in bankruptcy and league receivership while sucking money out of the City of Glendale). True North Sports & Entertainment bought the Atlanta franchise and is moving it to Winnipeg, Manitoba. The underlying premise? Canada loves hockey. How much? Winnipeg sold out its 13,000 season ticket plans almost immediately.
Atlanta is lukewarm about all of its sports teams. The team was 28th in attendance in a 30 team league. Hockey doesn't play well in warm weather cities. Only one warm weather city is in the top half of the league in attendance, though to be fair San Jose, just outside the top half, plays to sellout crowds.
Bottom line, this was an obvious move for the league.
Next up what Canadian city takes the Phoenix Coyotes?