Hamilton Back in NHL Mix

Sportsnet.ca — The same company that twice tried to bring the NHL to Hamilton, Ont., is now preparing a bid for the Pittsburgh Penguins with the intention of relocating the team.

It is the same company that was behind previously failed bids to bring both the financially-troubled Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators to town. Those deals fell apart when backers were found to keep the teams in place.

Now sources tell Sportsnet the group is going to put an offer in to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins once offers to move the team are considered at the end of next month.

Councillor Terry Whitehead has been trying to land an NHL team in Hamilton for the past decade and has dealt with HHC Acquisition for the past three years. And though he knows who is behind the company, he’s not revealing any identities.

“Let’s put it this way, they’re keeping their cards very close to their chest,” Whitehead explained. “Negotiations are always tough and expectations are built and collapsed so I think they’re being wise in being confidential about their approach.”

The main sticking point in bringing any team to Hamilton has been the issue of territorial infringement and the amount of money that both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres would be entitled to if the team is moved to Southern Ontario. No one has said yet how that issue would be handled. In 2003, the lawyer for HHC simply said that he had “a strategy in place” but would not expand any further.

But Whitehead said in terms of viability, the Toronto-Buffalo corridor can definitely handle another pro hockey team.

“Hamilton is sports central. The reality is that it is an NHL city. It’s unfortunate or may be fortunate that we have Toronto and Buffalo on our doorstep, and I believe that a third NHL team can be sustained in this area.”

Ultimately a final decision is up to the league, and Hamilton has been passed over twice before — in 1990 when franchises were awarded to Ottawa and Tampa Bay, and when the league expanded again in 1997.

“Their interest was expanding to the American market and it has been for a number of years,” Whitehead said. “Now with the settlement, the CBA, it certainly makes it more viable for a small market to survive in the NHL, the very competitive NHL league but there hasn’t been any discussion going forward that the NHL would ever entertain any expansion.

“I believe the only option we have is to pursue a team (that is) in the league now.”

Question: Like Pittsburgh?

Answer: Like Pittsburgh.

35 Responses to Hamilton Back in NHL Mix

  1. toronto77 says:

    Even though I live in the region of Hamilton, I wouldn’t chear for them, same problem with Ottawa. Before Ottawa came, Eastern Canada was mostly Toronto and Montreal fans, than when Ottawa came they were not able to steal fans from those teams. Hamilton will have a bigger issue only 40 minutes away from Toronto. It will be very difficult for Hamilton to steal Toronto and Buffalo fans, but having a hockey team in Hamilton will be fun.

    I hope Hamilton v.s Toronto will be a fun rivalry like Toronto v.s Montreal and not a brooh-ha-ha like Toronto v.s Ottawa or Montreal v.s Ottawa

    North East








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  2. toronto77 says:

    does anyone know, if they will be called the Hamilton Penguins.

    Man imagine living only 10 minutes away from Sidney Crosby and other NHL’ers…….I actually do hope the team gets moved to Hamilton.

  3. Aetherial says:

    never happen; not a chance.

  4. SabresFan220 says:

    Hamilton may be a great hockey town, but they should not get an NHL team. That area would become the only one in the NHL with 3 teams in relatively the same area, all drawing on the same crowd. Buffalo thrives off of Canadian fans who can’t get tickets in Toronto, so they’re Sabres fans for most of the season. Hamilton would certainly draw away from Sabres ticket sales because I’m sure there are Hamilton citizens buying Sabres tickets to watch hockey. While both Toronto and Buffalo would get some kind of compensation, I don’t see a Hamilton franchise hurting Toronto’s ticket sales much.

    The people of Hamilton have a pretty good situation going right now, they have 2 teams they can cheer for. When either one plays well it’s like they are the Hamilton team anyway. Move Pittsburgh to a different Canadian city (Winnepeg, Quebec) and the restructure the divisions if you need to. Definitely another Canadian team isn’t a bad idea for the league, I just don’t think Hamilton is the right place.

  5. werdo says:

    A fun rivalry? kind of oxymoronic isn’t it Barney

  6. bleedingblu says:

    Interesting…. The Hammer with an NHL team.

    I could see it now…… The Hamilton Hammerheads

  7. habsoverserver says:

    Upon hearing that the 2008 NHL finals could feature a battle between Hamilton and Winnipeg, 7 NBC sports execs were rushed to hospital with chest pains.

    Here is a link to the top 50 US media markets.


    Seattle, Portland, Hartford and KC are the likely cities that the NHL Board of Govs would approve.

    Hamilton would not create a single new NHL fan. I think Hartford makes the most sense.

  8. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    Hamilton???? HAHAHAHA!!!

    BTW I could see the team (if by soime miracle exists) Hamilton Steelheads.

  9. habsoverserver says:

    I think you’re being overly optimistic.

  10. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    Or Steelheads? I even designed a logo and uniform, but I’m not sure about the colours, they’re yellow and red.

  11. Radio says:

    Whatever. I’d be happy to have another Canadian team. Period.

  12. goalieman32 says:

    already a team with that name in the echl in idaho. affiliated with dallas.

  13. goalieman32 says:

    look more for seattle or kc. hartford had a chance at a team and portland has an ahl team. seattle and kc have junior hockey at most and therefore more probable to grow a new fan base. i think seattle would be best. it would be easier for the travel if the divisions are divied up correctly because it would move the stars out of the pacific division.

  14. navajo says:

    lol, I like that.

