Hamilton Has Been Teased Multiple Times Over The Years

Published on June 3rd, 2024 7:41 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Hamiltons NHL dream.  Will they ever get a team? Since 1990, the city of Hamilton has been teased with the prospect of landing a NHL team five times.

On five different occasions, there were credible attempts to move a team to Hamilton.

The consensus is that the "Golden Horseshoe" area of Ontario, which includes Hamilton, could easily support two NHL teams - as of now, just one (the Toronto Maple Leafs) operate in the area.

Hamilton could easily support a NHL team, though the main impediment is a rule stating that teams have the ability to veto a relocation if the new team will be within 50 miles of the existing club.

In the case of Hamilton, both Toronto AND Buffalo fall within this radius. Toronto and Buffalo would both need to agree to a payout to allow a team to move to Hamilton, which would be very expensive.


In 1990, Hamilton was considered a leading candidate for an expansion team.

The NHL, however, decided to award two new franchises to Ottawa and Tampa Bay instead.

In 2006, Jim Basillie agreed to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins for $175, with the condition that he had the option to move the team to Canada (Hamilton or Kitchener-Waterloo) if a deal for a new arena in Pittsburgh couldn't be worked out.

The NHL reportedly insisted that Basillie keep the team in Pittsburgh, and he backed out of the purchase.

In 2007, Basillie purchased the Nashville Predators for $238 million and started a season ticket drive in Hamilton. The sale ended up falling through after Predators owner Craig Leipold backed out of the deal, perhaps due to pressure from the NHL. The Predators were sold to a local group of businessmen for less money.

In May of 2009, Basillie attempted to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes during their bankruptcy process, and launched a campaign to build support for the team to move to Hamilton. His bid failed once again, and he would drop his dream of moving a team to the Hamilton area.

That same month, rumors persisted that a group led by Tom Gaglardi were planning to purchase the Atlanta Thrashers with the intention of moving them to Hamilton. The Thrashers eventually moved to Winnipeg, Gaglardi bought the Dallas Stars and Hamilton was left out in the cold once again.


There haven't been any mentions of a team in Hamilton for about 15 years now, and it doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon.

With that being said, Hamilton could absolutely support a NHL team.

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