Would A Second WHA Have Market Access And Competitive Arenas?

Photo by Snakewilson, via Wikimedia Commons

In my article about the players' need for a second version of the WHA in order to regain leverage in their battle against NHL owners, dawgbone commented with a well-thought out critique:

I just don’t think you have the arena infrastructure in place to launch such a league.

First of all, it can’t get into the right markets. Unlike the WHA (who could get into spots like Western Canada and Ottawa/Quebec), there’s nowhere for these new clubs to go. Your only real option is Hamilton (depending on the various arena agreements the clubs have). I mean there are a couple of other options like London and Quebec City (old Colisee), but I just don’t think those are enough.

Not only that, but the WHA had the benefit of paying players between 30-150k each, a rival league would need to spend into the millions.

After the jump, I delve into the first of his criticisms - arena infrastructure and markets.

While most arenas are tied into NHL leases (another dimension of muni-funded arenas), there are a number of compatible arenas available to a second league. They are not suited to compete in the NHL, but they may be compatible with a second league. And while dawgbone doesn't see new markets for the new league, I believe the available arenas are located in markets that could support teams in a second league. Below is a list of 18 markets, their hockey venue and seating capacity for hockey:

City Venue Capacity
Chicago Allstate Arena 16,692
Cincinnati U.S. Bank Arena 14,453
Columbus Value City Arena 17,500
Detroit The Palace 20,804
Halifax Metro Centre 10,595
Hamilton Copps Coliseum 17,383
Houston Toyota Center 17,800
Indianapolis Market Square Arena 15,993
Kansas City Sprint Center 17,544
Milwaukee Bradley Center 17,845
New York Barclays Center 14,500
Portland Rose Garden 18,280
Quebec Pepsi Coliseum 15,176
Saskatoon Credit Union Centre 15,195
Seattle Key Arena 15,177
Toronto Ricoh Coliseum 8,140
Tulsa BOK Center 17,096
Vancouver Pacific Coliseum 16,281

The buildings are varied as some are quite new with all of the amenities of an NHL arena, while some are outdated or quite small. But the potential exists - there are available facilities and markets. Given these markets, is the pool of potential owners large enough to create and maintain a competitive and financially viable league?

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