With news this morning that Seattle will approve a plan for a new arena, expansion and relocation talk has ramped up around the league once again. The NHL will head into next season with 31 teams, and though that’s not impossible to carry forward is far from ideal. A 32nd franchise is expected at some point, and Seattle now will have a new, privately funded arena and a backer—billionaire David Bonderman—who according to John Shannon of Sportsnet has privately expressed interest in a team.
The question now is whether expansion or relocation is right for Seattle (if they are to get a team at all) and if there are any other markets that could be in the running for the 32nd franchise. Obviously, Quebec City has long been rumored as a potential expansion location and even put in a bid in the last round. Houston, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Portland and Hamilton have all been mentioned as possible fits, along with a potential second team in Toronto. Nothing is imminent in any of these markets, but the idea of expansion is at least interesting in each of them.
Where do you think will be the next city with an NHL franchise, either through expansion or relocation? We’ve listed some options below, but feel free to comment with others you feel could be a good market for a growing US hockey base. Whatever you choose, make sure to tell us which method it will be, and if relocation which franchise you see packing up and leaving.
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