Make it nine?
That's the suggestion from the Conference Board of Canada on Thursday, as part of a running series on professional sports teams in this country, their latest findings state that Canada would be able to support up to two more NHL teams.
The report indicates that in addition to the current seven teams in Canada, Hamilton and Quebec City "appear to be viable locations for NHL franchises."
"Canada could sustain a maximum of nine NHL franchises – a conclusion based on our analysis of the market conditions required to support an NHL-level professional hockey team today," the briefing says.
"And while Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Québec City do appear to be viable locations for NHL franchises, they are all at the lower limit. These markets have only the minimum market size and income, and a relatively small number of corporate head offices.
"They would need the Canadian dollar to remain strong. As well, these smaller markets will always be more exposed than their larger competitors to any negative shocks to the national economy or to their community."
The Conference Board is not as bullish on putting a second team in Toronto, however, given the acquisition cost and/or territorial rights fees involved.
The full report is available here.