A long, long time ago, someone brought up the bright idea to try and move the Phoenix Coyotes to Winnipeg. Then there was talk of Hamilton. Then both just kind of imploded and no one heard two words about it. Until today. Now, another NHL season’s trying to limp to an end, and another failing hockey team’s being talked about in the context of being shuffled off to Winnipeg–this time, from Atlanta. Hockey fans older than I will probably remember another Atlanta-based team who was at one point being talked about in the context of being shuffled off north–they’re in Calgary now. I’ve said it before, but it can’t hurt a thing to say it again–Canada needs more hockey. At least, Canada needs it a whole lot more than the southern US appears to–based on how many of those teams can barely fill up an arena. Okay, so the whole idea of two Canadian teams actually facing off against each other for something more than a shot at 8th place sounds good, but beyond that, the league needs competition. Not just the kind of competition you’d see in Buffalo or New York–but the kind of competition you used to see in a Quebec City versus Montreal context–for the record, real hockey fans cheered for Quebec City in those games. Or a Winnipeg versus Vancouver context. I was barely old enough to remember games like that. Even now, I have to go look it up to get an idea what I just barely missed. If this attempt at a deal doesn’t come apart at the seems and do all manner of imploding all over itself, I might even be convinced to turn off a Leafs game for this. And we all know I’m attached to my Leafs games–when life stops throwing me curves I can’t hit. So, there’s your reason for putting a team in Winnipeg. Make me turn off a Leafs game. Any takers?
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