Will Nanaimo ever get a team?

Discussion in 'WHL' started by EXTRAS, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. EXTRAS Registered User

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    It's one of the bigger cities in BC. Outside of the greater vancouver area only Victoria and Kelowna are bigger. It has a population of 90k.

    It's bigger than a lot of cities in the WHL.

    Victoria has a whl team at the south end of the island, but the north of the island doesn't have a team. Seems like it would be a solid location.
     
  2. DudeWhereIsMakar Bergevin sent me an offer sheet

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    I see it being a viable option, they just got to have a new arena, which was in talks but fell through.

    But they should 100% have a WHL team in the future as I do believe they'll be well supported and a good place to stop before and after playing Victoria. Might even be good for Prince George if they do the Prince Rupert way by taking the ferry there to Port Hardy.

    But one that doesn't make sense to me is that Grande Prairie doesn't have a WHL team.
     
  3. MeHateHe Registered User

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    The ferry trip from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy is 16 hours just on the boat. It's another eight hours from Prince Rupert to Prince George and it's a healthy four hours from Nanaimo to Port Hardy. So, that's 28 hours (at least) as opposed to a 12-hour drive through the Interior followed by a 90-minute ferry ride across.
     
  4. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    You do realize that Grande Prairie is over 450 km away from their closest travel partners? And then a sizeable distance further away from the next several, all over some of the least maintained roads in the country? The league already has enough complaints about travel with its current outpost teams, Grande Prairie fits the ideal WHL market if it was 200-300 miles closer to civilization. GP is well down the WHL wish list.
     
  5. DudeWhereIsMakar Bergevin sent me an offer sheet

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    I am aware of how far it is, I head out there for business and once in a while have to fly down to Edmonton and do a five-hour drive, but I never had a problem with the roads considering they're twinned and it's typically an easy highway drive. But considering I've been there lots of times they have a very stable economy, that would support a team very well. Maybe unattractive from the distance, but before the ICE came to Winnipeg Brandon's closest rival was Regina which longer than Edmonton to Grande Prairie.

    I mean if Prince George has a team, why not Grande Prairie?
     
  6. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Grande Prairie does not have a lot to offer the league. It would be another small market outpost team, which they don't want for obvious reasons. Prince George metro population is significantly larger than Grande Prairie, they also give good support to both the WHL (since '94) and the BCHL (~1000 since '08). Grande Prairie is barely getting 1,000 for their AJHL team. Even if GP upgrades their arena and fills it, they'll still be in the bottom part of the league in attendance and have hands down the worst travel in the league. The league would much rather have their presence in a bigger market if they were to expand, which it looks like they won't. If anything, they'll relocate like they did in Cranbrook. They rightfully see that there is no need to expand and water down their product.
     
  7. Daximus Wow, what a terrific audience. Sponsor

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    Nanaimo seems like a good spot to go if PG ever has any issues. Right now I think the league might be a little to big as is so unlikely we ever see in expansion. WHL is already the bigger of the 3 league and the talent pool is noticeably small at the bottom end.
     
  8. DudeWhereIsMakar Bergevin sent me an offer sheet

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    They probably divide the WHL between Alberta and BC if there are too many teams.
     
  9. Daximus Wow, what a terrific audience. Sponsor

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    I don't think it makes to much sense to. Population wise we are right in line with Ontario. Though the reduced travel times would be nice. And adding an extra team to the MC would be interesting. More American teams could potentially bring in more Americans though not sure how many more teams could exist in the Northwest of the States.
     
  10. wetcoast Registered User

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    Agree with this (they don't have a viable WHL arena) on Nanamio and it's mid island not north island.

    It's close enough to the Comox valley from which it could draw on for a fan base as well and would serve as a good Friday/Saturday/Sunday stop for teams along with Victoria and the Vancouver (based in Langley) Giants.
     
  11. wetcoast Registered User

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    Talent pool size isn't a problem with the influx of American kids playing hockey as not all go the college route.
     
  12. Daximus Wow, what a terrific audience. Sponsor

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    Yeah but many of ours still are and the best Americans that we can draft like Matthews and pretty much anyone born in Minnesota are still going the College route. I'd say the vast majority of good American kids are going College now.

    The WHL is probably 2-4 teams to big right now.
     
  13. wetcoast Registered User

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    We will agree to disagree on that as they have been at 22 teams for over a decade now and we still see kids doing well from overseas and the states in the league.

    I think the quality of the league is better, say than perhaps the 70's when they had only 12 teams and most good players didn't even consider the US college route like they do now.
     
  14. Daximus Wow, what a terrific audience. Sponsor

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    Yeah I definitely disagree top overseas prospects are still primarily going OHL and QMJHL. WHL is full of 2nd rate Belarusian, Czech and Russian prospects. We get the odd high end kid here and there but they primarily go to the other two leagues.

    If the WHL got rid of even just two teams the overall quality of the league would increase heavily. That's 24 less forwards, 12 less defencemen and 4 less goalies just on a starting roster league wide. Everyone would get a solid boost in their bottom 6 and lower pairings.

    The point isn't that the WHL is better than it was in the 70's, the point is to try and bring it closer to the OHL in terms of overall quality. Not including their US territories the OHL pulls from a population of around 14.5 million just in Ontario. The WHL pulls from a population of about 11.9 million. Yet the OHL only has 20 teams and has a significant boost in terms of quality over the WHL.
     
  15. wetcoast Registered User

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    Sure can't really disagree with much of this but I'm a huge fan of having more places for kids to play rather than the WHL trying to compete with the OHL, the geographic differences in travel are always going to make the OHL the more desirable option for elite non Canadian kids.

    The WHL did fine this year in the NHL entry draft with 4 kids drafted before the first OHL guy.

