Big news out of Prince George this morning as the PG Citizen is reporting that the Cougars have been sold. As some of you know, PG has the worst attendance in the league and a lot of this is attributed to the fans lack of support of the ownership. Maybe a change at the top will mean a better bottom line?
Also reported in the article is that it appears the Kootenay Ice will be moving to Winnipeg for next season. It has been said that the Jets have been wanting a WHL team, to follow in the successes in both Calgary and Edmonton. If it’s not the Cougars, the Ice are the next best option.
So, this being a Seattle-skewed blog, how do these two stories affect the Thunderbirds? For one, it sounds like with the new ownership the Cougars will be staying in PG. So count on having to still go up there for those two games a season. But secondly, it may mean more games for Seattle against some of the teams in the US division. Because Cranbrook, where the Ice are located, and Spokane are so close to each other, they played each other more often than the rest of the US division played the BC division. This lead to an imbalance in the schedule. With a team no longer in Cranbrook, in theory, this imbalance should go away. (Everett and Vancouver have a similar schedule because of proximity.)
Here’s what a balanced US division schedule could look like:
- 10 games vs division opponents (5H, 5A) 40 games
- 4 games vs conference opponents (2H, 2A) 20 games
- 1 game vs Central division (1H) 6 games
- 1 game vs East division (1A) 6 games
A total of 72 games. Now that could be adjusted so it skews more towards rivalries but I think a balanced schedule would be best. Would you as a Seattle fan want to continue to see Portland 12 times a year or would you rather them play all the division teams the same amount of times?
It will be interesting to see what all comes out of this story and how much of it is actually true but this is all big news and has ramifications across the league.