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A Modest Proposal for "Expansion" Locations

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What's Old is New Again


Since announcing the two newest VHL expansion general managers, the media has been abuzz with different potential team locations and names. These have ranged from the reasonable (Milwaukee, Prague) to, well, whatever the hell the London Phils is supposed to be. But there’s one idea that I haven’t seen get much traction so far, and it’s one that I think is absolutely worth consideration.


It’s an idea with precedent in other North American-based sports leagues, for one. In the MLS, teams like Minnesota United and FC Cincinnati retained all of their old branding, and thus their old fan bases, when jumping from the minors to the majors. In baseball, the Los Angeles Angels were first in the minors’ Pacific Coast League before jumping to the MLB in the ‘60s. In football, many of the teams that joined the NFL from the AFL didn’t not change their branding; same with the NBA/ABA merger.


So, what makes hockey any different? If you can’t tell by now, the VHL shouldn’t be adopting teams in Amsterdam or Chicago or the moon at all. They should be promoting pre-existing VHLM franchises. And there’s two that I think make sense above any others.


:ott: Ottawa LynxIt’s been noted since @diamond_ace became a VHL GM that one of his qualifications for the job was as one of the most successful VHLM GMs in history, including three titles and three GMotY trophies. Fun fact, all of those came with one franchise: This very same Ottawa team, both in its previous incarnation as the Ice Dogs and in its current form as the Lynx. For fans in Ottawa, it allows them to not only see top-flight professional hockey (which is a distinct departure from, say, the Senators), but allows the team to enter the league with a general manager that a lot of the fanbase already knows and trusts.


If there’s a downside to Ottawa making the leap, it’s that it does make the VHL particularly Canada-heavy; there’s a reason that many of the suggestions have been largely U.S.-based. Still, it’s certainly a large enough market for that to matter slightly less, and if the VHL is largely located in Canada and northern U.S. states of Washington and New York, it makes travel sense. Plus, it gives another rival in the east with Toronto and New York to counter the western trio of Seattle, Calgary and Vancouver.


:osl: Minnesota Oslo StormReally, there are only four VHLM teams left at this point that have had a long enough legacy to be considered historic: Ottawa, Saskatoon (which isn’t large enough to hold a VHL team), Bern/Las Vegas, and the franchise that is now in Minnesota. Before the VHLM became entirely North America-centric, though, the Storm spent a long time holding down the fort in Oslo, where it won five total titles—including, selfishly, the S32 team that housed my first active player. It’s a natural fit for @Enorama's franchise in the reconstructed European conference.


That’s not to say that process of elimination is the best reason to promote the Storm, however. Again, it’s about the rule of 3’s: there are currently three franchises that are associated with central/eastern Europe (Riga, Davos, Moscow) and two that are based in Scandinavia (Helsinki, Malmo). Placing another team in Scandinavia – in the one Scandinavian country that is not yet represented in the VHL, to boot – would allow the VHL to consolidate another base of power and create more natural rivalries.


There would be some who wouldn’t be happy with this method, particularly those who like the speculation of new teams. However, I think there would still be some fun introductions – it would just be in the VHLM, where two excellent GMs in @Acydburn and @Rayzor_7 could build their own legacies from scratch in a way that bolsters the VHLM itself. Either way, I don’t think this will actually happen, but it’s what I’d be for, just because I really enjoy the legacy aspect of the VHL and like to lean into it.

Edited by CowboyinAmerica

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2 hours ago, diamond_ace said:

Pretty sure Davos is far enough west to be closer to the Scandy teams than the Eastern teams

Yeah I think geographically Moscow, Riga, and Helsinki are actually very natural rivals (especially given former Russian Empire/Soviet borders).


But we all know the one true rivalry is Riga vs Davos anyway.


Also bring back Bratislava, they always deserved to be in the VHL.

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Scandinavia deserves something north of Malmö if anything. Davos is for rich people skiing.

Malmö... booh.

Edited by Elmebeck

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23 minutes ago, Elmebeck said:,_South_Dakota

Mud Butte Donkeys was my not so serious press conference answer.

I'm assuming your European team was Fucking, Austria

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