Toronto Maple Leafs Next Rivals: 3 Potential Expansion Cities

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SAN ANTONIO – OCTOBER 15: Pierre-Marc Bouchard #96 of the Houston Aeros stickhandles… (Photo by Darren Abate/Getty Images)

#3. Houston

Houston already has an NFL, NBA, MLS and MLB team, so the only thing they’re missing is an NHL team.

The NHL is already in the state of Texas, so if Houston joined the league, they could build off a state-rivalry with the Dallas Stars.

The main reason the NHL should go to Houston is because of the market. They’re largest populated city in the U.S. that doesn’t have a complete set of the Big Four sports franchises. Also, in terms of a corporate dollar, Houston businesses will be able to back the franchise.

There are a number of NHL teams that don’t have the backing that Houston would have. For example, if Houston joined the NHL today, they should be able to sell out every night, compared to some franchises like the Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes, Ottawa Senators or New York Islanders.

Houston also has an arena that could easily be converted to NHL hockey. The Toyota Center is home to the NBA’s Houston Rockets, but like many NBA teams, they typically share their space if the city has an NHL team as well.

Scotiabank Arena in Toronto is home to both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors and although some complain about the ice at times, the building is easily changeable from an ice rink to a basketball court in a matter of hours.

Not only do they have the arena and corporate dollar, but Houston has a strong hockey background going back to the WHA when Gordie Howe helped win back-to-back championships with the Houston Aeros.

They also most recently won a Calder Cup in the 2002-03 season, so the city is used to winning with their hockey teams.

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