New-York-Skyline-mit-Freiheitsstatue

So you’ve made it to Unrestricted Free Agent status, Hockey Player X. Congratulations.

The neat part about this is that you just happen to be a really great player, and everyone wants you. You can literally choose to play for whichever team in the NHL. Who’s it gonna be? Where do you want to live?

***

Every player in the NHL, as with every person in all walks of life, has their personal reasons for making the life decisions they do. Some people choose to live in Hollywood, some in South Dakota. Some NHLers choose to live in New York City, others in Winnipeg (well…the latter is rare, but you get the point).

Often money and employment play a large part in where we choose to live, so let’s strip those away entirely. Let’s say you’re in your late 20s threatening 30, and you’re going to sign a deal for the next few seasons (any longer and we’re getting too hypothetical). Every team in the league is offering you the exact same dollar amount. Who cares what it is – just assume you’re going to be a fairly rich person, given that every team in the league wants you.

From a general standpoint over the next few years, what would be the most appealing team in the league to sign with, given the city and it’s weather, the team’s chances of winning the Cup (or of at least being a playoff team), the fans, the building, your teammates, just every general thing?

I’ll do my best to strip away personal biases. Certain ones like “I have family on Long Island” are easy to get rid of, but stuff like “I prefer the city of Boston to New Jersey” is going to be part of the process.

It’s the summer of 2013. What teams are the most appealing to unrestricted free agents?

***

“Grand Slam. Couldn’t Be Happier”

1. Boston Bruins

And your winnner is… wait, you already saw, didn’t you? Hm, maybe I should’ve done this in reverse order.

Anyway, from where I sit the Boston Bruins are, and will be, the most desirable team to be a part of over the next few seasons.

The pros of choosing Boston to me seem pretty endless. You’re pulling on the respected logo of a team who’s had success in recent years. You get to live in Boston, a wonderful city. Despite some serious house-cleaning in the off-season, there’s no doubt that the team is going to be competitive over the next few seasons. That’s not to say they’re going to win the Cup, but they’ll have as much of a chance as anyone. They have a good GM who takes winning seriously, and is always trying to improve his club. The team will spend to the cap. You have a great fan base. Your travel is nearly as good as it gets, in that clump on the east coast. You don’t have to like their owner to acknowledge that the Bruins are a rock-solid organization.

2. New York Rangers

The Rangers are a close runner-up. Granted, this one is very much personal preference – I love big cities, and the thought of being rich in a big city sounds amazing. Manhattan offers players the perfect mix of fame and privacy, given that there are a zillion Ranger fan, but you’re basically a low-level celebrity so you can still get out and enjoy the city without getting mobbed. Your travel is amazing, the team will spend to the cap and compete, you’ve got a rock in net and you’re part of an original six team, meaning you get perks like Winter Classics and TV coverage. I’m obviously not a Rangers fan, but I acknowledge that playing for them would be pretty top drawer.

3. Los Angeles Kings

If living in the concrete jungle isn’t your style, maybe the beach is. The way players live on the Kings is ridiculous, between Manhattan Beach, Huntington Beach, Hermosa Beach, Venice Beach, BEACH BEACH BEACH. The winter weather is some of the best in the league, and oh yeah, the team is effing excellent, and will continue to be. Another team that’ll spend, another GM who will pursue the big dogs and general success at all costs. There’s some real high-end talent on the club already, and as a player looking for a place to go for a few years, that’s a major draw. “Where do we play this week? San Jose, Anaheim, and Vancouver? Sure, sounds fun.”

4. Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago would be a near dream-come-true of a team to play for too. Couple of Stanley Cups in the past handful of years with a young core of stars that will compete year-in, year-out. One of the best cities in the league. An organization with great tradition and an awesome building that they pack with fans. Another quality GM set on winning with an owner willing to spend what he has to. And like the Rangers, you’re the type of well-known organization that’s never overlooked for the Winter Classic. Go Hawks.

5. Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh basically only sits this far down because I love the other cities so much, but there’s really not anything but great things to say about playing for the Pens in their current state. First and foremost, you get to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, which is a privilege in itself. You’ve got a great building, a competitive team, a savvy GM, a team that’ll spend, and great location. What more do you want, buddy?

6. Philadelphia Flyers

I was really torn on the order of Pitt and Philly, because I think Philadelphia is an awesome city – the Penguins only stay ahead with the Crosby bump. Say what you want about Paul Holmgren’s moves, there’s going to be a lot of talent in orange sweaters next season. I think they’re going to be a playoff team the next few seasons, and I know they have great location for travel and great fans. They’re on the “prestigious organization” list. I’d go there in a heartbeat.

“Great, This Is Gonna Be Awesome”

7. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs situation really comes down to personal preference, so it’s all about the individual. In my case, I’d love to play for the Leafs. If you play in Toronto you can be a schlub and get a stick deal. And if you’re on the Leafs, you’re famous in a big city. And being famous comes with perks, whether that means at restaurants or romantically. Toronto is a great place to live, and while the team may not be great – and oh boy, that might be an understatement – to me there are few better places to be a pro hockey player. They’re like the Yankees, minus all that burdensome success.

8. Vancouver Canucks

I’m a BC boy, so maaaybe my bias has seeped in a bit here, but I just think living in beautiful Vancouver on the ocean while playing for a competitive team sounds amazing. You know they’re going to do their level-best to load up for a few final runs at the Cup during the Sedin era, so you can expect to have some success. The fans are as passionate as they come outside of Toronto and Montreal, so again – you’re a pretty famous dude if you’re a Vancouver Canuck. I’m in.

9. Montreal Canadiens

Playing in Montreal would be undeniably wicked, with the only knock being that, y’know, I’m a unilingual English speaker, and that’s not ideal. But this clump of three Canadian cities provides the fame-factor, which some people find appealing. The Habs are poised to be pretty decent, they have great travel down the east coast, and they by all accounts play in one of the best barns in the league (thanks largely to the fans). Lotta history there too. I’d be a happy Montreal Canadien.

10. San Jose Sharks

It’s such a personal thing, so it’s tough to debate the “fame and scrutiny” versus “privacy and luxury” factor, so I thought it was fair to roll San Jose into this group too. If I were to get out of a smothering hockey market, living in California on a damn good hockey team would be pretty appealing too. There’s some real talent on the roster, so success-plus-lifestyle would equal some real happiness I believe.

11. Detroit Red Wings

There’s something about playing for a prestigious, classic organization that’s more appealing than, y’know, not. Ken Holland and Mike Babcock are among the smartest hockey minds in the league, and will never let that team be terrible. So you’re playing for a diehard passionate fanbase on a team that has a real chance of succeeding every year. I can work with that.

“Sure, This Will Do Just Fine”

12. Colorado Avalanche

I really, really like Denver. It’s a beautiful city in the winter. Combine that with getting to play with some of the best young talent in hockey, and the infusion of energy that’s come with that and Mr’s Sakic and Roy, and I’d be all good to give things a go in Colorado.

13. Minnesota Wild

Playing in the Twin Cities offers the good stuff right off the hop: a team willing to spend money to win, a great fanbase with a real desire for success (I think being a part of a great Wild team would be amazing, fan-wise). There’s some talent in place, and you get to play in a beautiful facility. On top of that, Minneapolis is a good city full of good people. I assume our own Daniel Wagner named his band “Minnesota Nice” for a reason. (Note: apparently “Minnesota Nice” means being a passive-aggressive a-hole, which kind of seems like being passive aggressive a-holes to people from Minnesota, ironically)

14. Dallas Stars

I like what’s going on Dallas. Everything screams “fresh start” and “trying to be competitive” there right now. New GM Jim Nill isn’t fooling around, adding Seguin, Peverly and Horcoff. The new uni’s are sharp. They hired a “name” coach in Lindy Ruff. I believe there’s no state income tax there, which is a bonus. I can see choosing Dallas as your destination as a UFA.

