There's no question the Toronto Maple Leafs are the most financially stabilized hockey franchise in the NHL. But for most of those who have followed the sport particularly here in Toronto, will tell you Toronto is primary a Maple Leafs town rather than a majority hockey market.
Having said that, why is it junior hockey, even university or AHL hockey have always drawn little interest from hockey fans in this city. Despite those claims, a large number of us remain convinced a second NHL team in the GTA would be a success.
The fact of the matter is fans here have proven over and over again the "thirst" for NHL hockey here in TO is overwhelming, even if their team haven't won the cup since 1966. Bottom line is, people may not embrace hockey at other levels here, but when it comes to supporting NHL hockey Toronto is the "cream of crop".
Minnesota for example, is one of those markets who've always embraced their hockey from the junior all the way up to the university and pro level. Could they support two NHL teams, clearly no.
Another city that comes to mind is Detroit. Last year in an outdoor University hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State, over one hundred thousand fans showed up. Yes, the Red Wings receive good support at the Joe Luis, but they have also been putting some good hockey teams on the ice for sometime. If the Red Wings would ever drop from standings, you can bet so would their attendance figures as well.
Yes its good to support hockey at all levels, but in a modern city like Toronto where consumers demand the best for their entertainment dollar, anything less then a major league product clearly isn't good enough.
The Leafs have more Corporate support then any other NHL team right now. There is also a waiting list of 10 plus years to get season tickets. It really is the in thing to do in Toronto. They could also ice a team that could lose all 82 games and still sell out every single game, while the fans pay on average more per ticket.
The reason Junior hockey does not sell in the Toronto area is because it's junior hockey. Who wants to go all the way downtown to watch the Marlies I know i don't. If and i mean if they want fan support in Toronto they have to win something. Same with the Jays and Raptors.
Toronto is a major-league town. I can't think of a successful team (in terms of fan-base or finances) in ANY sport outside of the top-tier of that sport in Toronto.
Junior hockey and farm-teams are small-time stuff for small-time towns. Nothing wrong with that, but that isn't Toronto's character at all. Cramming in to standing-room only in the local hockey-barn to watch the local boys brawl with the team from two villages over isn't exactly T.O.'s style.
A second NHL team in southern Ontario would definitely work, whether it's in T.O., Hamilton, Markham, or wherever.
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