Ever since I began watching hockey I have always wondered why Wisconsin does not have a team in the National Hockey League. Milwaukee plays host to the Milwaukee Admirals which play in the American Hockey League, but have you ever followed the AHL?
Name three Packers: Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, and Clay Matthews. Okay, now name three Brewers: Ryan Braun, Nyjer Morgan (or T-Plush if you follow him), and Carlos Gomez. Now, name three Bucks: Brandon Jennings… didn’t they trade some guy for another guy this year…? Umm…
I have read that Wisconsin does not have the market for a hockey team and with Chicago and Minneapolis so close, our market is made even smaller. But correct me if I am wrong, doesn’t Chicago and Minneapolis have a football, baseball and basketball team as well? They get away with it.
The Bucks may be terrible and not exactly “followed” but it hasn’t stopped them from conducting basketball operations in Wisconsin. Regardless of who watches the Bucks, the fact of the matter is enough people are watching them for them to be televised and funded.
Another excuse used is that with so much dedication to the Packers, Wisconsinites would commit themselves too much to football in the fall. But the problem with that is hockey is played virtually every day of the week, let alone the same time as Packer games. It would be uncommon to see an overlap.
So maybe Wisconsin doesn’t have a city as big as Los Angeles or Phoenix, but we do have the cold climate. When kids in Arizona and California were playing backyard football in the heart of winter, Wisconsin people found ice, grabbed their skates and dropped a puck.
The most southern birthplace on the Los Angeles Kings roster is center Trevor Lewis from Salt Lake City, Utah. The Kings even have a Wisconsin-born player in defenseman Davis Dreiske from Hudson.
The top five colleges (determined by number of championships) for hockey are: University of Michigan in first with nine, University of Denver and University of North Dakota tied for second with seven, University of Wisconsin in third with six, and a three-way tie for fifth with five.
If we have all of this tradition and culture surrounding hockey, what makes critics think it can’t be done? They add another excuse that the Bradley Center is a terrible venue for an NHL team, but again, the Bucks are getting away with it.
I have heard and talked to people about what their favorite NHL teams are and the most common results are as follows: “San Jose because Pavelski plays for them,” as well as “Nashville because Suter plays for them.” We are forced to follow players from Wisconsin because we don’t have a team.
The only legitimate argument I have heard is that Portland, Oregon, is ahead of us because they have a bigger market and are in need of another professional team. Valid, but does Florida need two teams? Do California and New York need three?
The distribution of teams could use an adjustment to the benefit of Oregon and Wisconsin. Owners are talking and Wisconsin may have a team within a few years. If not, revisit this article.