Vegas finally has the “Golden Knights”. The worst named NHL team in the league is in perhaps its worst market. I don’t think anyone in Vegas truly wants hockey, it was just the first sport to get there. Football followed very quickly – there’s rumors (still yet to be confirmed) that the Oakland Raiders will become the Las Vegas Raiders. Their black and silver fits the city much better than whatever this monstrosity is:
Giving credit where credit is due, it’s a nice use of the letter V. Taking credit away where you get no points, everything else is wrong with this logo. It’s the helmet of a Roman Centurion, not a knight. Also, you can take the guy out with a quick poke check to the eye. That’s vulnerability. Plus, the color scheme is bland. That dark blue and the weird pale gold is going to look awful against cooler colors like the Blackhawks Red and Stars Victory Green.
But now that Vegas is a hockey market, who’s next? What team will spring into existence, which market will get its team? With all the movement in every league, no team is safe. Now that Vegas has a hockey arena and a team, a basketball team can’t be far behind, and they’ll have to find an expansion partner team for Vegas. So there’s the NBA. The NFL will have two LA teams, with the Chargers moving north, and a Vegas team. Deep in all of our minds, we all know that the NFL still wants a London team, and if they’re going international they should also consider Toronto. MLB is shrinking, and can’t expect expansion teams anymore, not with each franchise being marketed for its history, but that doesn’t mean the MLB can’t move teams (please leave the White Sox in place. Please).
But where is the NHL going? 31 is an odd number. The conferences are still one team away from being even. That means if you put a team in the East, you’ll have to move Columbus or Detroit back West. Or, the league can add a Western team.
But how to do that? Where is the best location for a new team? How do you measure a new location’s interest?
The same way the NHL did Vegas. Through the NHL Awards. Let’s be honest, the Awards were a tool used to peak interest in the NHL and to gauge response. Why should it be anything else? One more year in Vegas doesn’t hurt anybody, so it should stay there this summer. But what about when the VGK have played a game? What then?
Well, time to go places the NHL has considered. Like Seattle. Yes, I’m saying to move the Awards (and perhaps the Draft) to the rainiest, wettest, most hipster market the NHL has considered: Seattle. I still believe that Seattle is the next market up. They were the first city to win the Stanley Cup in America with the Metropolitans. While that is now a division, a Seattle team still makes sense. That Seattle/Vancouver rivalry does too.
Plus, Seattle is less likely to collapse as a market. The Vegas fanbase could be fickle. We just don’t know, no league does.
The NHL Awards worked. You can’t deny that. Vegas is getting a team, and it’s because of those awards. So why not have those awards go to work in another market, a market that’s larger? There’s an opportunity for a way better team name in Seattle as well. The Seattle Swordfish. With a hockey stick for a nose. It’s got more to do with that city as well. Imagine this on a jersey:
Just that angry looking fish, with the same color scheme as the Seahawks? The blue, white, and green that works so well for the city already? I’m a big proponent of cities using the same color schemes. Pittsburgh makes it look so united. They look like one athletic force.
It’s time to end Gary Bettman’s conquest for the American South. Let’s not manifest destiny again. It wasn’t that great in the first place. Atlanta’s had multiple failures. The Carolina team is in shambles, and the Panthers aren’t far behind. Florida only really needs one team, and that team is the far more historic, far more important Lightning. Quebec deserves their team back. So does Hartford for that matter.
That means that the NHL can consider multiple markets. Why not do Seattle, Quebec, and Hartford in one fell swoop? Those aren’t the only markets that should be considered by the way. Hamilton, Ontario can support the Tigers again. I would personally take another look into Wisconsin. Utah already has a basketball arena and a severe lack of teams. So does Portland, OR. Houston is the fourth largest city in America, and yet in Bettman’s dealings with the South, Houston has never been considered.
I just think it’s time for the NHL Awards to move. Why not use them to explore new markets?