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Next NHL Expansion Teams: Favorite Ones

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The National Hockey League (NHL) has seen remarkable growth from its humble beginnings of six teams in 1942 to the recent addition of the Seattle Kraken as the 32nd team in 2021. Now comprised of 25 American and 7 Canadian teams, the prospect of further expansion brings with it the promise of new job opportunities, increased tourism, and heightened tax revenues for potential host cities. Let’s delve into the leading contenders for the Next NHL Expansion.

Next NHL Expansion: Portland: A Hotbed of Passionate Sports Culture

Portland emerges as a robust candidate, boasting a passionate sports culture and successful major league teams such as the Trail Blazers in the NBA and the Timbers in Major League Soccer. The city has a storied history of supporting minor league hockey through the Portland Winterhawks. The state-of-the-art Moda Center, having hosted NHL preseason games, positions itself as an ideal location for a Pacific Northwest rivalry against the Seattle Kraken.

Milwaukee: Rich Hockey Traditions and Potential Rivalries

Milwaukee, steeped in hockey traditions, is home to the successful minor league team, the Milwaukee Admirals. The city’s geographical proximity to established NHL teams like the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks hints at the potential for massive rivalries. Fiserv Forum, a modern downtown arena, enhances Milwaukee’s candidacy to become one of the next NHL expansion teams.

Next NHL Expansion: Kansas City: Rekindling Interest in NHL

Kansas City, once the home of the NHL’s Scouts, is experiencing a revival of interest in hosting an expansion team. Despite past challenges, the T-Mobile Center has hosted St. Louis Blues preseason games, showcasing its potential. Proximity to existing NHL markets and the necessity for corporate sponsorship present challenges, but the presence of a wealthy owner could alleviate the significant cost of expansion fees.

Quebec City: Passionate Fans and a Viable Arena

Quebec City, boasting a passionate ice hockey fan base, seeks a return to the NHL after the Nordiques’ relocation to Colorado in 1995. The Videotron Centre, a state-of-the-art stadium built in 2015, positions Quebec City as a viable expansion team candidate, despite being a Francophone market of less than 1 million people.

Next NHL Expansion: Hamilton: A Persistent Favorite

Despite past setbacks, Hamilton remains a persistent favorite for Next NHL Expansion. The city’s proximity to Toronto, the NHL’s most profitable market, and the viability of the FirstOntario Centre as an NHL arena make Hamilton a compelling and enduring option.

Houston: Completing the “Full Set”

Houston, with a historical background in ice hockey, emerges as a top contender due to its status as the largest market in North America without an NHL team. The Toyota Center, a 17,800-seat modern arena in downtown Houston, adds to its appeal. The potential for a fierce rivalry with the Dallas Stars and a robust local economy make Houston an attractive option to host a team, completing the “full set” of major league teams in the city.

Suggested Read: MacKenzie Weegar Lights Up the Ice with First NHL Hat Trick for the Flames

Summing it Up

The NHL expansion landscape is rife with exciting possibilities, with cities like Portland, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Quebec City, Hamilton, and Houston vying for a coveted spot in the league. Each city brings unique strengths and challenges, adding to the anticipation of the NHL’s continued growth. As discussions unfold, hockey enthusiasts eagerly await the announcement of the Next NHL Expansion that will undoubtedly shape the league’s future.

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