It is a grassroots highlighting of the national sport and the emphasis of the Sunday night time slot. It puts a family friendly atmosphere into the mix.
Hockey Day in Canada: wikipedia.org/wiki/NHL_on_Sportsnet#Hometown_Hockey
Hometown Hockey Games
- 2000: Toronto, Ontario (February 19)
- 2001: Red Deer, Alberta (February 24)
- 2002: Windsor, Nova Scotia (January 5)
- 2003: Iqaluit, Nunavut (February 15)
- 2004: Shaunavon, Saskatchewan (February 21)
- 2005: No Hockey Day in Canada due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout
- 2006: Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador (January 7)
- 2007: Nelson, British Columbia (January 13)
- 2008: Winkler, Manitoba (February 9)
- 2009: Campbellton, New Brunswick (February 21)
- 2010: Stratford, Ontario (January 30)
- 2011: Whitehorse, Yukon (February 12)
- 2012: Prince Edward Island (February 11)
- 2013: Peterborough, Ontario (February 9)
- 2014: Lloydminster, Alberta (January 18)
- 2015: Halifax, Nova Scotia (February 14)
In my blog I've talked about big league teams having sister cities where they could play some regular season games. For baseball, many minor league teams have MLB affiliates, some even sharing the ballclub's name like the Mississippi Braves being a reminder that it falls under the southern territory's regional capital, Atlanta.
But mostly, instead of big league teams playing exhibitions or one home stand in another city, I think it would be neat to try "travel tag teams". An example would be if half of a team's home games were played in two places. Say the California Angels played in Anaheim and the other half of their home (camp) games in Sacramento. Texas Rangers playing in San Antonio, also - like that. Or if the hockey Rangers played in Albany as well as NYC. The name is already there. The Dallas Stars have a minor league affiliate in Austin called the Texas Stars. I think it would be better for the Texas Stars as the proper name for the big league team. Houston or San Antonio aren't going to be in the NHL, in placement or name, anytime soon. Splitting some home games in the big leagues between the state's capital and largest city would definitely draw more Texans into the crowd. A trip to Dallas is far for many Texans.
Could it be done in hockey?
Blue Jackets Country could extend to the rinks of Cleveland and Cincinnati with a few games. A faceoff at the fence in a Toledo ballpark or football stadium would be a nice game against a Red Wing base. "Blue Jackets" blazed across the jersey as a home game in another Ohio city. Though, as a Cincinnatian, I wouldn't mind them being renamed to the Ohio Blue Jackets, I wouldn't want the Reds or Bengals to be called "Ohio", but I wouldn't mind the B'Jacks playing a camp game touted as the home team in Cincinnati wearing Blue Jackets on the uniform.
Do you think that the Coyotes could rebrand to Wolves? Play in Vegas, Portland and Seattle. Call them "West Coast". Hockey in Arizona? Yep, like hockey in Florida. Debatable as lackluster.
Panthers could play additionally in Atlanta. Or should it be Nashville's predators extending some range to the "Capital of the South". "Capital South" could be sported on the jerseys and part-time in town could work for Atlanta.
The Panthers could get the heck out of Miami for the likes of Cleveland and Milwaukee for a Great Lakes brand, under which Indy and Cinci could receive part-time consideration. That's for the best. By that I mean, hockey in the north.
In Canada, building two rinks per NHL team, fairly far apart, could work well. The community would get it's use out of it. Red Deer might not reach the figures desired for a business full-time, but there is much Canadian confidence in it as a part-time flux of people pouring into the seats. Canadian towns could be counted on more than American southern cities.
|The Atlanta Thrashers only lasted a shy over a dozen years in the NHL. They relocated as the second coming of the Winnipeg Jets.|