Just hear us out.
Illustration by Moya Garrison-Msingwana
Canada had a great run with hockey. Invented the game, developed the game, but we're careening toward a quarter-century without a Canadian team winning a Stanley Cup and pretty much every franchise there stinks now, so it's time to pull the plug. And now they can't even send their best players to the Olympics. It's over. Here are the reasons why it's time to move on and where each Canadian franchise should relocate.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The only legitimately promising and special team in the land of socialism and moose, the city of Toronto doesn't deserve the Leafs. This is the organization that ran the beautiful Phil Kessel out of town and pinned all its problems on the future two-time Stanley Cup champion. The longer the Leafs stay in Toronto, the more likely it is the media creates a scandal about Auston Matthews staying out too late or William Nylander eating too much falafel or Morgan Rielly spelling his last name incorrectly all these years out of protest against Justin Trudeau. It says a lot about the nation that its best team doesn't have any defensemen.
There's no point in having only one good team in a country.
New location: New York
There are no good teams in the New York area! The Rangers are in shambles, John Tavares is probably counting down the days until he hits free agency and the Devils... no one cares about the Devils. Let's put the Leafs in the biggest market and allow Matthews to become the American star he can never be in Canada.
Look, ownership already wants to move, so fuck 'em. The citizens voted against the mayoral candidate propped up by the NHL that would've given ownership a sweetheart deal to stay, so clearly the people don't care if this team leaves, so get lost. This franchise spent nearly two decades wasting Jarome Iginla's best years so why make the people suffer through that with Johnny Gaudreau?
New location: Seattle
Warmer climate, two other sports teams in major leagues and legalized marijuana just a few blocks away from the arena. What better way to introduce a new team to a city in 2018-19 than having Jaromir Jagr (you're re-signing him, Calgary) doing local weed and coffee commercials?
Technically, this franchise died in Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins but nobody ever notified the family. Attendance isn't reaching Coyote-like levels yet, but a building filled at 92 percent (which is almost definitely a lie) is a sign the fans have moved on to... whatever else there is to do in Vancouver. There's a soccer team there, right? The Canucks had their chances with two star talents that were born seconds apart and screwed it up. Take this franchise to the vet and euthanize it already.
New location: Nowhere
Why would we subject a city to the rotting corpse of the Canucks? Let the Sedins play as long as they want but once they retire, we take the organization out back and give it the Old Yeller treatment.
If 92 percent when you're awful is embarrassing, what about a team that reached the conference finals last year and is winning again this year only to fill 79.2 percent of the building? The Sens have worse attendance than the Coyotes and Devils. The marketplace has spoken. You have built the first successful team in sports history that was even too boring for the fans.
New location: Honolulu
Why does Hawaii never come up in relocation talks? We're sending hockey teams to China and NFL teams to London but nobody ever mentions the paradise that is Hawaii? We've got a team in Las Vegas but Honolulu never comes up? It's a five-hour flight from Los Angeles so when teams make the trip to California, build in a couple extra days for the Hawaii trip. Players will go nuts for it.
Erik Karlsson has a surfer dude quality to him. He can become the real life version of the Waikiki Hockey sketch. Let's go!
Nobody wants to play hockey in Winnipeg. The fan support is there but let's face it—fans will support any form of regular entertainment no matter how bad it is, and the Jets prove that. Just replace the Jets with the Bear Olympics, where bears compete in things like running, eating, and ripping Leonardo DiCaprio from limb to limb.
New location: Quebec
New location: Las Vegas
The Golden Knights need a close, natural rival, so why not make Vegas a two-team town? Is this just a thinly veiled excuse to give me twice the chance of going to Vegas on a work trip during the hockey season? That's for me to know and you to find out (it totally is).
Marc Bergevin has poisoned the well. It's pointless to be a Canadiens fan because of his boneheaded moves. Montreal is a Predators town now anyway, so no point in letting the franchise limp along for two decades before sending it to a true hockey market, like Kansas City or Jacksonville. The people of Montreal don't deserve to be put through another PK Subban or Mikhail Sergachev trade.
New location: Helena
Moving the team to Montana is for the Habs' own good. This way, they won't feel compelled to get players that are from Montana because there are none. It's a one-language state so your coach and GM won't need to be bilingual. There's a better chance of the organization winning a title surrounded by cows and open spaces than in Montreal. It's best for everyone.
I'm not happy about this one, folks. After years of torture, the Oilers finally bungled into Connor McDavid and were on their way. Success for years was theirs. No one could stop them.
Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson. Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome. Reportedly turning down the Subban trade. Signing Milan Lucic. Signing Kris Russell. Overpaying Leon Draisaitl. At least when Chiarelli was destroying the Bruins from within he worked a Stanley Cup out of it first.
No one in Edmonton deserves to watch McDavid's career go the same way as the Sedins or Iginla—cut bait now and find a new hobby that won't rip your heart out or charge you big money to watch the game on a concourse TV.
New location: Boston
Chiarelli's punishment for screwing up the Bruins and Oilers should be having to answer for it on local Boston radio every day until he dies of old age. The only proper justice is having Southie And The Beans tearing him apart for four hours every morning on K-BOS, Boston's No. 4 sports radio station.
Presented by Canada Sports Betting