Is Expansion something the WHL would consider at this time?

Discussion in 'WHL' started by paul-laus, May 7, 2014.

  1. paul-laus

    paul-laus Registered User

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    With the Heat being moved to Glens Falls NY, I'm wondering if the WHL is now seriously looking at Abbotsford as a potential expansion target for the leage. Also, does anybody know if the WHL would ever seriously consider going back into the Chillawack market after the failure of the Bruins? Could it work there under more committed ownership? And is Winnipeg still a chance for an expansion WHL team to share the MTS Centre with the Jets? How about Ft. McMurray or Grand Prairie as potential options?
     
  2. Rocko604

    Rocko604 Bring on the Jerks

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    I cannot see the WHL expanding. In fact, the league has two teams too many, IMHO. No point opening up more spots to players who should be playing Major Midget or Junior A. Would just water down the league.

    As for Abbotsford and Winnipeg, I could potentially see those markets being served by relocation.
     
  3. DudeWhereIsMakar

    DudeWhereIsMakar Originator of the username

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    WHL West Divison:
    Abbostford
    Chilliwack
    Everett
    Kamloops
    Kelowna
    Nanaimo
    Portland
    Prince George
    Seattle
    Spokane
    Tri-City
    Vancouver
    Victoria


    WHL East Divison:
    Brandon
    Calgary
    Edmonton
    Fort McMurray
    Lethbridge
    Medicine Hat
    Moose Jaw
    Prince Albert
    Red Deer
    Regina
    Saskatoon
    Swift Current
    Winnipeg

    Kootaney is out and going to one of the bolded teams.
     
  4. paul-laus

    paul-laus Registered User

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    Being a 'peger, I really hope that Winnipeg can get a WHL franchise. I've spoken with so many friends and coworkers who'd love to get a junior team with a solid product with legitimate pricing....Seeing how the Oil Kings have done in Edmonton makes me jealous....
     
  5. alcoraces

    alcoraces Registered User

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    Wishful thinking. And not a chance that both Abbotsford and Chilliwack would have a WHL team at the same time. They are 20 minutes apart and while one of them would support a team, both of them would be stretching it.
     
  6. Hordichuk_24

    Hordichuk_24 Registered User

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    Pretty much zero chance of expansion. Relocation is always a possibility and there are a few teams in consideration. When or if that finally happens is the real question. Winnipeg keeps getting brought up and it's no secret the league wants another team on the island. Without a proper venue that doesn't seem very likely.
     
  7. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    They are not. Ron Robison has pretty much winked and nudged that they're a relocation target (the obvious majority speculation here, but it's pretty much been talked up at league HQ).

    I wouldn't completely douse expansion further down the road... provided the league thinks they can recruit a growing western US player market. Probably no more than 2 teams, and that depends on where Kootenay- or the next available team- lands. If the Ice end up in Abbotsford, the league has shown that they'll probably hold out for Winnipeg and a new Nanaimo arena, dependent upon Nanaimo's timeline.

    Chilliwack is likely never coming back, especially when Abbotsford has the better building and is located in the larger market.

    I know I speculated on Fort McMurray at one point. It's been mentioned, but not in the glowing terms of the others.
     
  8. Hardyvan123

    Hardyvan123 [email protected]

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    Pretty much this, Abby makes great sense as it`s a great building and centrally located in the Fraser Valley.

    Abby and Nanamio makes sense for travel reasons and logistics for road trips and growing markets with lots of potential crossover fans from nearby markets.
     
  9. Nabru

    Nabru Registered User

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    delete
     
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  10. paul-laus

    paul-laus Registered User

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    How about because I live in a city (Winnipeg) that is increasingly being bandied about as an expansion target and I miss WHL hockey? Every NHL market in Canada other than the Peg has a junior market in the vicinity and I think Winnipeg is capable of managing this task as well in a 730,000 plus metro area. Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Vancouver Giants, Ottawa 67's and Montreal (Blainville Boisbriand), and Toronto (Mississuaga) have done alright without oversaturating the market. In addition, expansion can be used as a good indicator of strength of a league that other markets are interested in joining. Granted this needs to be done hesitantly but if there is chance for growth and growing a product why would you fight that?

