In recent times, the National Hockey League (NHL), has looked to expand through moving into Las Vegas, along with also setting up a franchise in Seattle. Upon being introduced, the Seattle team will begin to compete in the 2021-22 season. However, while the NHL is continuously looking to grow and expand, Quebec City continues to be left out of the loop despite submitting an extension application at the same time as Las Vegas.
The announcement of Seattle officially becoming the NHL’s 32nd team back in 2018 illustrates how far away Quebec is from landing their own franchise, with some believing that relocating a team is the city’s best bet. As a result of that, we’re going to take a look at some of the reasons as to why Canada is long overdue a new NHL franchise, while also highlighting how other industries in the country are already suitably prepared to be able to handle expansions to the sports industry.
How other industries are prepared for sports growth
While there can be no doubt that hockey is a massive aspect of the sporting culture, many Canadians see the game as more than just a sport as it acts as a unifying force in a country of over 33 million people. As hockey is deeply ingrained within the routes of Canadian culture, it’s hardly surprising that it has had a significant impact on numerous different industries throughout the country. Despite being overlooked by the NHL following their extension application, other sectors have effectively positioned themselves to be able to handle consumer demand if Quebec City is ever introduced into the national league.
Platforms such as Aspire Global’s Karamba casino for Canadian players demonstrate how the online casino industry is aptly prepared for the introduction of a Quebec-based team into the NHL. With its dual license, more Canadian sports bettors are turning to the platform as it continues to gain significant traction within the country. Moreover, with their sportsbook and online casino games now accepting Canadian-based payments, and with the NHL being one of the available sports, the market is constantly growing, and the expansion possibilities are arguably greater than ever before.
Fanbase and infrastructure
Generally, hockey is regarded as a year-round sport in Canada for people of all ages who play the game at any level. As the sport is considered as being the country’s most popular pastime, NHL expansion into the Canadian market would appear to be an advantageous move for all parties. Currently, the hockey scene within Canada is vast with national championship trophies including the Memorial Cup and Allan Cup being sought after, along with the country also competing on the international stage during the Olympic games. Crucially, this demonstrates how, if the NHL were to eventually include Quebec, there is already a strong focus on hockey infrastructure within the country.
Over the last few years, female hockey has also grown considerably since the first-ever IIHF World Women’s Championship, which was played back in 1990. In the sector’s very first year centering around female participation, there were 8146 players but, over the course of the next 20 years, participation increased greatly with over 85,000 female players now involved in the sport. Following the significant increase in hockey participation, it’s clear to see that the sport has an ever-growing fanbase within Canada, and the introduction of a new franchise could prove beneficial to both the country itself and the NHL.
The Canadian market shouldn’t continue to be overlooked
It’s incredibly difficult to deny that Canada is more than prepared for any involvement that may occur within the NHL with Quebec City having the look and feel of a place that is primed for a return to the national league. Although the sport has long been popular within the country, the growth of the women’s game, along with the continuous advancements made within other markets including online casinos, perfectly illustrates that Canada is ready to make its long-awaited return to the highest level of national hockey.