For a few years now, we’ve been hearing about an NHL team in Markham, Ontario. Tonight, the dream to see such fantasy take realistic form was temporarily squashed when Markham City Council voted 11-2 in opposition of GTA Sports & Entertainment‘s plan. The arena hungry organization – headed by a man named Graeme Roustan – who has been painted in Markham as the real life version of Lyle Lanley – the man who brought the monorail to Springfield in The Simpsons – was shutdown.
It’s not that Markham – a city of over 300,000 inhabitants – part of the Greater Toronto Area’s populous of more than 5 million – ranking fourth in North America for population behind Mexico City, New York City, and Los Angeles – doesn’t want an NHL arena. It’s that Roustan’s plan required the city to front too much money without the guarantee of an NHL franchise.
Markham is widely known as Canada’s high-tech capital, loaded with massive corporations. However, for all the money the city may possess, its people have spoken, and they don’t oppose a 20,000 seat arena, they just don’t desire the burden of paying for it.
There is no telling if Markham will get another opportunity to construct a massive NHL sized arena, and that thought has the mayor wondering if perhaps today’s down-vote was a blown opportunity:
Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti : "I'm worried we may have skipped a wonderful opportunity away for our city. "
— Tony Ambrogio (@Tony_Ambrogio) December 5, 2013