Golden Knights owner Bill Foley to @BrianBlessing on Vegas Hockey Hotline on facing Nate Schmidt/Canucks: "Yeah, but they're going to be in the Canadian division."— David Schoen (@DavidSchoenLVRJ) October 14, 2020
Does a Canadian division make sense for the NHL? From a marketing stand point it absolutely does and probably has broadcasters drooling, but it is also a terrible idea. There is a reason why Eastern Conference teams have a West Coast trip or two a year: they suck. The games happen late, the trips are often long, and you usually fall asleep before the end of the game.
But the same goes for the West Coast teams and their teams playing in the East: games start before you are home and while you are eating supper. It does not make a lot of sense from that point.
Outside of the fan standpoint, it also takes away some of the best rivalries the NHL already has with the likes of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins or the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs. The league risks losing out on those by creating an all-Canadian division.
The NHL is probably going to need to realign divisions again soon as the Seattle Kraken will be joining the league shortly. While the league is right to think about a Canadian division, it does not make practical sense for a division to span four time zones. It probably makes the most sense to slide the Arizona Coyotes into the Central Division and then add the Kraken into the Pacific Division. While that would not be as gimmicky as a Canadian Division, it would work best for fans and players alike.
The NHL has seemingly toyed with the idea of a Canadian Division for years and it honestly does not make sense. The timezones are too diverse for it to work for fans and it takes out too many natural rivalries including one between Seattle and Vancouver that you know will develop. It’s just a bad idea.