I was watching CTV News at 6 pm last night as I usually do, and of course, at around 6:45, the avuncular sportscaster Lance Brown popped up to do his report. One of the features was about this proposed huge arena out north in Markham. The mayor of the growing city, Frank Scarpitti, and the other supporters behind the project just barely passed the gauntlet in the wee hours of the morning a few days ago, which means the consternation will continue about the financial feasibility of this project and the local popularity. One of the carrots on the stick where this arena is concerned is the attraction of an NHL franchise in the supposedly not-so-distant future.
Brown feels that it's just a matter of time before the NHL comes knocking. In his words, "....not tomorrow, but soon". And here I thought he was one of the more cynical local broadcasters, especially when it came to the fortunes of the Maple Leafs. Heck, I'm still not sure whether this arena is even gonna get built, and Brown thinks the Phoenix Coyotes or the Tampa Bay Lightning are gonna migrate upwards? I don't think so....I heard that there were a few more possible candidate cities before Markham even gets a first glance....namely, Quebec City. Personally, it would be nice to see the Nordiques-Canadiens rivalry again. Brown is right in that any team that would come up to Markham will most likely have to pay tribute money to the Leafs to encroach on their turf, but I think for that very reason among others, the GTA becoming a 2-team city is hard to imagine. I don't think it's impossible to see a second team here; I just don't agree with Lance's truncated timeline.
And it seems like the group trying to keep the Coyotes in Arizona has run into another financial snag. So, the team may be moving after this season, but it won't be anywhere by Toronto. I hope the players can learn French and love poutine..