The NHL’s Sun Belt Positives
When thinking about professional hockey powerhouse cities you probably think about Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Detroit or Boston, the Original Six. But what would it take to add Los Angeles, Raleigh (NC) and Miami to this list? These warm weather destinations have all reached the Stanley Cup Finals in the last 20 years at least once, and in three consecutive seasons, teams from areas better known for golf and surfing, than ice hockey, took home the championship trophy (Tampa Bay Lightning in 2005, Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and Anaheim Ducks in 2007). How have these teams managed to become competitive hockey teams while playing in non-traditional hockey markets? These franchises have carved out a market position both locally and nationally, with their fans and the league, in order to be successful on the ice and in the marketplace.