If you haven’t seen it yet, our friends over at FanSided NHL wrote an article about whether or not Cleveland deserves an NHL team. You can read that article and vote in their poll here. If Cleveland does get a hockey team, will it be an expansion team? Or will the Columbus Blue Jackets relocate to Cleveland? Should Cleveland get an NHL team?
In my opinion, no. As a Columbus Blue Jackets fan, I think an NHL team in Cleveland would be doomed to either fail or spell the end of hockey in Columbus. I don’t think it is possible for both cities to have a thriving team. As the other article points out, there is a possibility for a rivalry between them, a “battle for Ohio”. I don’t think that would really happen. Remember how long it took the Jackets to truly develop a rivalry? Everyone in Columbus wanted to be rivals with Detroit, but it never worked out. The Wings were just a better team, and there’s no fun in being rivals with a team you never beat. It’s hard for brand new teams to have rivals.
14 seasons into their existence, and the Jackets still don’t really have a rival. There is potential for a rivalry with the Rangers or the Penguins, which you can read more about here. They are still developing rivalries with their neighboring teams, and adding one more neighbor isn’t going to immediately make a rivalry. It is more likely that either fans will stay fans of the Jackets and Cleveland’s team would struggle, or fans would flock to Cleveland and Columbus would struggle. Although Ohio is just now becoming a hockey state, I doubt it could really handle to teams. At least not yet.
I don’t think I even need to give my opinion on relocation. Of course I’m against it, I live in Columbus and love the Jackets. I understand that there are lots of Blue Jackets fans who live in Cleveland and would love to get to see more hockey games, but that isn’t a good enough reason to relocate. The Jackets just had their best season in franchise history, and for the first time are really relevant in central Ohio, which you can read about here. They’ve struggled for 14 seasons to become a relevant sports team in Central Ohio, and they are on the verge of doing just that. It would be a disappointment to move them now, or in the near future.
Despite the struggle Columbus has had in attendance throughout the Jackets’ history, a move to Cleveland wouldn’t help. The only sports teams in Columbus that compete for fans’ attention is the Buckeyes and the Crew. Obviously, the Buckeyes have a huge following and play during the same time of year as the Jackets, but they only have seven home games. The Jackets have 40 or so. The Crew play in the summer. That helps the Jackets’ attendance, since there are not a ton of major conflicting sports events in Columbus.
In Cleveland, they have the Browns, who, like the Buckeyes, would have only a few games that conflict with an NHL schedule. But they also have the Cleveland Cavaliers, whose schedule is during the same time as the NHL schedule. It would be hard for a new NHL team to draw sports fans away from their long-time NBA team to go to NHL games. Many would, I’m sure, but Columbus is a much more lucrative spot for and NHL team to compete. No reason to move.Basically, I don’t like the idea of an NHL team in Cleveland, and I really don’t like the idea of moving the Jackets. I kn0w there are people in Cleveland and elsewhere who probably disagree with me, so leave me a c0mment! What do you think about the NHL going to Cleveland? Should they expand there? Should the Jackets relocate? Let us know, and make sure to vote in the poll on FanSided NHL’s article as well!