Steve Clowers, Grand Terrace, Calif.
I don’t understand why Las Vegas keeps popping up in conversations about relocation/expansion?
First of all, this is not a knock on Vegas, but I lived there for many years and when the town had the IHL Thunder, they couldn’t even support them. They would never sell out.
This was back in the 90s when the Thunder had Curtis Joseph, Alexei Yashin, Ruslan Salei and Radek Bonk, all in their primes.
When the Thunder would make the playoffs, I could wait a week after tickets went on sale and buy a second row seat without issues.
Las Vegas could not support a star-studded minor league hockey team then, why now?
Secondly, hasn’t the NHL learned its lesson yet that hockey does not work in warm weather/non-traditional markets?
A Las Vegas team may work for the first year, but the novelty is going to wear off and they’ll be lucky to draw 10,000 a game. And that’s with half the population that Phoenix does.
And finally, Las Vegas was impacted more severely by the housing market than any other city. People are struggling to make mortgage payments.
The NHL needs to put teams where there actually is a hockey fan base. The NHL needs to think about “Actual Hockey Fan Population” and not total population.
It doesn’t matter that Las Vegas has 1.8 million people compared to Winnipeg at 700,000 because only 10,000 people in Vegas are actually hockey fans, while Winnipeg has 400,000 hockey fans.
Listen, I’m an American, but I say this: Mr. Bettman, put teams where the love of hockey is, back in Canada.