top of page

Top 6 cities that need an NHL team

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

It's unlikely that the NHL is going to be expanding again anytime soon, since the Seattle Kraken became the 32nd franchise to enter the league for the 2021-22 season. However, there is a chance that the Arizona Coyotes may need to find a new home outside of Arizona.

Here are the top 6 potential cities if the NHL decides to expand again, or if the Arizona Coyotes decide to move on from the desert completely.

6. Hamilton, Ontario

Due to its close proximity to the cities of Toronto and Buffalo, a team in Hamilton could work as there would be a strong rivalry between the three NHL teams. The Maple Leafs have been in discussion with the NHL in previous years about bringing another team to the city of Toronto, so a team in the nearby Hamilton would make more sense as it opens the door to roughly 760,000 potential fans in the Hamilton Metro area.

Hamilton has attempted multiple times to bring an NHL team to the city.

The Hamilton Bulldogs were an AHL team based in the city from 1996-2015, they served as the affiliate of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens.

5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wisconsin would be a fantastic rival to the nearby Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings.

The Metropolitan area for Milwaukee in 2021 was just over 1.4 million citizens, and they already have an MLB team, NBA team, an NFL team in nearby Green Bay, all that is missing is an NHL franchise.

Milwaukee is a traditional ice-hockey hub producing lots of NHL legends such as Joe Pavelski, Phil Kessel, Gary Suter and many more.

The Milwaukee Admirals are an AHL team based in the city, they are the affiliate to the Nashville Predators.

The Fiserv forum, already home of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, is ready to host NHL games.

4. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City had an NHL team briefly from 1974-1976, the Kansas City Scouts. The team suffered from low crowds, poor on ice performance and growing debt. The scouts relocated to Denver for 6 years before moving to New Jersey to become the Devils.

Kansas City has the biggest metro-population in Missouri with just over 2.3 million people, and the team would have a great rivalry with the St. Louis Blues that share the same state.

The T-Mobile Center is ready for an NHL team. The St. Louis Blues have played pre-season games there. The arena seats over 19,000 people currently and has been operating since 2007.

3. Houston, Texas

The Houston Aero's of the AHL and IHL played between 1994-2013 before relocating to the state of Iowa. The city of Houston is the largest city in North America to not have an NHL team, with a population just shy of 6.5 million people.

The Dallas Stars are a nearby mid-market team that would make a great rivalry to the Houston NHL team.

The Edmonton Oilers were mere hours away from moving to Houston in the 1990s, so the team has been close to becoming a reality before.

2. Portland, Oregon

Portland would be a fantastic option for an NHL relocation team for multiple reasons. The Portland Metropolitan area has a population of nearly 2.2 million citizens, which is definitely big enough to support an NHL team.

The Moda Center in Portland has a capacity comparable to that of the Montreal Canadiens, just shy of 22,000 which would make it the biggest arena in the NHL. This arena is already home of the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA and would be ready to host NHL games.

Nearby cities of Seattle and Vancouver are just a short drive from Portland, and they would form the Cascadia rivalry similar to that of the MLS (Major League Soccer) where the three clubs compete strongly with each other.

1. Quebec City, Quebec

The Quebec City Nordiques competed in the NHL from 1979 until 1995, when they moved to Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche.

The city is fairly small compared to some of the other markets on this list with a metropolitan area of just under 850,000 people. However, the demand for an NHL team is massive. The people of Quebec love hockey, and have been waiting a long time for a professional team to return to their city.

The Videotron Centre is a world renowned stadium built in 2015, and seats 18,000+ people. It is ready to host an NHL team.

There are upcoming discussions between the Quebec government and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in regards to a NHL franchise coming back to the city, so we will have to wait and see what happens.

The Nordiques would be a great rival to the Montreal Canadiens, who play only three hours across the province of Quebec.



bottom of page