Hockey in the South

One only has to look at the NHL's average attendance charts to see why those of us in traditional markets remain skeptical about hockey's future in the south.

Carolina dead last at 11,743. Nashville - challenging for the playoffs - at 12,506. Atlanta at 14,757, Florida at 15,543. All in the bottom half of the league officially.

And then you get into the fact that these teams - especially the Panthers - are notorious for inflating attendance figures.

As a comparison, the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL are averaging 7,330 for major junior hockey. This for players high school aged. It is concievable that Calgary, Ottawa (the OHL's 67s) and London (the OHL's Knights) all average more fans than a couple NHL team's legitimately average. Especially the Hurricanes.

With this in mind, it is becomming more and more clear to observers that the non traditional expansion movement has failed. People are remembering that the size of the city doesnt create the market size. It's the number of people willing to pay for the product. And this article suggests the pendulum is swinging back towards Canada:

So, dont be surprised if us Northerners are start acting more smug post-CBA if teams like Carolina and Florida pack up and leave markets where they were doomed to failure from the outset.