Study: Canada could support nine NHL teams

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A report by the Conference Board of Canada concludes that the country could support two additional NHL franchises – one in Quebec City, another in Hamilton.

The Conference Board, which describes itself as the “foremost independent, not-for-profit applied research organization in Canada,” broke its feasibility test into four categories:

Population – minimum 750,000 (which just so happens to be the approximate head count in both Quebec City and Hamilton)

Market wealth – i.e. people have to be able to afford NHL tickets.

Personal disposable income per capita in Winnipeg in 2010 was $29,500. This put Winnipeg in 14th place among Canada’s 27 largest census metropolitan areas—but still ahead of Vancouver and Montréal, both of which are home to NHL franchises. What about Québec City and Hamilton? Québec City was ranked 10th in 2010 and Hamilton was ranked 18th—one spot better than Montréal. Therefore, based on market wealth, Québec City and Hamilton are two potential sites for NHL franchises.

(Note: I’m not sure per capita income is the appropriate figure to use in this case, since it doesn’t take into account income inequality. What’s more, Vancouver might have a lower per capita disposable income than Winnipeg, but I guarantee it has more rich people. A better measure might be median income. And I should know, as I took an introductory statistics class in university.)

Corporate presence – Neither Quebec City or Hamilton rank highly in this category, but the board says that “corporations located across the province of Quebec would likely show interest in supporting an NHL franchise in the city” and Hamilton “has the huge benefit of being located near Toronto, where 286 large corporations have their head offices.”

A Level Playing Field – “The Canadian dollar has been at or around parity with the U.S. greenback since 2007,” notes the board. “This is in sharp contrast to 2002, when the Canadian dollar bottomed out at just under US$0.62.”

Related: Columnist: Quebec City should get first crack at Coyotes