15. Washington Capitals

You get to play with Alexander Ovechkin. You get to play in a good building in front of great fans. You get to play for a team that will spend to the cap, and you get to play for a team with a nice location. I don’t think they’re winning the Cup or anything, but playing in DC sounds like a pretty good gig.

16. St. Louis Blues

The Blues have one crucial thing going for them: hope. They’ve got a bunch of talent on that roster (as evidenced by finishing with home ice in the West last season), and the core is young enough to believe they’ll be competitive over the next few years, especially if Tarasenko blossoms as it seems he can. The city in this case seems of relatively little consequence. Not awful by any stretch, not quite amazing.

17. Nashville Predators

I’ve yet to talk to a player who’s lived in Nashville that’s been like “Nashville? No, that place sucks.” Everyone seems to like living there. The team finds a way to be consistently competitive, and has some of the key reasons for that locked up for awhile. No taxes, good weather, country girls…sure, why not?

18. Edmonton Oilers

I’m catching some flack for having the Oil this high around the office, but winning is important to me, and I think Edmonton is one of those teams on the cusp of breaking out in a big way, especially given the promotion of Craig MacTavish to GM. It’s not everyday you get to play with like, 604 #1 draft picks or whatever they have. Their fans are all about the team. …Still, the city in the winter is arguably the most difficult to live in around the league, weather-wise. It’s not exactly a cultural hotbed either. I’m thinking hockey-heavy here.

19. Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim, California. I know, I’m surprised this team is so low too. It’s warm there! Here’s the thing: I’m not super-confident that this team has a ton of success in their immediate future (are they playoff team next year?), and while they’ve got some good fans, the place is hardly hockey obsessed. I wouldn’t hesitate to go play there or anything, I just can’t think of a ton of reasons outside of weather and like, Corey Perry to go play there. And he kinda seems like a dick.

20. Tampa Bay Lightning

All sunshine and no taxes, yep, I’ll go play there. I think Steve Yzerman is a hard worker who will do his best to make that team competitive too. That said, I’m not sold on them as true contender, and while the weather is nice, I guess I should just get this out there – Florida scares the s**t out of me. I couldn’t turn down the whole beach-plus-puck thing, but there’s not a ton beyond that. Playing with Stamkos, I ‘spose.

 

“…I Can Make This Work”

21. Carolina Hurricanes

A warmer winter climate and some true talent on the roster. Not really sure what else to give you here other than “…I can make this work.”

22. New York Islanders

Kills me to have them so low, but I’m trying to put aside biases. Trying. But Long Island is great, Brooklyn is cool, you’re in a brand new barn (minus points for the horseshoe effect), you’re right close to the city, your location is about as good as it gets for travel, there’s some good young talent on the team… but you just know that the team won’t spend to make you Cup competitive, as close as you may be. Even if Isles fans think their current team is good enough to win a Cup at some point, they just don’t spend enough year-to-year to guarantee consistent success.

23. Buffalo Sabres

The passionate hockey fans in Buffalo are more than enough to put them in this category, if not higher. And while it hasn’t translated into results yet, they clearly have an owner willing to shell out for success. I like their jerseys (am I reaching yet?), and think you’d get to be relatively well-known about town, so there’s some mini “fame” factor.

24. Florida Panthers

Oh, if only Florida didn’t frighten me so. I’m actually one of the folks who thinks Dale Tallon is a good GM, so I don’t think they’ll be awful forever, but in the short term future, things are fairly bleak. They have that awful “red zone” of vacant seats at home games, their jerseys are atrocious, but, y’know…no taxes and sunshine. Sooo, I guess I can work with that.

25. Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators have a chance to be a good hockey team in the near future. Other things I find attractive about playing there:

26. Phoenix Coyotes

Ah, Phoenix. It’s beautifully warm all winter, and you can live like a king for cheap. Nice barn, too.

But you’re on a budget team with poor fan attendance (unless it’s Detroit/Chicago/Canadian team, in which case well-attended games are away games) in a tough division. Still: there warm and cheap, baby.

27. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets are really, really trying. They’ve got a great new GM who’s making some good moves. If you were on a really good team in Ohio, I think you could be a part of a neat hockey community. Will they be contenders the next few years? Seriously unlikely, but who knows. It’s not that being in Columbus would be terrible, there’s just a lot of more appealing options to me. Nathan Horton on the other hand, well, it suits him just fine. Different strokes, etc, etc.

“What Are My KHL Options?”

28. Winnipeg Jets

The Peg scores hockey hotbed points galore and has a neat fan atmosphere. Those things are great. Beyond that…I think they’re going to be pretty bad next season, the winters are hell, and it’s a small Canadian city. Kinda low on reasons why anyone would choose there other than the adoration of a (comparatively) small group of people. No disrespect meant here, ‘Peg fans. Not your fault you don’t have the population of a major US city.

29. New Jersey Devils

Organizational stability issues, team looks like it’s going to be a non-playoff team, mid-level fan interest… It’d be tough to be more apathetic about an NHL organization and city. I guess I’ll give it “great location” points and some for an apparently good building. I ain’t goin’ there, is all.

30. Calgary Flames

Why on earth would I do this to myself over the next three years? Team isn’t going to win for awhile, the old building just flooded and wasn’t a palace to begin with, and it’s cold as s**t there in the winter. Nice city in the right season or whatever, but…why? Seriously, why would I choose Calgary?

Comments (194)

  1. this should be a 90s style internet quiz.

  2. Calgary isn’t actually that cold in the winter – not like Winnipeg, Ottawa or Edmonton. But yes the team will suck for a long time.

    • Calgary isn’t that cold in the winter? hahahahhahaha.

      • Rival: Calgary can actually get a lot warmer than Edmonton in the winter, even warmer than Minnesota (which might not be saying much I know). The Chinook they get brings in spring-like weather for stretches in the middle of winter.

  3. Edmonton is “…not exactly a cultural hotbed…”!! FFS… what an ignorant and uninformed comment! And you would know this because you’ve been to Edmonton how many times?

    • Ha, is this the part where you tell us all about the annual mullet festival and sweatpants fashion show?

    • LOL. You have the Art Museum and a great selection of Pho. Did I miss anything? Didn’t think so….

    • Edmonton is my hometown and I love my family there. But yeah it’s a tough tough place. Really freaking cold winters. Really small. Really far north thus long flights to everywhere. And culturally, it has of course artists because artists are everywhere, but the Fringe and the Folk Fests are summertime events and by then the NHL player has returned to his cabin in Muskoka.

      • Or, ya know, the theatre scene in Edmonton, which is great, the music scene, which is great, the cultural diversity of the city, the awesome walkability if you are smart and don’t buy in a suburb that would be considered it’s own town in any other country (if you live in Ellerslie, you hardly live in Edmonton.)

        • He’s not trying to say that Edmonton is a bad place, he’s just trying to show the perspective/thought process of a hockey player who is a UFA. So the perception is that Edmonton doesn’t have a whole lot going for it compared to some of the glitzier NHL destinations. Doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true, but that’s the perception.

          And can you really say that EDM is as vibrant culturally (ethnic makeup, events, activities) as a place like Toronto or New York or Vancouver or Boston or Montreal or Philly?

