Ever since Winnipeg decided to build the MTS Centre to only hold just over 15,000 people, I have questioned whether they would ever get a NHL team back. Well it appears they will but the question remains, will it be sustainable in the smallest hockey arena in the league. The Boston Globe doesnâ€™t think so.
All of which is to say that Manitoba has the kind of open space and passing lanes that could turn even Dennis Wideman into a Norris Trophy candidate. If the NHL is going to land there again, the initial pop will be enthralling, intoxicating. Returning an NHL team to that bit of Canadian soil would be like bringing Paragon Park back to Hull. Initially, everyone and his cousin would rush to the rink.
Until the Lâ€™s piled up.
Until Winnipegers realized the sticker shock of $120 lower-bowl seats and $250 suite seats (extra for the handwarmers).
Until American TV interests made it clear that they would prefer to air senior womenâ€™s bocce tournaments out of Biloxi to anything happening in Winnipeg. Shortsighted, perhaps, but there is a reason TV is referred to as the small screen.
For all Winnipeg has to offer, in terms of city size and sheer love for everything connected to the vulcanized rubber and carbon stick industry, it remains a real stretch for big-time hockey.
As for stadium size, The MTS Centre (15,015) is smaller than Rexall Place (16,839) by over 1000 seats and is over 6000 seats smaller than many new arenas. Itâ€™s even smaller than the old Winnipeg Arena (although it does have luxury boxes and other revenue streams that it does not). There also is the question of corporate sponsorship. While Winnipeg is home to an impressive amount of crown corporations, is there the corporate money to keep paying for the boxes and paying top dollar for sponsorship money?
I think it is going to be tight. Winnipeg doesnâ€™t have the wealth that Edmonton does and even the Oilers have struggled at times to fill Rexall Place (which is still a great place to watch hockey â€“ not the Oilers but a good hockey team) and the Flames had a hard time filling the Saddledome this year. I am not talking about the 2011 season but in 2017, things could be a lot tougher than people want to think about. Oh well, they can always move to Kansas City. via