    Mind you it was a down year for the OHL but I see an upswing in talent in the WHL frankly but like I said they are hampered a bit more than the OHL mainly due to travel with losing prospects to the US college route..
     
  16. Daximus Wow, what a terrific audience. Sponsor

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    Yeah it's tough on kids for sure especially younger kids. Though I do agree that we are seeing a spike in talent lately. I think the CSSHL is actually helping a bit in that regard. I'm as big proponent of top tier leagues producing top tier talent. Western Canada's Bantam and Midget leagues are all spread out all over the place. The only tihng I'm not a fan of is the insanely high cost of kids playing in those leagues but the on ice product beats pretty much every other league in this part of the country.
     
  17. McChucky TOPPEP

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    You need big corporate sponsorship. Most of the "small" cities had teams long before the money thing became an issue for teams.
     
  18. PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    As for Nanaimo, if trends keep up and $$ and attendance keeps falling, Frank Clare will be big enough in 5 years. There might be the matter of suites, of course...

    The WHL seemed a little more on game at the Memorial Cup when Edmonton and Portland were representing vice the recent fare of Brandon, Swift Current, and Prince Albert. It's not a surprise to me that the WHL steered teams to Victoria and Winnipeg. I would not be surprised if there's more of that. The theory: parents of the modern set (with, more often than not, an essential urban bias) have, well, urban bias.
     
  19. drivier Registered User

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    The issue with Nanaimo is likely only one related to ownership interest and arena concerns. It is the 35th largest population centre in Canada and all factors demonstrate the city warrants a team. It is an easy synergy with Victoria for weekend road trips.

    Excluding lower mainland cities because the Giants need the entire region to secure their fan base and given the Chilliwack experience... I can see other potential but unlikely expansion sites after Nanaimo in order as being:

    Salem or potentially Eugene, Oregon both roughly 1/3rd the size of Portland and 2 and 3.5 hours further south respectively (which makes Salem more attractive). Portland is starved for hockey and the Winterhawks appear well supported.

    Grande Prairie (52nd largest population centre) and Fort McMurray (47th largest) have problems clearly with distance and travel times unless you want to force teams on a seasonal hinterland excursion across northern Alberta to Prince George (some sarcasm there). I would also suggest that if the 4.5 hour drive time was plausible that adding Boise, Idaho (4.5 hours from Kenniwick) is a more appetizing move for the WHL than going north to GP or Fort Mac.

    One possible area for a team - Vernon (61st largest) and although relatively close to Kelowna, I think the market is sufficiently split between their BCHL Vipers and Rockets fans. Vernon wants its own identity. Would be fun if it took off to add to the Kelowna/Kamloops rivalry (self-interests at play).

    And, the only other population centres worth mentioning as possibilities are Lloydminster (roughly the same size and Moose Jaw at 84th largest) and potentially Okotoks (92) which unlike Airdrie continues to maintain its own identity and has weird sports allegiances that may end up drawing from say the Dawgs Baseball Club in winter months.

    The Kootenays appear to be a failure.

    I don't see any Manitoba teams being even a remote consideration. The next largest city to Brandon is Steinbach which only has a population of 16,000.
     
  20. tank44 Registered User

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    Re: BC Division. This is where any future expansion/relocation should be. Nanaimo and "Vancouver" should be at the top of the list. Nanaimo has the size and reach but no arena. Greater Vancouver should have 2 WHL teams: 1 in the Fraser Valley and 1 in the "city area" - Chilliwack/Abbotsford/Langley/Surrey and Pacific Coliseum/Richmond/Burnaby, both marketed and branded accordingly. As in another thread on why Seattle has 2 WHL teams in the metro and how it's working: opposite ends of metro, micro-locally advertised and invested. Vernon being smaller and 1 hr from both Kamloops and Kelowna does not make sense.

    Re: US Division. Oregon is more likely to lose Portland than add another team with the Oregon state legal battle with WHL on wages. Portland could just move to Vancouver WA but no arena there at present (last one was a grocery store and now converted to a church). Wenatchee in central Washington is most likely new team location with successful BCHL team, nice arena, and good location/dispersion from other teams.
     
  21. Daximus Wow, what a terrific audience. Sponsor

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    Regarding Boise, they already have an ECHL team which might make it tough for them to support both. If the ECHL agreed to move their team it could make for an interesting market.
     
  22. tank44 Registered User

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    NO. Boise is a 7 hours drive to Tri-Cities, its potentially closest team. Portland is over 10 hour drive.


    \/\/ Weird, I had those higher numbers (maybe traffic factored at that time?) and now getting the shorter numbers,... Still 4.5 hours at best to the closest team.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  23. drivier Registered User

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    Do you mean round trip? Is Google Direction broken for me (I get 4.5 and 6.5 hours one way). Or, do we just drive faster in Canada?
     
  24. DudeWhereIsMakar Bergevin sent me an offer sheet

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    I feel Boise could work if it wasn't so far away. I find that Billings and Missoula would be an interesting addition, but I think Boise is suited for AHL more than WHL which I believe happens in the far future.
     
  25. PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    Expansion? Really? Oh, dear.

    Not that I'm a fan of contraction, just that it is, right now, more likely than expansion. By multiples. Mind you, those multiples stem from 1% for contraction and something like 0.01% for expansion within about 10 years.

    The contraction I would anticipate would be somewhat involuntary... the class action suit favors the players, a post-settlement restructuring eliminates the US teams due to things in Canadian law that cannot be reconciled with American law. Of course, 1% chance in my book.

    Nanaimo, with the size of the market properly framed, is a candidate for a small market prairie team to move, provided the community ownership in certain markets gets unraveled and the arena issue is solved. None of these things are easy, naturally.
     

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