The Conference Board of Canada says the economic conditions are favourable enough to have three more National Hockey League franchises in the country within the next 20 years.
The board suggested Monday that in addition to Canada’s seven existing NHL teams, Quebec City and Hamilton, Ont., appear to meet minimum requirements to become home to franchises in the near future.
In the longer term, another franchise could eventually find its way to the Toronto area, but a lot of money and population growth would be required for the region to support two teams.
Two economists for the board are making the case for expansion in a new book entitled “Power Play: The Business Economics of Pro Sports.”
Andre Richelieu, a sports marketing professor at Universite Laval, believes talk of any new Canadian NHL franchises are sheer speculation for now.
The board predicts that franchises in Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa will continue to be viable markets over the next 20 years but says the Atlantic provinces and Saskatchewan will not have the population or corporate presence to support NHL teams.