    • No offense, although its hard to say this without being offensive, but I have never heard anyone who wasnt from Edmonton say they liked the town or would go back. There’s a reason its nickname is deadmenton… and its comical to think Edm can culturally match Tor/ Mtl. Every town has a festival here and there, doesnt mean you’re cultural when compared to the bigger cities.

  4. Phoenix is lower then Buffalo? I respectfully disagree

  5. This list is bunk because the main consideration for most UFAs is going to be tax treatment of their earnings. Florida and Tampa Bay will always be considered marquee destinations for that reason, and certainly better than Edmonton.

    • And by Edmonton, I mean Montreal

    • …and yet, when was the last time a Florida team landed a big free agent?

      • They’ve landed a ton of decent free agents in the past few years. They would’ve had a good roster last year if it weren’t for half the team being injured. When you’re thinking of a “big ticket free agent”, you have to ask yourself if maybe the organization wants to pursue one or not. Plenty franchises don’t have a Malkin or Ovechkin.

        • They’ve signed players, yes. Are those players guys that were highly sought after? Mostly they’ve been 3rd line plugs. I’m not trying to put down Florida, I would think that just the location and climate would be a big draw, especially with tax incentives added…but I’m just not seeing that translate into meaningful signings.

    • Yeah ok, you’re right, they love playing 2000-5000 miles away from home in front of a crowd it took free hotdogs to reach the revenue sharing floor of 85%..

      child please!

  6. Two points, Calgary is nowhere near as cold in the winter as a number of cities on that list (Edmonton, Winnipeg, Minneapolis for sure, even Detroit, Toronto, Buffalo and Ottawa could be in the mix), and it has become a pretty great city in a number of ways, but it does have it’s downsides.

    Second point, Nashville girls. Yes. Where do I sign?

    • I wanted to criticize this, but apparently Calgary only gets 49″ of snow per year on average (still more than Detroit’s 39, but nothing crazy.)

      I’ll be damned.

    • Chicago is Winnipeg with wind tunnels. Place is awful come winter.

      • Pansy.

        Winnipeg is way, WAY colder.
        Boston gets more snow and is windier than Chicago.

        • Way colder? Have you ever even been to Winnipeg? It’s not minus 30 every day during winter. We even get above zero sometimes. But it’s not as cold as others make it out to be. Dress to the conditions and you’re fine. If you can’t handle the slight cold, then we don’t want you here anyways.

          • Never been to either but its immaterial. Average temperature in January for Winnipeg (9/-9) is 20+ degrees lower than that of Chicago (31/18)

  7. Depends on whether I’d have a family in tow. If I were single, I’d be all over the big city teams or beautiful beach weather. With a family, I’d look at a place that I could set down some roots and not worry about being traded all the time (Philly).

    Either way, I’d avoid the teams that don’t spend money and are sitting in purgatory more often than not.

    • Yeah, because those players that sign long term contracts with Philly tend to stick around…

    • This exactly. I can understand the young single players being attracted to NY or LA, but guys with families have different priorities (including where their wives are from).
      I would also factor in where the player grew up and who he rooted for as a kid. A kid who spent his formative years dreaming of wearing a Leaf or Wings sweater might just want to come ‘home’, potentially giving the Canadian cities and the several American hockey hotbeds like Detroit, Boston, and Minnesota a leg up- we saw that last year with the Wild signing of Suter and Parise.

  8. On Winnepeg: latest census numbers place it above Detroit in population, and only slightly below Columbus, Edmonton, Ottawa (if you don’t include Gatineau, and really, who would), and other cities around that size. It’s bigger than Raleigh, Anaheim (possibly a bad comparison, given the rest of the larger urban area around Anaheim itself), Sunrise (Florida) by a lot, and is actually the 8th largest Canadian city.

    Point is, it’s not a shit hole because it’s small. It’s a shit hole because it is brutally cold and only crazy people would willingly live there. I’m not sure the “crazy people” demographic is good for a fan base, long term.

    • City/Metro population numbers per wiki.

      Winnipeg: 664K/730K
      Detroit: 701K/4392K
      Columbus: 787K/1858K
      Ottawa: 883K/1236K
      Edmonton: 812K/1160K

      Yea, real comparable. Looking at only the city and ignoring the metro area is just plain foolish. Winnipeg is a decent-sized city with NOTHING around it while all the other cities have considerable population areas in the suburbs.

      • Especially as none of the players live in Detroit proper (that I know of). They’re all out in the burbs like Ann Abour, which have some of the most expensive real estate on the continent.

        Winnipeg’s about the size of a decent-size suburb for most NHL cities. The only exceptions are, well… Ottawa and Edmonton.

      • And wasn’t there some story kicking around back when the Thrashers first moved about Winnipeg not having much in the way of nice condos etc? And that’s why Ladd was living at Toews’s place during the season.

      • You’re missing the point, which is that it is a cold shit hole that only crazy people would willingly live in.

        And yes, if you go by Metropolitan area, it has the smallest available fan base. There are a few other teams that aren’t that far off (although I suppose ~400,000 population may not constitute a small discrepancy). Mostly it was an excuse to remind everyone that people who live in Winnepeg are nuts.

        • we’re a little off, yeah.

          and it’s Winnipeg, not Winnepeg.

        • I have been there in January and I really liked the local indie music scene, extremely vibrant. Walking around outside is a bad idea, though…you are filled with ennui and despair and then you freeze to death.

      • Otttawa is not a Toronto or Montreal but there is plenty those saying there is nothing to do thats 100% false.

    • Very few people actually live in the city of Detroit. There has been an astronomical migration from the city itself to the suburbs in the last 30 or so years.

    • Sunrise is a suburb of Ft Lauderdale and is only like a half hour drive from Miami. Neither city is a hotbed of hockey fandom, but Broward (1.8mil) and Miami-dade (2.5mil) counties have pretty decent populations. Even if the metro populations (Miami 408K) are much lower.

    • So you’re saying that I’m crazy because I live here?? HAHA!!! You couldn’t handle it here!!!!!! Hey, at least we aren’t bankrupt like Detroit! I’d live here than any city in the states ANY day!

  9. 30th? Calgary was ranked #7 for Quality of Life in the world, and has ranked high for quite some time. The only other NHL city that is ranked higher is Edmonton. Might want to do some actual research before writing an article like this when you are also taking into account the “city” and not just the nhl organization…

    http://www.numbeo.com/quality-of-life/rankings.jsp

    • Tells you JUST how bad the organization is that an otherwise good city would come in dead last. Add in the damaged arena and it’s a no-brainer. Could be the best city in the world and it would be dead last given the current state of the team and arena.

    • Once again: Calgary’s not a bad city. But the team’s awful and the arena just got pretty much wrecked by a flood.

      The only consolation is that the road trips in that division are all to warmer cities, with the exception of Edmonton. But you’re in the worst organizational situation in the NHL, BY FAR.

    • The factors on the list with EDM and CGY that high include two expense-based items (purchasing power and CPI) which would basically be of zero importance to a millionaire and would really only be marginally different between NHL cities.

      Health care is also a factor which would actually make a difference to an NHLer.

      I could go on. There are only 100 cities on that list. It means nothing.

      • Does health care matter that much to the players? I mean, these NHL teams will probably pay whatever specialist you want in order to protect their investment…

    • Don’t be so naive.

      You think NHL millionaires care about those qualifying categories in that list? Health care? They have team doctors. Price of homes vs income? Purchasing power??

      Try quality of team, and organizational strength. Chance to compete for the cup. And for their spouses and families, Weather, activities, shopping, etc.

