Bring on the St. Pats
Eric Duhatschek puts into words today something I've been hoping for ever since I moved to Toronto:
If anything, the presence of a second team in Toronto would only enhance the franchise — by adding one more natural geographic rival — and if they ever met in the playoffs, it would represent great drama, a Gardiner Expressway series between the downtown Leafs and the Mississauga-based newcomers.If there's one thing that I tangibly don't like the Maple Leafs ownership group for, it's their shortsightedness in not wanting a second NHL team in Southern Ontario.
Because let's face it: At a time when interest in the NHL remains lukewarm in so many cities south of the 49th parallel, the demand in five of the six Canadian cities (except Ottawa) is unprecedented. All those people living from Oshawa to Oakville and spilling out into Aurora and points south and west deserve a chance to buy an actual ticket to watch an actual NHL game — and most can't do it, because the demand is so high and the supply so limited.
Demand in cities like Vancouver is high, but at at least when I lived there or in Kamloops, I had a chance to buy tickets from the box office once or twice a year for a quasi-reasonable price. I attended Canucks playoff games from 2001 to 2003 for less than it would cost to see Toronto play Columbus in mid-January.
The cost of tickets in this city is unbelievable, with the face value of the cheapest lower-bowl seat running $180+ — and even then it's impossible to find a face value ticket for sale. Even, as Duhatschek notes, with two or three more teams here, that demand is still going to be there.
I'm willing to pay an awful lot for a chance to see NHL hockey live — and it's hard to believe that the option is not even available here.