Two years in a row the Stanley Cup will be fought for by Pittsburgh and a “non-traditional market.” Like San Jose last season, Nashville won the West and made it to their first Cup final in franchise history. Analysts, like Pierre LeBrun believe the Golden Knights can learn from teams like the Predators and Sharks. If the empty seats in Ottawa didn’t blow up the whole anti-hockey in warm climate traditionalists, nothing will. Let’s face it purist punks, you didn’t see any empty playoff seats in Nashville and San Jose.
This year’s San Jose is Nashville. Another non-traditional market that has been run the right way. Just like the Sharks, always have been. Always had a loyal following. Good ownership. And here they are… you have model organizations from non-traditional markets in San Jose and Nashville that get to the final. –Pierre LeBrun, on TSN Hamilton 1150
LeBrun believes Vegas can become a successful franchise by designing themselves after the Sharks and Predators organizations. Sure neither team has secured a Stanley Cup of their own but both franchises are well-run and consistently competitive. San Jose has qualified for the postseason 19 times in 25 seasons, and Nashville has qualified 10 in 19 seasons.
Not only does Nashville prove that, but we had it last year with San Jose reaching the Cup final. And what a wonderful story it was for the Sharks. Finally get over the hump and get to the final after years and years of being a contender. People took for granted that the Sharks sell out all the time. Oh yeah, San Jose. Shark Tank. What’s so different about a team in the middle of San Jose, California having success when teams in Arizona and Carolina haven’t hadn’t had as much success the last ten years? The difference is stability in management. -LeBrun
Consistency keeps fans interested and loyal. Once Vegas builds that strong, faithful fanbase, it’ll be easier during periodic lean years. Another factor LeBrun mentioned a few times. Nashville and San Jose have strong ownership and a dedication the fans to win. Who does that sound like? It’s really that way across all the professional leagues, it starts with a strong owner.
Hopefully in Bill Foley, you get more of what San Jose has had forever. Honestly, how often do you name the owner of the Sharks when you’re taking hockey? What’s the lesson from that? There’s always been stability in San Jose. -LeBrun
The last lesson is on sharing a city with the NFL. The Titans have a firm hold in Nashville, but the Predators organization built a hockey culture. Their fanbase is rabid and excited for their first Cup run. They are loyal, loud, and love the game. That could be the Vegas fanbase if The Creator’s forecast is accurate.
There’s also lessons to learn from Nashville for Vegas. The lesson there is, Nashville when they got the Predators thought they had the market to themselves. Professionally. And then bang, out of left field, the Houston Oilers move to Tennessee. Now there’s a huge presence of the National Football League which when the Predators ownership first got to Nashville they didn’t think they had to deal with that. Well they’ve dealt it with brilliantly. They’ve been able to carve out their own presence. And they’ve been a success for many years. That’s part of the path for Vegas now that we know the Raiders are heading there. -LeBrun
Consistency, stability with ownership, and carving out their own presence. Pretty good lessons for the Golden Knights to take to heart.
On the other hand, it’s been a quarter of century and neither of these teams have held the Stanley Cup. What kind of lesson is that for The Creator? Who wants to wait twenty flipping years to make a Cup finals?
Loyal, shmoyal. We don’t need no stinking advice, we’ll have our first Cup in year six or seven. Right Bill?