  10. I knew as a Flames fan this was going to hurt when I clicked on it. But it still cuts me deep Bourne, real deep.

  11. I see the city was the number 1 factor in this ranking. In that case, a single 25 year old player wouldn’t rank the cities the same as a 33 year old veteran with a wife and 3 kids. For example, for Jeff Carter Columbus was like playing in Guantanamo. On the other hand, a player like Pascal Dupuis would choose Pittsburgh over New York any day of the week.

  12. Did not see Boston coming in at the top… figured it would be around 8th or so with more of the Canadian cities ahead of it.

  13. Mid-level fan interest in New Jersey? What a slap in the face Bourne. You mention attendance problems in Phoenix and Florida but to flat-out say that Devils fans just aren’t interested in hockey is a huge mistake and makes you seem ignorant of the increase in attendance and fan participation we’ve had at the Rock over the past few seasons.

    I don’t care that you think Newark is a crappy place to play, even if it’s a nicer arena than Brooklyn and just as close to Manhattan. I don’t care that you think the Devils won’t make the playoffs and that makes them an undesirable team to play for.

    But this isn’t Phoenix. This isn’t Florida. We were 20th (17,114) in the NHL in average home game attendance last season, up from 24th (15,396) in the previous season. Even by percentages NJ was 21st this season (97.1%) ahead of “just fine” places to play like Colorado (85.8%), Washington (95.8%) and St. Louis (90.1%).

    Find a new reason to take a dump on Devils fans please.

    • Have fun with your god awful team and bankrupt owner!

    • Doesn’t matter, he wont even come to NJ. It’s the same line Melrose used years ago on ESPN that made a fuss. Stuff about Newark being dangerous and all, which it’s not, particularly around the rink.

      Besides, it’s not like an NHL player is going to live -in- Newark. You drive a couple miles outside of town, you buy the house next to Tony Soprano, and you live in relative peace and quiet. The team missed the playoffs this year, sure, but historically we’ve been a perennial playoff team with one of the longer tenured and well respected GMs in the league. Typically, players get discovered by NJ, win a cup, then fly the coop to more “diserable” locations, only to fall apart. I’m looking at you, Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Scott Niedermayer, on and on and on…

      • 2 time all star, stanley cup, conn smythe and olympic gold. Yeah Scott Niedermayer really fell apart after leaving New Jersey…

    • Great post and as a life long jersey native (Ranger fan for bias sake) I have to say I completely agree with where the Devils rank on this list. The attendance may have risen since making the ECF but the building lacks any energy that players thrive on playing in front of home town crowds and the ownership situation is a mess

      • I don’t disagree with his ranking of the Devils, but take offense to his insults at our fans.

        • As a devils fan it pains me to say it but his calling devs fans mid-level interest seems fairly accurate according to their 20th ranking in attendance

          • There are a lot of teams within a 90 mile radius of Jersey. Lots of competition for a team that came late to the area…

        • I think the reasons listed for NJ being in the “worst” group aren’t the best. You’ve got a team that sold out most of their games last year, relatively new building, among the shortest travel of any team in the league. The big reason not to go to Jersey would be taxes, which are among the highest in the states. Clearly, the players don’t live in Newark, so maybe commuting is an issue? I get that there are potential ownership problems, but given that they are probably the 2nd most successful team in the league over the last 25 years and are only a year removed from the finals, I don’t think they’re in the worst grouping. Plus, if you had any doubts, Lou would like to have you try some of his koolaid.

      • See, but that’s very subjective. I think Madison Square Garden sounds like a mausoleum most nights. When your fans aren’t not cheering, you’re booing the power play. Dreadful group of suits that go into your building, constant chatter in the background of mergers and stock options.

        It’s all subjective. If I wrote this article, Rangers would be in 9th. But I didn’t. Someone else did, and we see where the author’s subjectivity brought him to.

      • Lots of energy in the air canada centre… too bad the waste all of it booing phaneuf, eh?

      • Incorrect. Now, if you’d said that about the Meadowlands, ok. But the Rock? It was as lively as any night at the Garden this past year.

      • Colin, your comment reeks of ignorance. The Devils sold out every playoff game in 2012, something that rarely happened during the Cup runs in the early 00s. In the ECF, barely any Ranger fans could even get a ticket, and might as well have not even been at the game. The Prudential Center was so loud, that the Hen-rik chants easily rivaled the Marty chants at the Garden. The Devils fan base has grown considerably over the past 25 years, and will continue to do so, considering the countless success the organization achieves.

        As for the article, “organizational stability issues?” The Devils have only made the playoffs 15 out of the last 17 seasons, were the 3rd best possession team in the league last year behind Chicago and L.A, and were in the Stanley Cup Finals 2 seasons ago. I can’t believe I clicked on this article and gave this writer a hit.

  14. wow, you’re a dumbfuck. To have NJ lower than NYI, Phoenix, and NYR. Sounds like you’re a bitter Devils hater nursing a long cup drought. Wonder what dirtbag franchise you follow hmmm?

    • Yea, cause every player looked forward to playing for a franchise whose ownership is barely holding off bankruptcy proceedings…

    • There is absolutely no reason why the Devils should be below the Rangers. None. I can’t think of a single metric where they come out ahead, other than the fact that they’ve had more playoff success in the past.

      But they’ve lost their two best forwards in the past two years, the Arena’s okay but located in the US version of the Green Zone, the owners aren’t spending, and they’re not set up for the future.

      The Isles are a young playoff team in a brand new arena that are trending upwards. The Coyotes have one of the best living situations in the NHL even if the team stinks (and what’s your worst-case? You move to Seattle. Oh, darn.)

      • They were $3m below the cap a few days ago until Kovalchuk retired, and they’re targeting two or three more players. Explain to me how they’re “not spending”…

  15. These opinions are different than my own!

  16. As others have noted, taxes in Texas/Florida would play a big role in a lot of players, Yes, Montreal is fun, cool, and has lots of history, but is that worth the extra 40% in taxes I’ll pay?

    Also a knock on Boston: You’re playing for one of the biggest dickhead owners in the league. Jacobs was a driving force behind the lockout, something I would keep in mind when I saw that letterhead in my inbox (ya know, if I was top-level UFA).

  17. Edmonton’s devoid of culture? Is that why we have the International Fringe Theatre Festival, the second largest theatre festival in the world after Glasgow’s, a huge number of other events like Heritage Days, and one of the most vibrant and visible ethnically- and culturally-diverse populations in North America?

    At the very, very least we have a lot of people passionate about our city, and it shows with our overwhelming volunteer rates.

    • You left out the “All Things Denim” festival, the “Counting to 10 Without Your Hands” education summit and the always compelling “86 Camaro vs 86 Mustang” showdown

      • Edmonton, like Winnipeg, has a significant aboriginal cultural presence. Unsurprisingly, it’s the kind of thing easily ignored or marginalized by middle class white easterners.

      • @RC Seriously dude, I’d like to know where you get your knowledge, or poor sense of humor. Where do you live, the cultural hotbed of Timmins?

        • My knowledge comes directly from the good people of Edmonton!!! How are Klondike Days treating you? And the mall, has the rollercoaster clown off it’s rails lately? That’s always a white knuckle ride.

    • Jordan, I am not sure if you are delusional or just trolling. Edmonton is a shithole.

  18. Maybe a slight bump for Florida with Barkov & Huberdeau? Since you bumped St. Louis because of Tarasenko? I personally think Huberdeau will be better than Tarasenko…

    Otherwise, interesting read. I would obviously weigh things differently, but that’s based on personal biases. You seemed to do a good job trying to factor in biases.

