Vancouver's entire economy illustrates that if the moneyed class wants something to be, they'll get it, whether that is the three-quarters empty condominium towers or the megabucks rolling in for the UBC Thunderbirds football team. Or, in this case, a school with zero hockey history wanting to bring NCAA Division I college hockey to the Left Coast, even though their closest competition would be in Alaska and Colorado.
Be that as it might, you might rupture your credulity when you hear the one reason that former Vancouver Canucks VP Jon Festinger cited as evidence this would work:
From Howard Tsumura:
“When UBC hosted the (CIS Final 8) basketball championships, you saw how wild and committed the fans were,” said Festinger of the local fan base. “It’s a fun atmosphere because there is nothing like thousands of screaming university kids. You wanted to be a fan in that atmosphere." (Vancouver Province, April 16)Thank goodness for socialized medicine, since it covers having one's sides sewn back together. Apart from the Ryerson-UBC overtime instant classic, there were no "wild and committed" fans at CIS Final 8. There were hundreds of university kids, not thousands, and they were certainly not "screaming." That was also for UBC Thunderbirds basketball, which has a half-century or more of tradition.
To be fair, as Tsumura notes, the major junior Vancouver Giants want out of the old Pacific Coliseum, which could probably be retro-fitted and updated for a new tenant. Having a former Canucks exec who's worked in the broadcast industry suggests this is more than Wishful Thinking, although it will take years to do the groundwork for a team.
Moreover, the Pacific Time Zone is massively underrepresented in Division I hockey. There are only about six teams in or west of the Rockies. A new team on the west coast would have a leg up in recruiting Junior A players in the Alberta and B.C. leagues, and would offer a nicer winter climate than they would get in Bemidji or St. Cloud.
Taken on face, it's not the worst idea put forth this week, although it's not clear whether a TV audience would materialize. The Canadians who do tune in for broadcasts of Division I games on TSn are doing it to look in on a uniquely American hockey environment, and because they have a familiarity with the puck tradition at Boston College or Michigan. They might not know of Simon Fraser.
If it's such a good bet, though, why outright fabricate about the fan support, though? Or maybe it was code to take a swipe at UBC and CIS. If that's the case, nice play, Festinger. What's the next act?