The sporting world was deeply impassioned when earlier this summer LeBron James announced his decision to leave Miami and go back to play "at home" in Cleveland. There have been mixed emotions from all parties involved (and not involved). Cleveland locals are obviously enthused to have the incredible athlete come back and represent his home team, despite the disappointment he caused when he left to go to Miami in the first place.
But what if all athletes "went home"? Specifically in the NHL this would be interesting. It is likely that teams like the Colorado Avalanche, the Florida Panthers, and the Carolina Hurricanes would have to fold for a lack of qualified players. The entire state of Florida doesn't have a single active NHL player. Colorado has about three, and Carolina has two.
Ontario would probably have to expand from two teams to about five teams to accommodate the talent, and London, Ontario -- just 200km west of Toronto -- would be able to put one of the strongest teams on the ice. London is currently and historically a hot bed for pumping out NHL stars.
Esteemed NHL Alumni from London include Eric Lindros, Craig Simpson, Walt McKenchnie, Craig Simpson, Craig MacTavish, Brad Marsh, Jeff Hackett, and the list goes on and on.
Actively in the NHL right now, London claims Jeff Carter, Sam Gagner, Corey Perry, Nazem Kadri, Joe Thornton, Drew Doughty, Greg Campbell, Brandon Prust, Cody McCormick, Curtis McElhinney, Matt Hackett and a slew of AHL players about to bust into the NHL at any minute. Coaching staff would of course be Dale Hunter, former Washington Capitals coach and current London Knights coach.
Think of the depth of these players. Finesse players like Perry and Kadri with the athleticism and physical game of Drew Doughty and Prust. The team's only weakness would possibly be their goaltending, but everyone knows the best defense is a strong offense.
As an aside; there are dozens of other active NHLers who may not have been born in London, but played their junior hockey there as a Knight. These include Patrick Kane, David Bolland, John Erskine, Michael Del Zotto, Daniel Girardi, Steve Mason, Danny Syvret, Dennis Wideman and so many more.
Whether there is something in the water or just the fact that being buried so deep in the snow belt doesn't give you many other options for activities, either or, London Ontario has been pumping out first-rate hockey players for decades and looks to do so for many more years to come.