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Milwaukee not an NHL market (..Yet)

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Today on the Bill Michaels Show, a number of people blew up host, Bill Michaels' Twitter with calls for an NHL franchise to come to Milwaukee in place of the fledgling Milwaukee Bucks. Now what some of these people said for reasoning was the old adage "if you build it they will come," or "my money won't go to a loser like the Bucks."

But the interesting point is that with the pouring out of supportive talk, there hasn't been a strong movement from the city and the people who talk about it in years. The BMO Harris Bradley Center was built with the idea of hosting a major hockey team in mind, but it never happened.

Milwaukee has been graced, though, with a successful AHL franchise in the Milwaukee Admirals. The Admirals in their time in Milwaukee have played both in the AHL, USHL, and the now defunct IHL, winning the AHL's Calder Cup in the'03-'04 Season with a USHL title in 1976. As well, the Admirals have won 8 division titles, 4 in the IHL and 4 in the AHL between 1982 and 2011 and are currently sitting in playoff position in the AHL Western Conference with a handful of games left to play this season.

But the support for hockey in the city is not through the BMO Harris Bradley Center roof. Milwaukee average attendance for Admirals games are just higher than league average of 5,384 at 5,751 and ranks 11th in the AHL. The top attendance in the league goes to the Hershey Bears (PA.) with an average of 9,591 fans per game.

Also, Toronto and Chicago are the only 2 cities that host both an NHL and AHL franchise. Milwaukee, while an underrated sports city, is not hockey hungry like Toronto or Chicago is. Toronto has even been rumored to be in talks to host a 2nd NHL franchise, much like Chicago, New York, and L.A. do in other major sports. On top of that, any NHL franchise that comes to Milwaukee will have to pay a massive amount to the Chicago Blackhawks in location royalties.

All in all it would be at least 7-10 years, barring a "Cinderella" type of season or two, for a Milwaukee franchise to be successful and relevant in the NHL, while spending major amounts of money to update the Bradley Center, market the team, and pay NHL salaries for players and personnel, and the city is just not prepared for that, yet.

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