Last season’s National Hockey League almost did not happen as a lockout threatened the entire year. When it finally started, the Chicago Blackhawks hit the ground running by picking up at least a point in 24 straight games. The Pittsburgh Penguins also went on a run of their own by winning 15 straight games.
By the time the conference finals came along, the final four teams left standing were the last four teams to win the Stanley Cup, namely the Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Blackhawks and Penguins. The finals saw a matchup between the Blackhawks and the Bruins, with the former prevailing in six exciting games.
This season, the league will start on time and both teams and fans are now gearing up for another year of hard-hitting action. Ice hockey is Canada’s national sport, but none of the country’s teams have taken home the Cup since the 1993 season when the Montreal Canadiens won the title.
Still, a new year brings new hopes. Here now is a list of the top 10 cities with the most expesive NHL tickets.
10. St. Paul – $116.45
In 1993, the North Stars of Minnesota packed their bags and moved to Dallas to become the Stars. The state of Minnesota will always be a hockey town, so in just four years, the NHL granted them a franchise for a new team called the Minnesota Wild. It only started playing in 2001 however, but by the end of the 2003 season, it already made a run to the conference finals. The team plays its home games in Xcel Energy Center in the city of St. Paul.
9. Boston – $120.07
Boston is a great sports town, and its Bruins team has helped cement this image with six Stanley Cup titles, the fifth most all-time and the second most for an American team. It last won a title in 2011, though it came close again last season before it succumbed to the Chicago Blackhawks. The team plays its home games at the TD Garden, which it shares with the city’s Celtics basketball team.
8. Vancouver – $145.18
Vancouver is the home of the Canucks, a heartbreak team that has won the President’s Trophy twice in 2011 and 2012 as the team with the best record in the regular season. It has never won the Cup, however, famously losing to the New York Rangers and the Bruins in 1994 and 2011, respectively. The latter set off rioting and looting in the city as fans vented their frustration. The team plays in Rogers Arena in British Columbia.
7. Montreal – $150.18
Montreal has its beloved Canadiens, one of the most successful teams in professional sports with 24 Cups. It is also the oldest continuously operating professional ice hockey team. It is so old that the team actually predates the league. It is fondly called the Habs, short for Les Habitants, one of its nicknames. The team plays its games at the Bell Centre.
6. Edmonton – $156.18
Edmonton has had an ice hockey team since 1971 when the Oilers were founded. It played its first full season in 1972 as part of the World Hockey Association, or WHA. It briefly used the name of Alberta Oilers before it went back to its city name the following year. In 1979, it joined the NHL after the merger of the two leagues. In the 80’s, the team featured stars like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier on its way to a dynasty that produced five Stanley Cups in seven seasons. The team plays its home games at the Rexall Place.
5. Pittsburgh – $172.70
Pittsburgh got the rights to an NHL team as the Penguins in 1967 after the league decided to expand from six to 12 teams. It got a break in 1969 when it drafted Michel Briere, who was drawing comparisons with great NHL players like Phil Esposito and Bobby Clarke. He died the following year, however, because of a car accident. Though the Penguins went into some playoffs run, it was not until the arrival of Mario Lemieux that they finally broke through, winning the cup in 1991 and 1992. It repeated its feat in 2009. The team plays at the Consol Energy Center.
4. Chicago – $178.46
Chicago is still in a celebratory mood after winning back the Cup last season, its second in three years. The Blackhawks went practically wire-to-wire after starting the shortened season on fire. The team was established in 1926 and has taken home the crown five times. It plays its home games at the United Center, which it shares with the city’s Bulls of the NBA.
3. New York – $193.48
As with any team in the city of New York, the NHL Rangers own one of the highest payrolls in the league, with the top players attracted to the idea of playing in the Big Apple and at the historic Madison Square Garden. Playing however is one thing, as winning is a totally different thing. When one wins in New York, legendary status is immediately bestowed especially for a team that has not really won that much with only four Cups in its 87 years. Who can ever forget Mark Messier, who captained the last Cup-winning Rangers team in 1994 that triggered bedlam and celebration all around the city. Last year, they fell short after losing to the Bruins in the conference semifinals. It hopes to make up for it this year with a deeper playoff run.
2. Winnipeg – $238.99
Manitoba already had a professional ice hockey team from 1972 to 1996, but the franchise moved to Phoenix. In 2011, the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and even used its old name of Jets. Hockey was finally back, and those in the city are still giddy about it, with prices exploding at the MTS Centre even though the team hasn’t qualified for the playoffs yet.
1. Toronto – $328.22
Toronto is one of the Original Six members of the league, and it has the second most number of titles with 13. Its Maple Leafs is considered as the most valuable franchise in the league at $1 billion. Games are played at the Air Canada Center. Still, fans are antsy for another title run, as it hasn’t brought home the Cup since 1967, the longest drought for any team.
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