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All Toronto needs is an NHL-caliber team

There's some interesting commentary from the Puck Daddy this morning about Toronto, which is fretting over the future of the Maple Leafs fan base. Apparently changing demographics and youth hockey participation trends don't bode well for Toronto's long-term outlook.

As for my $0.02 on the issue, I think the best thing for both the Toronto market and the NHL at large would be to get another team in that city. They could easily support it, and since the Maple Leafs are such a ridiculously tough ticket to get currently, that serves to isolate them somewhat from casual fans. A new, upstart franchise might help to shake things up in that regard. Look at the Mets and Yankees in New York to see how this could work.

If the Big Apple can support multiple hockey teams, Toronto absolutely would. Whether by expansion or by relocation (properly done, not a Balsillie-style hijacking), helping hockey grow even in the Great White North starts with making it accessible to the broadest audience possible. The problem, of course, is getting the Maple Leafs to drop their opposition to having another team within their zone of control; what they need to realize is that growing the game is in their own long-term best interest, as well as the best interest of the league.

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