- The time differential. Getting folks to tune into NHL games is difficult enough down in the states now. Imagine if a good % of games started at 1-2 or 3:00 a.m. EST? Even worse for the folks out west.
- Differences in currency. It was a nightmare(until recently) to have 2 currencies dominate the league. Imagine if they throw the Euro, and other European currencies into the mix?
- The "Big countries" over the pond in Western Europe(England, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany) are not known as hockey hot beds. Certainly hockey is huge in Sweden, Czech and Slovak republics, Russia, and to a lesser extent Switzerland. Is that where the NHL wants to expand?
- Those aforementioned countries all have well established "Elite leagues". Would/could they find a series of folks willing to shell out big expansion fees in these smaller countries?
- How many North Americans would want to play 9 months of the year so far from home if they could stay closer at the same salary? You'd have a dichotomy of talent. The Euros staying over there and NA's staying over here. Unlike now where there is a mix on each team
- As a result the potential exists that one could see a top draft pick(s) refusing to report to a European city alla Eric Lindros refusing to go to Quebec in 1991 for language reasons. Only now it would occur on both sides and MUCH more frequently. Most Europeans speak English and its taught in almost all schools. The same is NOT true over here. How many North American hockey players speak Swedish, Russian, etc?
- The travel for teams here going to Europe and vise versa would be horrendous. Teams in the 2 western time zones would have it even worse than the East. Its hard enough leveling the playing field in 3-4 time zones. Adding 6-7 more would be a nightmare!
3) No, we simply can not see a legitimate scenario where a series of European NHL teams could be established. Way too many hurdles. Perhaps in the VERY distant future when the Earth has ONE currency, the transport of folks to and from can be accomplished in minutes not hours, the idea may have some potential. Until then, the best possible scenario that could have a legitimate shot at working would be to have a European champion play the NHL champion for the Stanley Cup. Even that would face tremendous challenges from North American hockey traditionalists, but would have the potential to really open up the NHL into Europen consciousness