To get everyone up to speed on the shit-show that is NHL hockey in Arizona, the last few years have been a constant battle of commissioner Gary Bettman trying to make hockey work in Arizona while the people of Arizona and it’s local governments just give him the middle finger back.Their team has been pathetic for years, their attendance has always been pathetic, and this past season they actually played in Arizona State University’s arena (which only holds ~5k fans) because they couldn’t get their own stadium. Watching Gary try to make the Arizona work for the NHL has been almost as cringe as seeing middle aged dudes hit on girls half their age at the gym every day. You just want it to stop. And today it finally did, when the city of Tempe rejected all 3 options for a new stadium that the Coyotes presented the city…which makes the chances of the Coyotes staying in Arizona about the same as the chances those middle aged dudes have in their efforts. The NHL will likely do something really stupid and try to make it work in Atlanta again, but for now let’s have some fun ranking the best potential new homes for the Yotes.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Not exactly a massive US market to move to but this is one of the fastest growing cities in the US, has weather perfect for a hockey town, the Utah Jazz sell out almost every single game, and their owner recently openly stated he’d like to bring the NHL to Salt Lake. You’re telling me players like Matthews wouldn’t love a city like this where he can hit the slopes (skiing, not the other way idiots) once he finally gives up on the fairy tale of Toronto winning a cup? Give me an NHL outdoor game overlooking Lake Tahoe, and take all of my money.
After 30 years of not winning a cup, the citizens of this overly polite country deserve some relief. Not even just winning a cup, but their current teams do nothing but punt their fanbases in the balls year after year after year. You know the team would get fan support immediately, With a ton of NHL stars hailing from this specific area of Canada you could also expect them to do pretty damn well in free agency. If Bettman thinks with his brain instead of the hard on he has for Atlanta/Arizona, this is one of the more likely landing spots for the Coyotes.
Saratoga Springs, New York
Honestly I don’t know anything about this city, and it likely would be a horrible option business wise. But Ked needs someone else to cheer for other than the American version of the Toronto Maple Leafs for his sanity.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Now I know the main objection here is that Sioux Falls has a population of ~200,000. However NHL games hosted here wouldn’t pull people in just from the city. People in the Dakotas have nothing but touring national parks, saying their O’s slightly different from everyone else, and hockey. Their D1 college hockey games provide some of the best atmospheres in the entire sport, and you bet your ass people from all over South Dakota would drive to these games to get buckled and cheer on their team. My prediction is that they’d potentially be one of the more insane fan bases in the entire NHL, which frankly a lack of that is the main reason the Coyotes failed in Arizona.
Kansas City, Missouri
My preferred and in my opinion the option that would produce the best results for the NHL business-wise, Kansas City. These ass holes may be way too cocky about their half ass BBQ, and are already spoiled with Patrick Mahomes bringing them a Super Bowl every other year, but give them a solid sports franchise and those degenerates show up. I mean even their MLS team has great attendance. Missourians have no beaches, or mountains, no massive cities like NYC or Chicago, so we have nothing better to do than be unhealthily obsessed with our local teams. Inject a 3 way rivalry in the NHL between St. Louis, Chicago, and KC directly into my vein on my left arm. Then on my right arm inject a Winter Classic at Arrowhead stadium with the biggest tailgate for a hockey game the world has ever seen.
This is all pointless though because the NHL will likely just go back to Atlanta as if people there actually want the Thrashers back, then make us all watch them pretend for years like it’s actually working (here’s what happened last time).
Funny analysis, but Lake Tahoe is nearly 600 miles from Salt Lake City. Did you mean Salt Lake?