How green can the NHL get?

Interesting article by the Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre today, focusing on Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell and his concern for the environment. Apparently 16 members of the Canucks purchase carbon offsets against the extensive air travel the team undertakes.

Here, you can find one Kukla’s Corner commenter’s estimate of the distances travelled by each NHL club approximately one-third of the way through the 2007-08 schedule.

From an entertainment perspective, virtually everyone not named Lou Lamoriello has been clamoring for a more balanced schedule. I’m personally very happy any time the Canucks play against a team not named Minnesota, Calgary, Edmonton, or Minnesota. And as a Vancouver-based writer, I found it ludicrous that my first in-person glimpse of Sidney Crosby came, not at GM Place, but at the 2006 IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia.

But from an environmental perspective, cutting down the amount of air travel should be the goal. And a more balanced schedule with increased inter-conference play is only going to crank up the mileage. What you really want is, say, a “Northwest Division” that consists of Vancouver taking the train to play Calgary and Edmonton and expansion teams in Seattle and Portland, and ferrying over to play the revived Victoria Cougars, who are seeking their first Stanley Cup since 1925.

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