    Crap in the NHL? I'm sick of hearing all this garbage about a watered down product in the NHL by the way. These boards are full of people suggesting to cut the NHL's number of teams down to 24? Oh I get it, NFL can pull off 32? MLB and NBA can do 30? But there's certainly not enough talent out there to sustain 30 NHL teams. With all the prospects coming out of Sweden, Finland, the US developmental program, the Canadian junior leagues, and even Czech (Vrana and Pasternak this year) the NHL isn't grasping at straws in my opinion. I've watched a ton of hockey this year and although scoring is down consistently, I hardly perceive the product as being watered down. The playoffs I've watched this year have been as competitive and entertaining as ever. In an era when generally 6 of the top 10 draft picks go directly to the NHL and are solid contributors (ie MacKinnon, Monahan, Seth Jones, Nichushkin) there continues of be a solid influx of talent being injected into the NHL to keep it from being watered down while replacing guys on their last legs. Everybody knows that Ekblad will play in the NHL next year as will Bennett and likely Draisaitl too. Nobody's talking about drafting 12 year olds into the O. Take a deep breath and relax man...
     
  11. Nabru

    Nabru Registered User

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  12. OilerPensfan97

    OilerPensfan97 Registered User

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    Not Chilliwack. They just barely lost a WHL team.
     
  13. go_leafs_go02

    go_leafs_go02 Registered User

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    Read up on the history on how screwed Chilliwack (the City) was in losing the Bruins. That lies completely and wholly on the league alone for Chilliwack losing their team. Offer in place to buy and keep the team, league says no, you sell to Victoria, and Chilliwack ends up empty handed.

    Attendance their last year wasn't great, but ranked 16th out of the 22 team league. A good 1000-1500 more fans per game than several franchises.
     
  14. DudeWhereIsMakar

    DudeWhereIsMakar Originator of the username

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    What about Lloydminister. Great for travel and had many NHLers come from there.
     
  15. Scouter

    Scouter Registered User

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    Actually I'm pretty sure they are considering expanding to Nanaimo, as they want another team on the island for Victoria, they have mentioned this in the past.
     
  16. phillipsj89

    phillipsj89 Registered User

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    Dont think they were considering Expansion, more likely Re-location. With PG selling to new local ownership, they are out of the relocation mix, at least for now.
     
  17. S E P H

    S E P H @SEPH_WHL

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    Seriously how many inner coastal BC teams is the WHL going to make just to fold later?

    Would not like a Nanaimo or any other region in Vancouver. Problem with WHL that LHJMQ or OHL do not have is the distance between two average cities. Of course North Bay or Owen Sound are not even close to anywhere else, but a league can manage two teams. WHL is spread across four provinces and two states. Fort McMurray and Lloydminister are the two most notable candidates to me, but personally think USA should be the targeted market. Maybe not Montana, but perhaps Northern California or Idaho would be good. I do know that the Steelheads have really decent attendance the last time I checked.
     
  18. Scouter

    Scouter Registered User

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    Hello, that's why having a team in Nanaimo would be a good idea, so it would be closer to Victoria and Vancouver and their would be less distance. :help:

    The reason why the WHL is not like the O and the Q, is because the populations out west are more spread out than the east, so it has to be that way, of course they would want to be like the Eastern leagues, but it's not possible, simple geography mate.
     
  19. S E P H

    S E P H @SEPH_WHL

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    Bro, you basically repeated what I said in different sentences....

    Problem is Nanaimo is damn close to other WHL and BCHL franchises that there isn't enough fans to go around (seriously how many BCHL franchises are close to Nanaimo?). Heat play in a great population area and there crowds are 90% empty. Of course being the Flames affiliate is definitely part of the problem, but enough to have a 90% empty area? Even though hockey is extremely popular in Vancouver and outside regions, the supply and demand is not good enough for another inner region junior team. Simple economics mate.
     
  20. Scouter

    Scouter Registered User

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    I disagree about their being enough fans, I think fans would rather go to a WHL game than a BCHL game, or go to both. The Heat are gone now.
     
