NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly told the Team 1040 radio in Vancouver on Thursday that revenue sharing and untapped Canadian markets could have a role in helping to ensure the future financial success of the NHL.
Kelly, who became Executive Director of the NHLPA in October of 2007, said a key goal for the union was to help ensure the financial success of every team in the league. He noted that if some current markets could not maintain a stable franchise, or if the NHL opted to expand again, Canada could be the land of opportunity.
"We're very supportive of the Canadian franchises, not only because of the history and tradition, but also because of the results," Kelly explained on the TEAM 1040.
"I mean the Canadian fans are like no others," he continued. "They're passionate, they come out and support it, they buy the merchandise, and they're knowledgeable about the sport. And it seems to us a no-brainer that if you're going to expand or you're going to relocate, that you first and foremost have to consider some of the major hubs here in Canada. You know, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Quebec City, perhaps Halifax if they had an arena that could sustain an NHL team. But I think there are locations in Canada that would strongly support the NHL game."
No matter where a team is located, Kelly said the union wants to make sure each club has a strong economic base, and he has some ideas about how that goal might be better realized.
"It will ultimately come down to the revenue-sharing system we have in the game," Kelly told the Team 1040. "I mean the haves - the big market teams - are doing very, very well financially, and they could probably do more in the way of revenue sharing to help out those teams that are in the bottom five or six on the list to help make them more stable financially.
"But long-term, the players aren't singling out any particular franchises and saying 'that's got to go'. They really would like to see all the existing franchises survive, if that's possible."