    • Florida has among the best prospects up and coming in the league. I do wonder though, we’re talking about signing with a team for the next few years, so will Florida be ready for a run by then? For the record, I think that Huberdeau is going to turn out better than Tarasenko too, but St. Louis has better players in place now than Florida does.

  19. Pretty interesting, and as a WInnipeger I have to say thank-you for the generous ranking. ;)

    At the risk of treating this fun mid-summer column as a serious academic report I think your list is a bit flawed though, I honestly believe a LOT of NHL players dislike the media fishbowl of some markets (read: all of Canada, a few others) more than fans or the media realizes.

    And really if you wanted an accurate list you could hit up Wikipedia, make a table of all the sites and just sort by descending total income tax hit, then adjust the rankings up or down a bit based on average winter temperature. But what would be fun in that?

  20. I’ve lived in Manhattan for a decade now. Where are the “zillions” of Rangers fans?

    Yeah they sell-out. It’s MSG, and the entire lower bowl is suits getting comp tixs from their jobs.

    They barely got any press when they were in the ECF! Against the “cross-river rivals”!

    Anonymity is one thing, but zillions of fans? Not even close.

    • Agree… I work in the city. More Mets hats during the MLB offseason than Rangers jerseys or hats on a game day. That says nothing about their attendance, but they are not some legendary group of 4 million Rangers fans living in New York. They’re more sprinkled throughout Long Island, Rockland, and some in Jersey. The average person in New York does not know much or care about the Rangers.

    • The ‘zillions’ of Rangers fans actually live in Connecticut, New Jersey and upstate New York.

  21. Great idea for a blog post. Terrible execution. Why not poll your office to get a better idea of what most people want? It would limit your personal biases quite a bit. Islanders ahead of Senators? Coyotes ahead of Devils?

    • “Slapped by an overwhelming city hall vote against his plans to build a casino at his Kanata hockey arena, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said he won’t be able to invest any more deeply in the team or in the city.”

      Both are budgeted franchises with good young talent but on is just outside NYC, the other is in a cold-climate city.

      • That was a “blowing off steam” remark after being denied a 3rd revenue stream. Over the last 3 seasons the Senators have spent 12 million more than the Islanders PER YEAR. The Sens have shown a willingness to spend near the cap; whereas, the Isles are using Yashin and Thomas to get above the cap floor.

        Even if they did spend at similar levels, the Senators are better set for the future with Anderson in net than the Islanders are with Nabokov.

    • The Sens play in an average arena in the middle of nowhere in a cold-weather city with an owner that’s cutting back on expenses. That’s not a great situation, especially when it’s a city where Celsius dips below Fahrenheit during hockey season,

  22. Obviously I’m a homer for the Devils… but 29th? Give me a break. You praise New York City in your 2nd ranked Rangers. The Devils play 13 miles by car from Madison Square Garden. Devils players live in some of the most affluent suburbs in the entire country. It’s an hour drive to the Jersey Shore, two hours to Atlantic City, and have you ever heard of Hoboken or Downtown Jersey City? That’s where the younger players live and they are great areas. Hell you can see the Manhattan skyline while you’re going up the escalators in Prudential Center which is one of the best buildings in the league. You mention stability issues? The organization is in a transition of ownership. Almost every franchise is going through it. It hasn’t stopped the Devils from paying their coaches more than most teams AND spending up to the cap. You rate the Islanders ahead by 7 spots. The Islanders are moving to Brooklyn which has more Ranger fans AND Devil fans than Islander fans. Sure they are playing in a new building… one that is set up for basketball. The hanging scoreboard is not even in the neutral zone and thousands of seats are looking the wrong way! I’m not trying to say that NJD should be in the top 10, but if you’re complaining about organizational issues…. ranking the Phoenix Coyotes ahead of NJD kills your argument.

    • If anything, “location location location” works more in favor for New Jersey than most other teams he mentioned. It’s a pretty widely known fact that upper Bergen County, the top 3 richest county in America, with its 5 minute commute into New York City, is the place to be for athletes and celebrities in the area. That’s more or less the draw of being a Giants or Jets player, and Devils fall into that category too as a team that plays in Jersey. That should push the desirability up at least 10 spots; the athletes talk amongst themselves and it’s a known fact that the neighborhoods, schools, and believe it or not, proximity to the airport, have been a major draw for UFAs in the past and present.

      • Five minute commute to New York city. Commuting anywhere in or around New York city never takes five minute. I get what your saying, thou. It is nice out there, doesn’t feel like your in a metropolitan, but can easily access New York City, at night, or early morning… but don’t try leaving Manhatten at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon.

        • haha Agree with that… Although I’ll add, on a weekend or non-rush hour time of the day, it can take 5-10 minutes to get into Manhattan from some of those rich neighborhoods like Englewood/Alpine/Tenafly right near the George Washington Bridge.

    • Yeah a couple things I didn’t get in this list, and Jersey was one of them. They’re set in goal and therefore will be a playoff threat for the foreseeable future. They have the most experienced GM in the show. You could conceivably live in NYC if you wanted to while playing in Newark.

      Frankly, who here right now is taking Philly over the Devils? And Philly is in tier 1 on this list somehow.

      • Philly’s got Giroux, Schenn, Simmonds, and Voracek. That’s more young forward talent than the Devils will have in the next five years, and they have an owner willing to spend money to fix his dumb GM’s mistakes.

        • They also have Mason and Emery as their goalies. They can have all the forwards they want but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they have terrible defense and mediocre goaltending at best.

        • How’s their defense?

          Remind me, how does that saying go? “________ wins championships.” How have the Flyers done in the playoffs in recent years?

        • Yeah, the owner who keeps hiring former players who have zero clue how to run a franchise to be his GMs isn’t to blame. If that’s true, wouldn’t Homer be out on his ass after the Bryzgalov fiasco?

        • Oh, and the forward you named that I would even remotely consider a great talent is Giroux. The rest aren’t anything to make a GM salivate over.

  23. I’d argue that Buffalo’s awfulness is dumbed down a bit because of proximity to T.O (i’ve seen Sabres at bars in T.O during the season), and that Florida and Phoenix are far more attractive than you make them out to be. I know a couple guys who were drafted, and when I made fun of the Panthers they both told me they would love to play down there based on the weather and Miami nightlife. Even if nobody knows who you are, you’d still be a rich person on South Beach. That alone pretty much guarantees you more than the average man could ever dream.

  24. “Other things I find attractive about playing there:”

    SHWARMA! LOTS AND LOTS OF SHWARMA!

  25. Winnipeg is larger (population wise) then a number of cities above it (Detroit, Sunrise, Carolina, just to name a few) and is the same temperature as Minneapolis most of the year. Don’t really agree with your assessment, but I’m probably biased because I live here.

    • Already been addressed. Apparently, they don’t teach the term “metropolitan” in Winnipeg classrooms. Winnipeg is the smallest market in the NHL. Period. No post script, no addenda.

  26. Why not simply look at where free agents have signed in the past? Too obvious?

    Let’s be honest, you know SFA about 90% of these places you’re giving your opinion on.

    • That might be a little bit of a bad way to look at it too, since desirable markets will be able to keep their players and will have less sport available for signing FA’s.

    • and if each team is offering the same amount of money (tax variance aside), how much time and effort do Albertans and Manitobans think a guy is going to put into researching the Fringe Festivals of the cities? I bet they’d know more than Bourne by virtue of having played in all those cities, but it’s not like the chamber of commerce puts together a power point presentation for the players.

