(It should be noted that the wife was kind enough this past summer to agree to a vacation that included baseball games in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Having never been to Cleveland, I looked forward to visiting this Great Lakes city. For a number of reasons, I enjoy visiting American cities that may not leap to mind when one contemplates a summer vacation. Having said that, downtown Cleveland has a lot to offer the visitor, and the ballpark is fantastic. Wish we had that here in Toronto. While we were strolling to the lake shore on a very hot Sunday morning, I remarked to the wife that my favourite NHL sweater of all-time was worn by the Cleveland Barons. Much to her horror, I proceeded to regale her and my 7-year-son with the history of big league hockey in Cleveland, including an attempt by business interests in the city to force the NHL to expand to Cleveland sometime in either the late 50’s or early 60’s. They, in effect, pulled a Balsillie. The NHL was still very much a provincial league back then, and successfully fought off the challenge, though Cleveland would have been a geographically logical place to situation an NHL team. Undaunted, the city continued to apply for an NHL expansion franchise, but Cleveland remained the domain of the AHL and the IHL, with a few years of the WHA thrown in there for good measure, until the much beleaguered Seals/Golden Seals franchise relocated to Cleveland for two beleaguered seasons beginning in 1976. Just as my wife’s eyes were beginning to glaze over, I capped off my tragical history tour of Cleveland hockey by remarking that a number of callers to The War Room have lamented the lack of NHL hockey in Cleveland, and how they wish their city could get a second shot at a franchise. The first time around, the Richfield Coliseum was located too far from the city centre. Now 2923 Streetsboro Road is part of CuyahogaValley National Park. All the callers understand they likely won’t get a franchise due to neighboring Columbus having one. Being embolded by my Cleveland vacation, high on Bertman’s mustard, and honestly believing Ian Hunter when he says Cleveland rocks, I came to the conclusion that the Blue Jackets should be moved to the Forest City. According to statistics I could dig up, the population of Cleveland proper has been declining…which explains the lack of souls downtown on that Sunday…but the metropolitan area is growing, and is the largest in the state of Ohio. So, I reiterate…move the Blue Jackets to Cleveland…rename them the Barons…and all will be right with the world. And while you’re at it, move the Flames back to Atlanta, the Hurricanes back to Hartford, the Avalanche back to Quebec, the Devils back to Kansas City, and the Coyotes over to Denver. The Stars can stay in Dallas. There. My work here is done).
Defender of Machias Seal Island
NHL Home Ice