The Big Question: Is travel really a big factor in the NHL?

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The Big Question will be a weekly feature on PHT where we ask a question, provide some background and ask you, the reader, to weigh in with your opinions.

Today’s question: Is travel really a big factor in the NHL?

One of the main reasons the Detroit Red Wings want to move to the Eastern Conference is to reduce travel. Henrik Zetterberg says long trips to the west are particularly tough during the playoffs. Thus, the club’s push for realignment at today’s NHL Board of Governors meetings at Pebble Beach.

Historically, it’s been Pacific Coast teams like the Canucks that have been the most vocal about excessive travel. Understandable, considering the closest NHL city to Vancouver is Calgary, a flight time of approximately 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers can take the bus to and from road games against the Islanders and Devils. It’s not a long drive to Philadelphia, either.

Clearly it’s an advantage to play in the east when it comes to travel, but is it a huge advantage? After all, it’s not like the Canucks are flying coach. Vancouver uses Air Canada Jetz, a luxury charter service that sells itself with lines like, “Arrive at your destination relaxed, renewed and ready to take on the day!”

According to the website, “Jetz charter planes are outfitted with over 64 Executive First class seats in total, and two tables per plane, along with a luxurious seat pitch of 48″. We are proud to offer comfort, convenience and high quality service to our discerning business and leisure clients, a luxury travel experience that far exceeds anyone’s expectations.”

Of course, a luxury charter can’t do anything about jetlag, which is one of the reasons the Canucks employ a “sleep expert.”

So…what do you think? Is travel a big factor in the NHL? Or does everyone just need to get a hold of themselves?