  27. Think of the numbers of hockey players who are from Minnesota, North Dakota, Manitoba, NW Ontario and Saskatchewan who want to play close to home … those would be the players looking to play in a place like Winnipeg.

    Using this ranking Green Bay would be the least attractive place for NFL players. Its small and cold. Hmmmmm but the Packers have no issues attracting players. This ranking is beyond stupid. Written by someone without a clue.

    FYI … Vancouver has a city population of 603K according to wiki.

    • Winnipeg is far enough away from most of those places that you’re getting on a plane to go there anyway…what’s the difference between say flying from Winnipeg to Fargo vs flying from Chicago to Fargo? Are you really going to be so upset that it took an extra hour or two? You travel sometimes, you live in a place all the time.

      • Fargo is a couple hours drive. The whole family could easily drive down to see you play on a weekend.

        • I eargerly await the mass signings of players in Winnepeg. I’m sure we won’t hear the same bellyacheing that we hear about Edmonton not being able to attract players…no really, I’m sure…really. I mean, who doesn’t love Winnepeg in the winter?

    • You want to slow down and ask yourself why the Packers have success attracting free agents? Couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that they’ve been an elite team for the past 20 years or so could it?

    • “Vancouver has a city population of 603K according to wiki”

      Depends on what area you’re measuring. For example, when people talk about Toronto, they are usually measuring the GTA, not just the immediate downtown core. Downtown Vancouver is on a small peninsula so it doesn’t fit very many people. The GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District, where most “Vancouverites” actually live) is at about 2.5 million right now.

  28. I wonder how the “my best friend from junior/college/the national team” factor plays in to the decisions.

  29. I love how successfully Bourne was able to troll so many people.

  30. So according to this free agents want to play in non hockey markets just to escape winter? Really? This is the rational behind this ranking? Warm weather in January trumps all. Makes the players sound really soft without much interest in the game, which I fully believe is not the case, as most of the southern US markets suck and don’t attract fleas. The fans and players avoid them like the plague. Glendale couldn’t even attract an owner without a massive city subsidy. That speaks loud and clear to me. Maybe the writer has confused NHL free agents with 70 year old retired people who dine at 4pm to get the early bird special. Minnesota will always be a bigger draw than Florida and their 8000 fans. Minnesota is colder than Florida or even Calgary in January, but when it comes to attracting players its among the best markets in hockey. Don’t believe me? Look at the big signings the last couple seasons playing for the Wild.

  31. I think if you go by “groups” it’s about right rather than individual rankings. I thought the Ottawa paragraph was harsh. Shame on you Bourne, I consider you more of an american than Canadian anyway.

    • Yeah, the overall concepts were good, but some of the individual rankings were a little baffling. Buffalo is better than Jersey? Philly is top tier, when monetary considerations are taken out?

  32. Taxes play a big part of the equation too.

  33. Calgary-and it’s cold as s**t there in the winter.
    try and do at little bit of research instead of pulling random shit out of your arse

    HACK!

    • F’ing rights. I love how the wind blows through the downtown core during the winter. Not as dry as Edmonton, but still f’ing cold.

      • you’re a pussy if you think its cold in calgary

        • If I spent the winter in Edmonton, then no, Calgary isn’t cold. But if I spent the winter on Vancouver Island, and then go to Calgary, then yeah, it’s cold as fuck. Where ever you spend the most of your time, you’ll become climatized. I use to laugh at guys in my trade when they complain about the cold weather. We work in the heating industry. If it doesn’t get cold, we don;t have a job. They only need so many A/C guys. And I’m not a Pussy, I’m Canadian.

  34. I’ve lived in Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Calgary over the past 6 years for various lenghts of times and covering winter in all. Calgary is by far my personal choice to live in.
    Having said this I understand that a late 20′s or 30 something year old dude who wants to win a cup later in his career would see the Flames are a ways off and stay away.
    As a Flames fan I’m great with this, the less big UFA deals we hand out, the more young talent we are developing and the higher we are drafting. When we have a new arena and a stocked young roster a few years down the road, no reason to believe we aren’t #1 in some guys eyes, with travel being the remaining deterrent.

  35. Well, as a Canadian, I’d want to play in front of hockey fans… so strip away ALL southern US teams.

    I’d like a shot at a cup, so Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh are close to the top of the list. Though, if I am going to sign long term, I might actually pick a team like Edmonton and Winnipeg, some great young players there with a great future, I could be the “Gary Roberts” the teams need.

    Keep me out of the zoo known as Toronto please.

    Only southern team I’d be interested in playing for is LA, and only because I love that city.

  36. In defense of the Islanders: First, the Brooklyn set-up won’t matter to the players. It’s truly a first class arena with lots of amenities for the players.

    Second, even if the setup did matter, many times weirdness becomes quaint. The Red Sox have one of the smallest capacities in baseball yet the quirks of Fenway are beloved. If one goal has no seats behind it (but if filled with crazy, SRO fans) it could be a plus to atmosphere rather than a negative.

    Third, the players love living on Long Island and playing in Brooklyn won’t change that. They can have a penthouse in the city or a Gatsby-esque mansion on the North Shore, either way they will be living it up.

    Forth, we don’t know what the teams budget will be with a better lease and probably better sponsorship. They may spend big if only to establish them with potential new fans.

    Fifth, the players there have bought in. This is a group of guys who have grown close with years together and are signed to be together for many more. Justin, you must know how much better a lockerroom is when the team has bought in.

    Sixth, John Tavares

    • The funny thing about the NYC area is that an NHL salary, with the exception of the very top end guys, isn’t going to put you into anything ‘Gastby-esque’. A 4 year $8mil deal is a great chunk of change, but you’re not getting into one of those north shore mansions off of it. It’s one of the few markets where even a typical professional athlete isn’t going to be sitting near the top of the financial heap, as crazy as that is.

  37. It’s really time to explore international cities for expansion.Helsinki,Stockholm,Berne,Copenhagen,Oslo,Paris,London.There are a host of Asian cities too.With the proliferation of European and Asian stars populating the NHL,it’s time.Most of these players return home at the end of their careers so let us take advantage of the global appeal these players bring and include their homes in the fabric of the NHL.Travel and logistics could all be worked out,the season is certainly long enough too make it equitable.Two teams in Florida and 3 in California,come on it’s time.Phoenix has been a joke and with talk of Seattle,Quebec City again and Las Vegas,Oklahoma City come on.

    • No. Just no.

      Have you not heard the whinging out of Detroit fans over the difficult travel schedule? Imagine that times 100 for any non-NA squad.

    • I suppose North America should have several Premier League teams because soccer is so popular here now? They would be all for that right? Wrong, just like making NHL guys fly over the pond to play a regular season game on multiple occasions throughout the course of a season is wrong.

  38. Thank you for the Florida Man link; best thing ever

  39. Calgary has a great organization and treats their players well. There is opportunity to grow with the team, or play a larger role than on a stacked team. They also are in a Canadian market where they live and breath hockey.

    If you knew anything about playing pro hockey, you might have factored this into your rankings.

    Corban Knight chose Calgary over Edmonton and a few other teams as well, including Tampa where it is nice and warm. Any lights coming on?

    • “If you knew anything about playing pro hockey, you might have factored this into your rankings.”

      That’s funny. Justin -the guy who wrote this- grew up around professional hockey played pro hockey.

  40. Truly awful ranking of Ottawa. Have you ever been here? If not, then you’re missing out. Perfect place to raise a family, safe city, big city but small town vibe, every kind of weather, FANTASTIC hockey team.

