Seattle is sure to get the next American bid for a NHL team. But until then I would love for hockey to try my travel-team-regional model on for size.
For Las Vegas, I think it would work best.
If the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers don't come back to play, I'd like them in on this deal. I think the West Coast brand is better than the Wrangler name anyway. If they get their arena and fool the NHL to stay in town, congratulations to them. The West Coast brand and co-location idea is what should have happened to Arizona hockey. Phoenix-Glendale AND Las Vegas is overdoing it for ice hockey, I think anyway.
But honestly I would rather a west expansion balance for the NHL be Portland and Seattle instead of Vegas. Throw at least five games in Vegas with a West Coast named franchise and I would find that to be the best for the tourist town.
Another regional moniker that I'd like to see take hold in whatever league of professional hockey (or soccer) is a "Great Lakes" brand. I like the Lake Erie Cleveland named team. Minor league hockey is in Toledo and Cincinnati also, with Columbus represented in the big leagues. Dayton had an ECHL team before. Places like Milwaukee and Indianapolis have teams but if ever a franchise was struggling I would like to partner Dayton into the mix for co-location. If the Great Lakes name were ever represented in the NHL, Cleveland and Milwaukee would be the prime nods with places like Indianapolis and the Cincinnati area eager to enter into the fold.
See: Too snobby for the Minor Leauges
See more expansion, co-location and relocation talk for football, baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer on my blog http://prosportsexpansion.blogspot.com/