This Makes Far Too Much Sense To Happen
But Thun, a lawyer and veteran player representative, says the NHL, with some smart moves, could turn around a bad situation and add a billion dollars annually to its revenue.
For starters, it would place a team in southern Ontario, which is a no-brainer given the size of the market and interest in hockey. Thun says owning that team would be a "a licence to print money."
And then the league would move to Europe, to large northern and central European cities where hockey is a major sport. But instead of expanding, it would relocate six existing but failing teams.
Said Thun, "You would go to the six lowest revenue producing teams in the NHL and say, 'Listen, we've got owners in Europe. We want to set up a European division. And we want to move six teams at one time. Are you willing to sell your franchise for $250-million?' I can't imagine a lot of people would say no."
A fee of $250-million would certainly be well above market value for clubs such as Phoenix, Atlanta, Nashville and Florida.
A European division could consist of franchises in any six of London, Paris, Stockholm, Helsinki, Prague, Frankfurt, Berlin and Moscow. The six teams would play each other eight times, bringing each team's total to 40 games, plus 42 more against North American teams at home and away.
Travel would be an issue, but most of the interlocking games would involve North American teams closest to Europe on the Atlantic coast. The Atlantic division is a bus loop, anyway, so a few long trips wouldn't hurt.
Though for the record, I'm pro-NHL-To-Vegas-With-Bruckheimer.