Wednesday night brought a couple of possible "last times" in the NHL.
For example, with the Red Wings' sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes, it could turn out to be the last time fans gathered to watch an NHL game in Glendale, Ariz. Rumors have run rampant that any deal to keep the team in the desert has dried up (I intended that pun) — paving the way for a relocation back to frosty Winnipeg.
Those pesky rumors also suggest that such an announcement would be imminent as soon as the club's playoff run ended — which it has, in rather short order. It could be today (Thursday) or even as soon as tomorrow. On one hand I'm hoping they don't move because I can only imagine the devastation for the few hardcore Coyotes fans. But then again, I'd be fascinated to see another rebranding this offseason — and thrilled to see Canadians getting one of their teams back.
Another last time: If the Tampa Bay Lightning don't turn things around in their series against the Penguins, Wednesday night could prove to be their last time wearing black jerseys for the foreseeable future. Icethetics readers are well aware of the rebranding efforts unveiled in January, which eliminated the black from the team's identity
Imagine if the Bolts were to win the Cup wearing black (again). It would make it a lot harder to see them completely lose that color scheme in the following season. But if they keep playing the way they have been, that won't be an issue. They face elimination in Game 5 first thing Saturday in Pittsburgh.
One more thing hockey fans are saying goodbye to are the WHL's Chilliwack Bruins. It's official. They played their final game on April 2 in a 6-4 loss to the Spokane Chiefs.
At a media conference today, the league announced the sale and relocation of the club to Victoria, B.C. The ECHL's Victoria Salmon Kings are expected to be sold or folded, according to the Times-Colonist. Either way, it boils down to two groups of fans losing their teams.
A website has already launched — www.vicwhl.com — for the Victoria franchise. By the way, the Chilliwack Bruins' website has been wiped from cyberspace and you'll find no reference to the team on the WHL's website. It's kind of annoying, actually. But I digress.
Currently, the new owners of Victoria's WHL team are holding a poll on their website asking fans what name they prefer for the team. The choices are Victoria Capitals, Dragons, Force, Royals, Tide and Thunder. (They do not offer a "none of the above" option. But Royals would probably be for the best.)
My guess is that poll couldn't matter less. The jerseys are probably already headed into production along with a load of knick-knacks with the new name and logo — whatever that may be. Though it could just be my cynical side saying that.
What else are we saying goodbye to in 2011?