    • I lived in Ottawa for 2 years. I’ve lived full-time in Jasper, Edmonton, Calgary, Fredericton, Beijing, Bangkok, and traveled over most of Asia and North America.

      Ottawa is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been in, and probably the most fun of the places I’ve lived. The arena is a little crappily located, but the actual city? Wonderful.

      It is, however, the most uncomfortably cold I’ve ever lived (aside from a New Year’s weekend in St. Louis one year. Eff that place, man.). Those cold, damp winters are gross.

  41. Don’t get too bent out of shape about Bourne’s ideas here y’all. Consumer preferences are individual and not entirely rational. Justin’s are going to be different from yours and mine. And that’s fine. Given that …

    Criteria that would define my indifference curve:

    I’m surprised style of play didn’t factor more into your ranking. Does the team try to retain possession of the puck and skate it into the offensive zone? Or does the coach want the players to just chip it into the corner and then we scrum it up and down the boards? Cause screw that.
    Would I have to play for Randy Carlyle or Tortorella? Do I get to punch them in the face?
    Minus points for the hockey media in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Who could enjoy living under those magnifying glasses.
    Do I get to play with Pavel Datsyuk? Sold.
    LA, yes. Orange County, no.
    Every time I see a comment on a Canadian web site that rants about “those Toronto socialists” it was written by someone from Alberta. I’d add that to the (long) list of reasons not to play in Calgary or Edmonton.
    I’m with you on the fear of Florida thing, Justin. I’d prefer to avoid that insanity.
    When I visited, I was surprised to find that Boston is just the country’s largest college town. Seriously, a city of half a million people and 300,000 of them are college students. Plus, as has been said, fuck Jeremy Jacobs.
    I lived in Austin for 6 years and loved it. But Dallas is my Hell.
    I haven’t been there, but the North Carolina triangle seems like a really cool area to live. Mild climate, culture, high tech industry hub … I’d do it.
    Not only should there not be a hockey team in Phoenix there shouldn’t be a city there. That place will be uninhabitable in a couple decades due to climate change, water shortage and energy costs. If the Coyotes move to Seattle, I’m in.

    • Style of play would vary for each player. This is supposed to be for a generic player with no preconceptions about their style of play or other such matters.

    • the fact that you wouldn’t play in Alberta because some wrote “toronto socialists” on a website is as narrow minded and stupid as a “toronto socialist” rant.

      oh ya. and Phoenix is awesome. The weather during hockey season is fantastic and if you have never been to Tempe to hang out around ASU i would highly recommend it.

  42. Probably the most meaningless “article” of all time.

    #7 in particular made me laugh. Handing out silly deals to Bozak and Clarkson doesn’t make Toronto a destination for anyone who wants to win, just players taking advantage of Toronto’s desperation. Truly big names stay away from Toronto until they are looking for that one last big money, retirement deal. Only then is Toronto a destination.

  43. Suck it, Jason Bourne. We have the best perogies in the world in Winnipeg. That alone should be enough. As for the winters? In the words of the House of Stark: Winter is Coming. We want hearty people up here. The pussies can stay in the south in King’s Landing.

  44. Minny is the best location.

  45. Justin, I love ya, buddy, and I think your work here is great, but it’s a bit silly to decide to write an article if you’re not willing to do the research. You expressly say that things like attendance and arena are important, and then you refuse to actually look at the numbers for attendance and the actual arenas. Let’s look at your Devils analysis, in which you basically admit that you didn’t do the research.

    “mid-level fan interest”

    If you had looked at the numbers, you would have seen that not only has fan interest been growing steadily the past few seasons (in sheer numbers, percentages, and NHL ranking), but they also sold out all but three games this past season.

    “an apparently good building.”

    So you’re basically making this post based on things you’ve heard other people say and whatever knowledge you feel you’ve already stored in your head? If you researched the arena, you would find out that it’s one of the newest, most beautiful, most advanced arenas in sports. It’s an absolute masterpiece.

    I would be interested in your explanation regarding why you think the Devils won’t be a playoff team any time soon. We’re still spending to the cap, we have insanely good defensive prospects, we just got one of the best goalies in the league, and we’re probably the second-most successful team of the last three centuries.

  46. Wow everyone is really getting their panties in a knot over something that really isn’t a huge deal … it’s like he’s personally insulting your mother.

    As a former Vancouver girl now living in Anaheim I definitely agree with where you placed Anaheim on your list. Even though I prefer living in OC compared to LA, the hockey market and loyal fan base in Anaheim isn’t quite there yet.

    • Anaheim actually used to be better than it is now. At one point, they had a sting of like 3 years of consecutive sellouts. Some of the problem is that the Ducks have had a few mediocre years, plus the Kings improved significantly in recent years…not that far up the road to Staples.

  47. The Wild don’t play in Minneapolis, genius. They play in Saint Paul.

  48. Does lockout bitterness factor in? I can hold a grudge like no one else, and there’s no way i’d suit up in Boston and play for a guy like Jeremy Jacobs that openly disdains his (and all) players. I’m also a guy who likes to ask “how much is enough? How much money do I really need?”. So if i’ve made it all the way to unrestricted free agency then chances are i’ve made plenty to live off of for the rest of my life. Honestly, i’d either play in a Euro league or retire before i’d have anything to do with the Boston Bruins.

  49. Last I checked playing a pro sport is about winning and yes hockey is a winter sport – its not like they are playing on the outside rink in -30.

    Edmonton has the same amenities as any other large city and just as much “culture” as any other Canadian city.

    The arrogance of Toronto and Montreal is disgusting – I am not sure why anybody in their right mind would want to live there – not to mention their hockey teams are both severely over rated by the media.

    Mark my words that Edmonton will be the next Canadian city to win the Stanley Cup.

    • sounds like some Faggotron from Edmonton is a little cocky himself, we would mark your words ” Bruce ” but how the fuck are we gonna call you on that shit if we have no idea who are .. go back to dancing at your Butt-Welding joint

    • “Edmonton has the same amenities as any other large city and just as much “culture” as any other Canadian city.” -Said no one ever who isn’t from Edmonton

  50. Long Island is just NNJ, except more traffic and shittier. Way to troll devils fan bourne.

  51. This ranking is retarded, the author barely brings any hockey related issues to the table, makes sense that he’s a Canucks fan, what do they know about hockey anyway. I personally am an Oilers fan, they have a hard time recruiting UFA’s, why? Not because the city, the night life, the culture, the weather, non of that. It’s because the team has sucked for so long no one wanted to play there and the management was terrible. The team is close to turning it around and getting a new arena so the teams appeal should rise. If you win, players want to play there, Detroit is a dump, management is great, teams won and therefore its a desireable location. To cover the arguement Edmonton is too cold, these players have enough bloody money to fly to a sunny location at the drop of a hat that weather doesn’t matter as much as people think. If anything, its the fans, media and the pressure of playing in a fishbowl in Edmonton that keeps players from signing there, not the superficial reasons this dolt uses.

  52. How much influence did taxes have in the rankings? My guess is less than it should. Seems like you just throw the tax thing in at the end of some team paragraphs, while omitting it from others where it would be one of the major benefits.

  53. No state income tax in Tennessee, you get a lot of house for your money, privacy and you get all the seasons, opposed to Texas, Arizona or Florida. The fan base is often questioned but Preds fans are almost all grassroots and diehard, minimal corporate influence. You’ll get a lot of love.