    I agree with the point of it not creating a new fan, but don’t you think its time to forget about down there and bring something back up here? I’m in Hamilton, but I’m not holding my breath. I’d much rather see the Nords back…same uniforms, same name…that would be sweet. Montreal vs Quebec. That would be sweet

  15. nyrules11 says:

    Hartford again wouldnt last. Conneticut is not a big market, and Conn. is divided between Bruin and Ranger fans. Going to be hard for a new franchise to compete with two of the bigger markets in the nation.

  16. EasternHockey says:

    Fat *****ing chance. Three teams in Ontario, where 75% of the hockey fans love the Leafs, and the other 25% are either Habs or Sens fans. Move the team to Quebec city, that would be amazingly awesome. Crosby already speaks French anyways.

  17. iginla012 says:

    Hamilton would be great, with the fanbase and all, but what about a second team in Toronto? A team in T.O that could win would be nice.

    But I think they should go to Winnipeg as they are the most deserving of it.

  18. robinson19 says:

    Good argument, very thoughtful

  19. robinson19 says:

    A ten mile section of New york and New Jersey overlap is host to three teams, so no, it wouldn’t be the first area to have three teams.

  20. robinson19 says:

    Did you remeber the old CTV show, terrible show, Power Play or something similar? It revolved around a fictional NHL Hamilton Franchise called- you guessed it- the Steelheads. One year that show was voted worst network show, not in Canada- in North America.

  21. Marky2Fresh says:

    I’d like to see the Maritimes get a NHL team. Some place like Halifax, which correct me if I’m wrong, is top 5 in terms of population of a Canadian city.

  22. JannettyTheRocker says:

    Ummmm, no. Halifax is NOT the 5th largest populated city in Canada. Here’s a list.

    1 Toronto ONT 5,202,300

    2 Montréal QUE 3,607,200

    3 Vancouver BC 2,173,100

    4 Ottawa ONT 1,145,500

    5 Calgary ALTA 1,037,100

    6 Edmonton ALTA 1,001,600

    7 Québec QUE 710,800

    8 Hamilton ONT 710,100

    9 Winnipeg MAN 702,400

    10 London ONT 459,600

    11 Kitchener ONT 450,000

    12 St. Catharines ONT 394,900

    13 Halifax NS 379,800

    14 Windsor ONT 330,900

    15 Victoria BC 330,200

    16 Oshawa ONT 329,000

    17 Saskatoon SASK 234,000

    18 Regina SASK 198,600

    19 St. John’s NFLD 179,900

    20 Sherbrooke QUE 162,300

    21 Sudbury ONT 161,100

    22 Abbotsford BC 157,600

    23 Kingston ONT 156,500

    24 Saguenay QUE 154,200

    Here’s the link I pulled this from :


    Judging by the population, Halifax is no where near big enough for an NHL team.

  23. d_only_Flames_Fan says:

    I’m not entirely sure they would consider moving a team simply because one of their players speaks the language.

  24. d_only_Flames_Fan says:

    And New Jersey sure is flourishing in that hockey friendly environment.

    Either way, I’m all for another Canadian team.

  25. Aetherial says:

    Why bother arguing. The reasons have been demonstrated many times over the years.

    I am also not going to form a coherent arguement why Paul Coffey is not going to come back and lead the NHL D-men in scoring this year.

  26. leafs_suck_sens_rule says:

    yeah, but that website is Danish

  27. leafs_suck_sens_rule says:

    Winnipeg Penguins





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  28. Marky2Fresh says:

    I was still way off, but here is a more realistic list

    Rank Municipality Population in 2001

    1 Toronto, Ontario 2,481,494

    2 Montreal, Quebec 1,583,590

    3 Calgary, Alberta 878,866

    4 Ottawa, Ontario 774,610

    5 Winnipeg, Manitoba 671,000

    6 Edmonton, Alberta 666,104

    7 Mississauga, Ontario 612,925

    8 Vancouver, British Columbia 545,671

    9 Quebec City, Quebec 507,986

    10 Hamilton, Ontario 490,268

    11 Halifax, Nova Scotia 359,111

    12 Longueuil, Quebec 348,091

    13 Surrey, British Columbia 347,825

    14 Laval, Quebec 343,005

    15 London, Ontario 336,539

    16 Brampton, Ontario 325,428

    17 Gatineau, Quebec 226,696

    18 Markham, Ontario 208,615

    19 Windsor, Ontario 208,402

    20 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 196,811

  29. Tomato_84 says:

    Why would they put another team in Toronto?

    The fan base is too loyal to the Leafs, and besides, if another team were to go to the GTA why not just do like the article..and put it in Hamilton. After all, its just a short drive or train ride away.

    I dont care…I just want another Canadian team

  30. leafs_suck_sens_rule says:

    you were right about ottawa’s population the first time

  31. habsoverserver says:

    With a new arena, Hartford would sell out corporate boxes.

  32. Maximus says:

    They will be in Pittsburgh….I am not 100% certain but 90% sure. If they move, it will not be done very easily. It is not like buying a car and moving it to another city.

  33. AHLoldie says:

    Nobody involved with the Penguins has any intentions of selling the team to anybody. This is nothing but a ploy to get the politicians in Pennsylvania moving on the slots licensing in order to build an arena. An arena WILL be built, but the Pens are pushing the timetable. Nobody in their right mind would move a team that was playing to 92% capacity with the worst team in the league, and had the league’s most improved attendance in the past year. Most of the talk about Hamilton and Kansas City, Winnipeg and other places is from a bunch of teen age morons who hang around this site and profess to know something about hockey. The Penguins will be in Pittsburgh for a long time. If you’re looking for a team to be moved, look at St. Louis. Look at some of the low attendance teams in the league.

  34. AHLoldie says:

    A thirty mile radius from Manhattan has almost as many people as all of Canada

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