How Hockey is Your Potential NHL Expansion City?


Who’s it gonna be? Vegas, Quebec City, Seattle or Toronto—the NHL’s potential suitors rated.

By Kyle Magin

By August 10, we’ll know who’s submitting bids to become the NHL’s 31st and 32nd teams now that the hockey league has opened up its formal expansion process.

Let’s look at the probable culprits to submit a bid packet and a $1 million application fee for the right to have a shot at paying $500 million to join America’s 5th most popular sports league.

We’ve ranked the towns on a venerable “That’s so hockey” to a “that’s not very hockey” scale using the following metrics:

Points awarded for recent performances by Rise Against and OAR, support for minor league hockey, hair, alcohol consumption, access to traditional poutine (no green ingredients) and time it would take an outdoor ice rink to melt (point awarded for longest).

Points deducted for shitty weather (Canadians really, really like playing in LA), stable mental health, having things to do between October and April (AKA hockey’s regular season) and inability to pronounce Russian names.

Las Vegas

Pros: OAR will incite bros to pointless revolution this fall in Sin City. That’s literally millions of cargo shorts pockets from which to pluck $40 for a nosebleed hockey seat. For the hair element of this exercise, we’re assessing each city by the top Google Image search result for “city name hair.” I was back and forth on this photo before deciding it’s pretty fucking hockey, mainly because of that chick with the blue lollipop. She looks like she just got the OK from a ref to go buckets off with Tie Domi and her mane is AMPED for it. Vegas is only America’s 21st drunkest city, according to this. I don’t know what to do with that. Half point.

Cons: Vegas’s fan base will be able to golf for the literal entirety of the regular season and will probably only head indoors once the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin, unlike every other city on this list, so that’s a full-point deduction. Las Vegas is the land of Mormons with names whiter than mayo, Jews who were unlucky enough to have an immigration agent at Ellis Island chop their family moniker down to two syllables, a bunch of Mexicans and a hodgepodge of foreign taxi drivers. No way are fans there getting the pronunciation on Namestnikov right on the first try. Nevada was found guilty in federal court of shipping its mentally disturbed to San Francisco with one-way bus tickets; there’ll be a fountain of anxiety and psychosis for the new team to tap into.

Total:  .5

Verdict: Vegas is NOT very hockey.

Quebec City

qcIPros: Rise Against plays QC in September and is terrific at harnessing the anger of the perceived oppression of privileged young white men, making them hockey’s favorite band for the 80th straight year.

The city supports the Major Junior Remparts at a higher clip than the rest of the teams in their Quebec league, but attendance has been lacking at the onetime home of Guy LaFleur in the last few years. Half point. Hair gets no points—even curling doesn’t want you. Canadians don’t keep obsessive click-bait on hand about their drunkest cities, so we’ll give QC a provisional half-point that could be revoked or upgraded to a full point at a future date.

Traditional poutine was invented just down the moose trail in Montreal and I’m led to believe there are many places to get poorly fried potatoes, gravy and cheese in Quebec City. An outdoor rink poured last August would have just melted last week in QC and will be re-poured and frozen in less than a month. Quebec could host a summer ice hockey league.

Cons: Godawful weather. People excel at making poutine when their bodies never, ever have to see the light of day. A lady pushing a toque up her forehead is considered pornography by French Canada’s version of Justice Potter Stewart. And you can forget about having shit else to do during hockey’s regular season—the weather is terrible, the city supports no other major sports and the sun sets at about 3 p.m.

Hockey Night in Canada is your Friday night, every week. Canada cares for its mentally impaired really, really well. Ryan Reynolds sunk two superhero franchises and remains the picture of mental health to this day. Nobody understands what the hell Quebecois are saying, so let’s guess that they can pronounce Russian names just fine.

Total: 2

Verdict: QC is pretty hockey


Pros: Rise Against in August. OAR in September. Overlooking the fact that turnt up white boys will be broke by hockey season, Seattle scores the rare 2-pointer for its music scene being conducive to dudes who are ready to see some teeth get knocked out. Man, I’m beginning to think almost nobody supports minor league hockey really well. Seattle has teams in the suburbs who do OK. Half point. One half point will also be awarded for hair. If she can dye it the new team’s colors (which will probably also be some inoffensive cool green/blue mashup, this being Seattle), the city may get a full point.

Seattle isn’t very drunk because the weed is just really excellent. You won’t find one non-artisanal poutine in Seattle. I’m almost tempted to dock the city a point for the vegetated bukkake it’s released onto its poutine, but we’ll let it slide for now.

Cons: Half-point deduction for shitty weather. Seattle weather is universally understood to be atrocious, but remember, hockey is a Canadian sport, and Canadians consider Vancouver to be their most pleasant locale, weather-wise. It’s like San Diego to those mapleheads. Seattle is little different from Vancouver, so while its weather sucks in totality, it’s slightly better in context. Seattle has football to follow during the early part of the season, and then nothing to do but try to get your kitchen remodel into Dwell until April, so it gets a half-point deduction for regular season activities.

Seattle is the suicide capital of the country and home to all sorts of environmental terrorists. I want to, but won’t, add a point for severe lack of mental health. This team is going to have a batshit following. Rich first-world cities seem to have a healthy dose of Russian mobsters, so I bet Seattleites will be able to pronounce Khokhlachev like Muscovites.

Total: 2

Verdict: Seattle is pretty hockey.



Pros: Seriously, Rise Against is so hockey that when they play Toronto this fall they should see if they can get Don Cherry (above, left) accepted into the mosh pit. TO’s current team, the Maple Leafs, were 5th in NHL attendance this year with fans paying an average price of $368.60 per ticket. Full point for hockey support. The city’s hair scene, as pictured above, doesn’t touch its sartorial tastes. I’ve participated in some epics drunks at the Loose Moose and along Yonge Street, so we’ll go full point for alcohol consumption. Cheap, unadorned poutine is a staple food on the shores of Lake Ontario, so add a point there and tack on another for the ability to maintain a frozen outdoor ice sheet during pretty much the whole school year.

Cons: Toronto actually makes shitty weather shittier by having all of Buffalo’s deathly cold with none of its lake effect snow. It’s like a giant, empty walk-in freezer. There’s already a hockey team in town to watch during this one’s regular season, but if you make the playoffs you’ll be competition-free, so just a half-point deduction there.

Total: 3.5

Verdict: Toronto is so hockey.