NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Purist that I am, I still read the hardcopy of The Hockey News (THN) most weeks. As such, I don't have a link for "Where The Tax Man Cometh" from the must-read publication's Oct. 28, 2012 issue.The subtitle states Certain cities offer better tax breaks for NHL players looking to get more bang out of their big bucks. The article notes where the National Hockey League's Canadian franchises and a handful of U.S. teams rank in terms of the amount of after-tax income players take home. Not surprisingly, the three California cities that have major professional hockey -- Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose -- also have the lowest after-tax income with a 56% average tax rate. The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames tied for first, coming in with the highest after-tax income at 39%. The remaining Canadian clubs come in as follows: Vancouver (43%), Winnipeg (46%), Toronto and Ottawa (49%) and Montreal (50%). Beyond that, THN didn't offer much thought or analysis other than an observation from an economics professor, who cited a study that shows pro soccer players in Europe are among the country's most mobile labor force members. They often move for tax reasons, which, logically leads one to believe that a) NHL players would do the same and b) teams in states with the highest tax rates (and lowest after-tax income) have to pay more to mitigate the dollars lost to government coffers. I wanted to know more so I took the extra step of going to the study THN got the information from. It came from an organ-I-zation that advocates lower taxes, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. As such, the relatively aggressive title of their press release foreshadowed a much more biased approach than the one THN used: here. Some other tidbits from the "study" that asks the question, Are the confiscatory tax rates of Ontario and Quebec a factor in Canada's 20-year Stanley Cup drought?:
- With apologies to the lonely bullet point, there are no other meaningful tidbits to list.
This paper does not claim that lower taxes will automatically lead to a successful NHL franchise.Right. We just wanted to hit your hot button on taxes so that, maybe, somewhere down the line, you'll support one of our initiatives for lower taxes. What better way than to loosely tie high taxes to the fact that Canadian hockey teams haven't won a Cup since Montreal did in 1993 -- yes, the tax-hampered Canadians in the nation's most politically absurd province, Quebec. I have an alternative explanation for why Canadian franchises haven't had as much success as many, though hardly all, of their American counterparts. Canadian fans go to hockey games no matter what. There's less incentive for ownership groups to put competitive teams on the ice -- regardless of how much they spend in the process -- when they know the seats will always be filled, as is the case across the country. I'm not going to make the same mistake the CTF did and claim this is the reason why, while backtracking to say that it only likely contributes. I don't believe that's the case. However, the CTF needs to bring a lot more to the table to convince me that its weak, and largely cherry-picked anecdotal argument, is any better than mine. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.