One would think that playing NHL playoffs caliber hockey would put butts in seats, but apparently Ottawa thinks otherwise, driving to a suburb out in the middle of nowhere is far too much hassle for the good people of Canada’s capitol. While they may have their excuses, the reality is that the NHL really cannot afford to prop anymore teams up from markets that cannot keep themselves up even when they are in the postseason. Relocation is the only option that seems to make sense to us here at Stanley Cup of Chowder.
I mean hell, even Arizona on their most recent trip filled their arena. And they’re like half an hour away from Phoenix. In the desert.
The Desert has more loyal fans of hockey than Ottawa when they go to the playoffs.
Fortunately, we here at SCoC had to watch every waking second of the Senators in the first round and their 1-3-1 and their otherwise completely dull team that hides the excitement of an Erik Karlsson so flawlessly. We could call ourselves experts on the subject assuming we could say we watched them play all the way through without napping.
So we’ve come up with plenty of places to relocate the boys in Red and Black based on some very specific criteria, and here are some of the candidates we’ve found:
Kansas City, Kansas
The Missouri side of Kansas City is for some insane reason the larger part of Kansas City, so we can’t have that. We’ve decided we have to ease the Senators into being the new team in town, and we’ve decided that the flat, mostly corn-laden landscapes of our nation’s heartland would fit the desolate neutral zone defense Ottawa employs every other night during the season! And by being in the smaller city, the Sens can get used to unusually empty lower bowls gradually filling up!
On top of that, eventually the fans might act and try to get the name changed, bringing back longtime merch favorite the Kansas City Scouts! Win-win for the league and for the fans!
Currently a 49,000 person strong community, with a delightful blue harbor that looks over Lake Michigan that NBCSN can film for B-Roll for days on end, and only the finest food and feasting, as befitting from a place called the “Bratwurst capital of the world”!
On top of that, being in a big city in Wisconsin means the Sens can enjoy roughly the same density of population that they had in Kanata (give or take a few ten thousand), and the same soul crushing weather! It’ll be like they never left!
It feels wrong that a place billing itself the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World” doesn’t have a major hockey team on-hand to really bring it all together. Oh sure, they have the Blues, but what that seedy strip that wikipedia shows me is that a town of 10,000 that gets people from the entirety of Missouri showing up is that this is a prime place for the all-new Branson Senators! The Battle of Missouri begins!
...Right after the Dixie Stampede of course. The Sens may be coming from a capitol but Dolly Parton’s got capital, y’all. She’d buy and bury them in an instant if they tried anything.
The Pacific needs teams, and Las Vegas could do with a rival right out of the gate. Who better than a team going to a non-traditional hockey market? You could easily make this a city folk vs. farming folk sort of deal, given that Las Vegas is already probably looking to be as flashy as the strip, and the Senators are...anything but that, except for Erik Karlsson but still.
Helping this pick is the University of Nebraska at Omaha has a surprisingly alright hockey team, and they’re already wearing red and black, so there’s already a burgeoning fanbase within the city limits that’ll always remain young and vibrant! (so long as you keep the student section cheap, of course)
Once again, Pacific Division needs teams, Montana puts them well within the parameters of that. On top of that, their closer proximity to Vancouver can allow them to grow into a begrudging rival since the Canucks are currently even more boring and worse than Ottawa is!
And just think of all that historic...uh...mountain ranges and stuff. Plenty of B-Roll.
If anything Butte is about as 1-3-1 as you can get in the United States so it might as well be the 1-3-1 capitol of the US.
Hopefully these suggestions were as thought provoking as they were to research, and hopefully the NHL sees this and gives a much more deserving hockey community an opportunity to be part of the magical experience of NHL Playoff hockey.
Or they can keep things in Ottawa where they’ll continue to have trouble filling the lower bowl. The choice is theirs alone.