Skip to main content

NHL history

Toronto Maple Leafs (1917-present).

Potential owners

None identified.

Demographic snapshot

Metro Population: 5,700,000

Story continues below advertisement

Median Household income: $67,948 (Canadian Average $59,090)

Average Household disposable income: $67,221 (Canadian Average $55,541)

Average Household net worth: $531,621 (Canadian Average $351,282)

Percentage of population aged 25-39: 22.8 (Canadian Average 20 per cent)

Index for watching NHL Hockey on Television: 93 (Canadian average 100)

Economic snapshot

Number of Head offices: 919

Unemployment rate: 9.5 per cent (Canadian average 8.1)

Story continues below advertisement

Number of businesses with 100+ employees: 3,783

Number of businesses with $20+ million in sales: 4,921

Number of businesses with 100+ employees and $20+ million in sales: 2,322

Population rate of growth: 1.7 per cent

GDP Growth: 3.7 per cent

Retail sales: $60.8 billion

Story continues below advertisement

Sports Competition in market: Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Blue Jays (MLB), Toronto FC (MLS), Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Argonauts (CFL)



Has going for it

The Greater Toronto Area is the biggest, richest hockey market in the world and right now isn't coming close to being adequately served by one team. No one doubts that on a yearly cash-in, cash-out basis that a second Toronto team could be financially successful.

Has going against it

The Toronto Maple Leafs have served notice they believe they own the right to veto another team entering the GTA. Even if the Leafs were willing to make a deal to allow a second team, the costs of such a venture might be prohibitive. Add up the cost of an expansion or relocation fee, the expense of building a new arena and the fees to indemnify the Leafs and Buffalo Sabres and you're talking about spending close to $1 billlion dollars before a puck is dropped. As well, the NHL says it has no interest in a second Toronto franchise at this time.

What they're saying

"There's massive appetite for a second team in Toronto. There's about 800,000 people in the GTA right now that have NHL hockey as a passion that haven't been able to attend a hockey game in the past two years. So if there is more supply, there will definitely be great demand." - Don Mayo, Global Managing Partner, IMI International.

What Gary Bettman says

"I have no idea. It's not anything we've looked at."

Professor Norm O'Reilly's Scorecard

Market Attractiveness





Market Size


Corporate presence


Overall Market Attractiveness Grade


With a strong economy, monstrous corporate presence and growing population, not even another team in the market can take the shine off of the Greater Toronto Area. The pent-up demand from passionate hockey fans who can't get to NHL games is immense. Which is why combined with its wealth and size the market is a winner.

Franchise Viability

Potential Ownership


Arena and Location


Competition and Barriers to Entry


The Toronto Maple Leafs have expressed their right to veto another team in their market. Though the NHL disagrees with that right, it probably doesn't want to test it. If there was a deal to be made with the Leafs it would be costly. Add that to an expansion or relocation fee, plus building a new arena, and the numbers start to climb towards $1 billion before the puck is dropped.

Final Grade for Viability


There's rich and hungry market for a second NHL team in the GTA. The problem is how a team gets there.

Note: Norm O'Reilly's evaluations are based on his own background and knowledge of the subject, transcripts of interviews done by TSN/Globe and Mail for this series and data collected from various sources including Statistics Canada, the Conference Board of Canada, Environics Analytics, IMI and Harris-Decima.

Report an error
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to