As the days pass and no decision has been reached on expansion we are left continuing to wonder what are the reasons for the holdup.
Last week there was a “special meeting” that took place to discuss the expansion process and sources indicated that the sticking point is more to do with the draft than the viability of the two candidates.
A new problem may have surfaced though and one that could be crippling to Quebec City’s bid.
The Canadian dollar, or the ‘loonie’, has already slipped below 70 cents on the U.S. dollar for the first time since 2003. Oil is at the heart of this problem, as a large part of Canada’s U.S. dollar income comes from energy industry exports, mostly crude oil. Almost always, when oil falls, the Canadian position against the dollar does the same. – Julianne Geiger, OilPrice.com
You can click through to that link to read more, but the basic premise is that as the Canadian loonie falls hockey takes a hit.
While it could be read as a reason for the league to hit the pause button completely on expansion, it could just as easily be interpreted as a reason for the NHL to continue growing its footprint in America to further themselves from the volatility of the loonie.
Las Vegas offers an opportunity for the league to build a city that’s currently a professional sports wasteland into a hockey hotbed. It’s a city that attracts money from all over the globe that could be going to the NHL rather than to Cirque du Soleil. And finally, Las Vegas would become the league’s 24th American franchise meaning the league would comprise of only 23% Canadian franchises.
More American franchises means more US Dollars being introduced, higher American TV ratings, and more hockey fans consuming the NHL in the United States.
Canada will always be important for the league in many ways, but the less the NHL has to rely on the Canadian dollar the better. Las Vegas offers it, unfortunately for Quebec, it does not.