There are currently NHL teams in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa. Quebec is feeling a little left out, and they’re not afraid to show it. According to the NY Times, roughly 1,100 die-hard Canadians from Quebec have chartered 22 buses to Long Island for Saturday Night’s New York Islanders-Atlanta Thrashers game. Are they hockey fans? Absolutely. But this is more of a business trip.
The Islanders and Thrashers are having serious attendance problems, and the Canadian fans are making an attempt to show NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that they could do better. Simply put, they want their own team.
Photo Credit: Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press
Vincent Cauchon, a radio sports show host and the organizer of the trip, said he chose the Nassau Coliseum because he and his crew noticed there was no one at the games when they watched the Islanders on TV. However, the goal is not to convince the NHL to move the Islanders. They respect the Islanders as one of the NHL’s most storied franchises and would rather the Thrashers be moved to Quebec.
“We have a lot of respect for the New York Islanders and what they accomplished in the past — the N.H.L. needs the Islanders,” Cauchon said. “But it would be great, awesome, if the Thrashers moved. Atlanta is a great sports city, but it’s not a hockey town. We’re not going to New York to tell the N.H.L. they didn’t do a good job going to Atlanta. We’re going there to tell them in Quebec it would work.”
Whether or not the movement works remains to be seen, but you have to respect the commitment. Not to mention, it’s probably not a bad idea. People in Canada love their hockey and the Thrashers are 28th in the NHL despite a winning record. Something’s got to give.