Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Acquiring a Stadium for Waterloo's New NHL Team

In my continuing series on the possibility that local billionaire Jim Balsillie will buy Waterloo an NHL team, I have a plan that might expose my utter and complete ignorance or who knows, might not be so dumb.

The Ontario government should build us a stadium. Why would they do this? Because we could make a deal that if they build us a stadium, we'll take Toronto's garbage. It could work like this: the stadium could be built on the land that is now used as the Waterloo Regional landfill facility (you know, the Erb Street dump). That land is on an aquifer so should not be used as a dump, anyway. Then a new, bigger dump could be built closer to the 401, and could be used for Waterloo Region and Toronto.

Several Ontario governments have tried to find a place to dump Toronto's garbage but the NIMBY factor always thwarts them. They just haven't found an enticing enough carrot. Imagine the public backlash if someone tried to kill a deal that would mean we got an NHL team. Now that's a carrot.

The location would fit Graeme's comment on an earlier post that it needs to be at least 60 miles from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, because it's west of Fisher-Hallman. The location also fits Mark Dowling's comment that it might be good to put it near UW and have an agreement that the universities can use it too. As for his comment that it should be near restaurants, well... hmmm. There aren't too many restaurants around the dump, but they could be added. There's a Costco going up across the street, which doesn't seem ideal.

(What shall we call our new hockey stadium on Erb Street? Instead of naming it after some stupid company, perhaps we have a chance to give it a really good name... like Maple Leaf Gardens was a good name. And let's not end it with "Centre". Borrrring. The UW rink is called the Columbia Ice Fields... something like that would be perfect.)

Of course, striking a deal with the government of Ontario is small potatoes compared with the difficulty of convincing the NHL to allow another team in Ontario. The problem seems to be that the NHL is primarily interested in TV viewers. If they put a team in New Mexico where nobody likes hockey they'll pick up some new viewers. But everyone in Ontario is already watching as much hockey as they can, so putting a team here - even though the games would be sellouts - is a non-starter. In other words, the NHL is not operating in the interest of the fans. It seems that the fans must rise up and do something about this. Sue the NHL. Act up. Something.

See also
A Poser: Where to Build the Stadium
Naming Waterloo's New NHL Team
Waterloo: A City Whose Time Has Come


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