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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Milwaukee deserves an NHL team

On Jan. 24, 2024, the NHL engaged in talks for a new expansion team in Salt Lake City. Smith Entertainment Group, the parent company of the Utah Jazz, formally requested the NHL to start the expansion process and the team can begin playing as soon as next season.

After the Las Vegas Golden Knights joined in 2016 and the Seattle Kraken in 2021, the NHL is up to 32 teams. With all these new franchises joining the league, what better place than Milwaukee to have as the newest host-city in the NHL.

Although Utah has the perfect tools for a hockey team, like winter weather and a high population, Milwaukee has all the same gifts to deserve a team of its own. Utah getting a team does not necessarily mean Milwaukee will not get one, but it is one more city getting a team while Milwaukee sits and waits.  

Utah, Salt Lake City in particular, has only one team in the “big four” sports with the Utah Jazz. Milwaukee is home to the Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers, two perennial playoff teams with respected fan bases. 

Salt Lake City is currently preparing for their new team that will bring in millions worth of revenue to the city. With a population of 569,000, Milwaukee is a large city with plenty of fans. Salt Lake City only has 200,000 people in comparison.

The Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha metro area totals up to just over 2 million people. Wisconsin is a state with loyal fans that are already used to road tripping for Packers, Bucks or Brewers games. 

Wisconsin is already considered one of the biggest hockey states in the country. Although Wisconsin hockey pales in comparison to next-door rivals Minnesota, there is still a hockey scene respected across the country. 

The Badgers are one of the most formidable programs in Division 1 hockey, (currently ranked No. 4 in the country). These Badger fans across the state have no choice but to root for the Minnesota Wild or Chicago Blackhawks. Our hypothetical new team already has two major rivals by taking fans of the Wild and Blackhawks. Forcing Wisconsin fans to root for Minnesota or Illinois teams is frankly not right. 

Some may argue that the Blackhawks are already close enough and Milwaukee fans can just root for them. The New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and New York Islanders are all within a 23-mile radius of each other whereas Chicago to Milwaukee is over 90 miles apart. Imagine telling Bucks fans to just root for the Bulls or Brewers fans to just cheer for the Cubs. 

Milwaukee has the people and the dedication for a team, now they just need a location. 

The cost to build a new stadium is extremely expensive. The Seattle Kraken, the newest member of the NHL, had to pay a $650 million dollar expansion fee. The Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle underwent $900 million dollars worth of renovations to convert it into an NHL-ready arena. If Milwaukee’s new franchise opts to play in a new arena, it would have to rely on Milwaukee residents for millions of dollars.

Many teams like the Boston Bruins split their home with the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Fiserv could easily become the new home of the team as well.

The Admirals fans more than deserve a pro team to root for. These fans have been packing out AHL games and could easily match the intensity for an NHL team. 

Milwaukee has so much potential for branding: Milwaukee Moo, Milwaukee Pucks — alright, I’ll let the professionals do the branding, but you get the idea. 

Wisconsin is a state full of rabid hockey fans and is in dire need of a team. Whether it is the Arizona Coyotes or a new team altogether, the NHL seems to like the idea of expansion and what city has a better case than Milwaukee. 

This story was written by Conor McPherson. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X at @ConorMcPherson_.

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