I’ve known this for over 10 years. If you don’t give Canada affirmative action or subsidy, or whatever you call it, you aren’t watering the roots of hockey, and the farthest reaching branches will die no matter how bright their blooms may be.
The NHL blocking even the notion of the Penguins moving to Canada is myopic, stupid, and greedy. There are many cities with a weaker hockey tradition than Pittsburgh, but as of right now, none of those teams have teams that have been economic failures despite the presence of three very huge stars spanning the last 22 years.
This is the same league, after all, that took hockey away from Minnesota for over 5 years.
The money-men around Bettman and New York insist that the NHL have a presence is as many major media markets as possible, so they can have their revenues. One step. No vision. Underlying that is the simple fact that the list of major hockey markets is not the same as general media markets. Further complicating the picture is the fact that the game needs to play to its base, as it were, and keep itself #1 in Canada (and Minnesota, for that matter) if it’s going to continue to draw the talent it needs to have any star power.
We need three more teams in Canada, and three less teams in the American South. But until one of those teams is a failure, I don’t see any reason why Pittsburgh can’t do without.