  21. Hordichuk_24

    Hordichuk_24 Registered User

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    The league definitely wants another team on the island. That is no secret. Nanaimo makes the most sense except they don't have a proper venue. And it seems uncertain that one will be built anytime soon. If this were to happen at some point in the future it would be via relocation not expansion. Prince George was the rumored franchise to be moved but now with new ownership that changes everything. Regardless without a proper arena a WHL team isn't going there period.
     
  22. tank44

    tank44 Registered User

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    Nanaimo and Abbotsford/Chilliwack make the most sense for WHL expansion out west. Cities with populations over 100k and more nearby. There are also towns like Campbell River (North Island) that would want a BCHL team.

    As for US expansion for WHL, distance comes into factor again. Right now all 5 US teams are within a 4-5 hour drive from each other (Portland to Spokane being the farthest) In Washington, Bellingham or Wenatchee are possibilities. Bellingham doesn't have an arena and its midway between Everett & Vancouver (40 mi from either) where you are already complaining about crowding. Wenatchee has a NAHL team and I think has tried to get into the BCHL rather than W. In Oregon, you would have to move further south and the distance may not equate interest. Eugene is the biggest city but is controlled by the University of Oregon sports. Bend may be an option but would be 3 hours from Portland and 4 hours from TriCities. Not sure if an arena is there. Medford is near the OR/CA border and a possibility but would be 4 hours farther than Portland south. Boise sounds good but their ECHL team does well locally and would be a major outlier by being 4 hours SE of TriCities and 6 hours from Portland or Spokane. In Montana you come across smaller populations, greater distances and isolation from other teams. Missoula could with in the US division being only 3 hours from Spokane but another college town (University of Montana) and two mountain passes for travel to the closest team.

    E: If the NHL comes to Seattle & the AHL western expansion occurs, there is a decent chance any of the US expansion options or current locations change and WHL teams in the US are reduced.

    NHL: AHL
    Van - Abby
    Sea-Evt/Spok
    other AHL teams to Portland/Boise...
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  23. Belamorte

    Belamorte Feed Your Head

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    As far as I can see the only markets that work are Nanaimo (no secret, but no rink), back to Chilliwack/Abbotsford area and move P.G. (sorry P.G.) and perhaps central Washington. Winnipeg is just getting too far, as is anywhere going into southern Oregon/N.Cali, also northern Alberta/B.C just gets too far, and highways are fairly rough in the winter. Need to remember these guy are still in high school for the most part and travel by bus. Travelling by bus from Victoria -> Winnipeg is probably a 2 day trip (just drive time), from Winnipeg to Portland perhaps longer (never mind N.Cali). These kids cannot miss 2 weeks of school for 1 road trip; as well as all the other road trips (because that is what it would take).

    Sure they play games along the way, but how effective are the players after travelling close to 3000km (one way by bus, they need to come back as well)?
     
  24. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    None of the US intermountain markets are attractive to the WHL. The Montana markets are small... and while long ago, Billings has been tried before.

    Boise is not only too far a drive from the other Northwest cities, but the driving conditions of Cabbage Hill, Meacham, and Ladd Canyon on I-84 will almost certainly cause 1-2 postponements during the average season. I know that the US teams don't like those odds. That didn't stop Boise from nearly purchasing Brandon or Tri-City some 18 years ago... but the league stopped them from buying.

    Eugene is the next largest market, but not only does U of Oregon dominate the market, they're not coming up with a hockey arena anytime soon.

    Bellingham? I don't see them coming up with an arena.

    Wenatchee? They have the arena, just barely, but I'm rather sure the WHL sees them as too small for an American market. Without Seattle and Portland, maybe the league goes there.

    Yakima? Sun Dome would have to have an ice plant installed, and the people who control the building have never wanted to do that.

    Salem? Again, a building conversion is required and I don't see it happening. Bigger market than you think, though, and really deserves much more consideration.

    Bend? No arena, and they've had one on the ballot before. If I had the money, I'd go there; big winter sports market, and really a fun place to both visit and live.
     
  25. paul-laus

    paul-laus Registered User

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    Anybody hearing anything in terms of relocation or expansion at the moment?
     

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