Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A NHL Exhibition League ?

Plans are being put together to have up to eight National Hockey League teams bring their pre-season training camps to a number of the Canadian Maritimes' small cities and towns for what some up there are beginning to call the... Bluenose League. The idea is patterned after what MLB Baseball does with their spring training camps in the US south and the southwest.
Pro baseball has the Grapefruit League, Florida’s famous spring training destination, so why can’t the Maritimes have something similar for professional hockey? Perhaps something called the Bluenose League, the Southwest Shore Development Authority has suggested [...]

Now the people who worked to bring a very successful 2005 Islanders training camp to Yarmouth are working to put a league of their own together.

Under the plan, eight NHL teams would bring their fall camps to various Maritime towns or small cities, said Frank Anderson of the development authority.

The training camps would end in a pre-season exhibition series in Halifax over a few days.

"It’s not that far-fetched," Anderson said. "If Florida can do it with baseball, why can’t we do it with hockey?"

The development authority has hired former Halifax Mooseheads president Kevin Cameron to work with the agency to bring what Anderson calls the Bluenose League to fruition.

"We’re hoping for 2007 to have three of these teams on the ground," said Anderson.

That’s because three NHL teams have already been in touch with the development authority, and the Islanders would be back, making four teams.

Corporate sponsors are also a help and more are becoming interested in the concept.
Sounds like a great freakin idea to me. I hope it becomes a reality. Imagine being able to catch up to 8 NHL squads getting ready for the regular season within relatively close proximity to each other AND then finishing off their training camps by playing a local exhibition tournament. Sounds like hockey fan heaven to me. Hell, I'd gladly make a pilgrimage to the Martimes to experience something like that. Eight training camps... and a tournament. Yes please, count me in.

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