  54. One sure fire way to get reaction/comments is ranking cities. Hooo boy you’ve stirred up a hornets nest Bourne.

    I do appreciate that you weren’t as blunt as you could have been about some of these locations…because the unspoken problem with a few of these places is that the team is in a pretty unsafe or undesirable city. There’s pretty much no way to include that in the post without it being received horribly by that teams fans.

  55. I can tell you exactly why Calgary, It may be cold in the winter, but all that indoor keepin each other warm business, has led to a pandemic of epically gorgeous women! Oh and they just so happen to love the flames :P

  56. If this were a newspaper article it would have lined the bottom of my bird cage before I got past “Boston Bruins”…….

  57. Your writing is abominable

  58. Otttawa has tons of golf and ski hills in the area tons of festivals around 20 museums the arts and culture scene is strong tons of family attractions i could go on and on oh another thing Ottawa is ranked one fot eh best citys in the world to live in.

  59. which one of these is straightest city of them all, i aint playin near no homo’s.. and i know theres plenty of them in most of the cities in the league ( anyone else find it weird crosby has never been seen with a girl yet, just sayin.. him and colby armstrong are GAY together )
    ANA = Homos
    BOSton = Homos, racist ass homos
    Bufffffffalo = In between toronto and new york.. yep, homos
    Calgary = Cowboy homos
    Carolina = possible homos
    Chicago = lots of blacks ans hispanics = Brothaz on the DownLo, too risky
    Colorado = possible homos ( mostly in aspen, but too close )
    Columbus = even LeBron james was so scared of all the homos, he fled from nearby cleveland
    Dallas = only two types of people come from Texas….
    Detroit = Noone lives there anymore, place is a ghost town.. full of homo ghosts
    Edmonton + EskiHomos ( fringe festivals are congregations of mass homosexuality )
    Florida = makes San Fran look straight
    Los Angeles = Probably dont need to say much here
    Minnesota = I dont know much about minnesota, except they got lots of homos
    Montreal = Poutine, Maple Syrup, all used as Lube for their epidemic of buttsex
    Nashville = the worlds biggest collection of in the closet homos
    New Jersey = Homos with ( thanks to their love of cannolis ) the most cushion for the pushin
    New York (isles) = this could be the winner
    New York ( rangers) = they got gay ass motherfuckers selling real estate to even bigger cocksmokers for a million bucks for a stinkin little closet of an apartment ( kind of ironic to sell homos a closet )
    Ottawa = politician homos, and super homos that get run out of toronto
    Pheonix = where homos go to retire
    Philly = city of brotherly love…
    Pittsburgh = this was a possible winner, along with Carolina, long island, and the others coming up, but then i remembered this is where Sidney Crosby and Colby Armstrong started their gay affair, and ever since, homos been flooding the place
    St. Louis = Good ol’ possible homo free St. Louis, love it
    San Jose = Guilty by cali association, homos
    Tampa Bay = Same as San jose, florida style
    Toronto = even their fat ass crack smoking mayor goes to gay pride week.. Canadas florida, victoria comes second
    Vancouver = A melting pot of Butt-welding
    Washington = Americas Ottawa, minus the homos fleeing from Toronto
    Winnipeg = Edmonton is the coldest homos can get their dicks up, so the Peg should be safe

    and the winner is… St. Louis.. Fuck the other places, they probably got homos, Carolina is as bad as texas, if i give ottawa shit for spill off homos from Toronto then Long island has to have some of new yorks flamers, and winnipeg.. theres drugs for that

    • Well said Bobrov ( how do you say your first name? ) someone eally needed to come out and talk about Crosby and Colby

    • Cam, you moron, you weren’t supposed to give any credibility to this story on here, we were gonna come out with the story next tuesday, fuck.

      • JB, wtf dude, you couldnt send me an email, or hit me up on skype, you gotta give me shit in front of everyone.? I’m not gonna come on here and denounce Bobrov Saying Crosby is Gay with Colby Armstrong, because its true, so what if he broke the story first, maybe if you’d done your fuckin job and posted this shit months ago when we found out, we’d be all good right now you diary of anne frank reading bitch. And hey, luckily for us, he posted it here, not on sportsnet or tsn.. this could actually work out nicely.. just run the story tomorrow

      • Lol.

        Can I take this opportunity to point out that the comments section on this website really should have a ‘Flag’ option?

    • Fuck you Bobrov, i’m gay and from Jersey, and i take serious offence to you calling us all fat, i dont eat fuckin cannolis you breeder piece of shit, i stay in shape so the AIDS cant get me

  60. I personally would have picked Minnesota, seeing is how i’m from there, i can tell you there’s not as many Fags as you think. Are you still working on your list of cities to avoid if you dont want to get overrun by Niggerdom?

  61. Nice write up on Minnesota… except that the Wild don’t play in the Nice city that is Minneapolis. They play across the river in St.Paul.

    • People love to write this to make themselves seem smart. Outside of AHL callups staying in a hotel, zero NHL players actually live in St. Paul. They either have apartments in Minneapolis(younger guys) or houses in the suburbs. It takes 5 minutes to get from the Xcel to Minneapolis. You’re just being an ass trying to seem smart.

  62. I was pleasantly surprised that Colorado ranked so high. I’m a biased Avs fan, but I thought the whole finishing last in the West thing would have had a bigger impact.

    Still, the Pepsi Center just underwent renovations, the city of Denver is beautiful and gets 300+ days of sunshine a year, we do have a lot of young talent, fans will show up in droves if the team starts winning again, and Sakic and Roy are certainly going to be more appealing than Sherman and Sacco. If you can hold on for a couple years, it could be a really amazing place to play.

  63. Zero problem living in Montreal and only speaking English.

    • Actually, being a unilingual English speaker could make it easier to play in Montreal.

      Montreal fans have the typical reaction : when they’re good, they’re treated as gods. When they’re bad, the fans and media are all over them. Only, it’s more extreme (more “manic-depressive”) towards francophone players. Staying grounded is a challenge.

      If you’re in the “supposed to be good category” and not quite delivering, or in the “contract a little too big for your output”, then you’d hate it in Montreal, but even more so if you’re francophone. What I mean by that is Brière better put up good numbers in October, or he’ll become the next in Brisebois and Latendresse’s group of the unloved.

  64. One suggestion that I cannot believe wasn’t factored in, or brought up by anyone yet: CRIME. Doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, this SHOULD be a deciding factor for people.

    Also, Buffalo is an effing s-hole. Screw the fans or the spending owner, the franchise is a mess, and THE CITY SUCKS! It’s like the Winterpeg/Edmonton of ‘Murca – just terrible!

    Also for all you Winterpeg/Edmontonians, you have the amount of cultural events in a summer that cities like Vancouver/Toronto have in a week. Seriously, you only think you’re cultured because you actually aren’t. Get it?

  65. I hate to say this, but i think Bobrov is right about the queers and needing to avoid them

  66. City of Detroit files for bankruptcy, so much for number 11. LOL.

  67. Who cares if Calgary is the least desirable location for free agents? We don’t want any of them, because none of them will help in the long run. I would rather watch a bunch of kids lose than overpay for the likes of the Clowes of this world, not to mention the six million bucks the Bruins just shelled out for an over-the-hill former Flame.

  68. Wow this is one of the worst articles I’ve ever read. Some of the rankings here are brain dead wrong.. I get that it’s the author’s opinion, but he’s so far off on some it’s ridiculously hilarious!

  69. Prudential Center is 8 miles from Madison Square Garden… how could the Rangers be ranked second and the Devils ranked 29th? I guess 8 miles is more important than 3 cups

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