Richest Ice Hockey Franchises

Ice Hockey is big business in North America.  Separate TV deal for America and Canada have really helped a sport that not 3 years ago, lost an entire season over a dispute between the league and the players. The league where worried about teams going bankrupt and spending far too much on player wages. The players, did not want any salary caps, and felt it was their right to earn as much as their skill dictated the club was willing to pay for them. They also disputed some questionable statistics coming from the league about percentage of team revenue spent on player wages.

However in 2014-15 season a big new Canadian Media deal saw a huge boost in income, and the average value of an NHL team rose 18.6%, to a huge $490 million. The twelve year deal, is worth of over two and a half times its previous Canadian media deal. This had lead to three team being worth over $1 billion. We list the top five below.

The Vancouver Canucks are our fifth placed team, and come in with a value of $800 Million. They have never won the Stanley cup, but have lost in three finals. They have won two titles  for being the best team in the leagues regular season before the play off’s, known as the Presidents trophy.

Next up on the list is the Chicago Blackhawks. The most successful team in recent NHL history. They have won three Stanley cups over the last five years, and six in their history. They where one of the NHL’s six original teams, and have a rich history.

Montreal Canadians, are our first billion dollar franchise. Another one of the “original six” They have won the Stanley cup a record 24times and 22 times since only NHL teams contested it after 1927. They are the oldest hockey team continually in existence, and predate the foundation of the NHL itself.

Second on the list are the New York Rangers, yet another member of the “original six”, and are worth $1.1 Billion. They where the first US based ice hockey team to win The Stanley Cup, and have won four in total.

Finally taking the top place on our Ice Hockey rich list are the Toronto Maple Leafs, possibly the most recognisable of all ice hockey teams to the casual fan. They are worth a whopping $1.3 billion, and are another member of the “original six” showing that the richer the heritage, the deeper the pockets. They have won thirteen Stanley Cups, yet their last triumph was 48 years ago, the longest drought between titles in NHL history. Showing again that recent success is not needed to be very valuable.

Chelsea Sign Pedro – Will He Live Up to Expectations?

pedroChelsea have signed Barcelona winger Pedro, after a slow start to the season. The 3-0 demolition by Manchester City at the weekend, has caused some panic amongst the Chelsea management, and the signing of Pedro could be a sign of that.

Chelsea are already blessed with many wingers, and is perhaps the one area of the side they do not need to improve. This will almost certainly mean that Juan Cuadrado leaves after failing since his big move move from Fiorentina in January. He is favoured for a move back to Italy. Pedro is a very versatile out and out wing forward, who can play off the front man, or even through the middle himself. He is very similar to Andre Schurle in a lot of ways, although perhaps slightly better at his link up play.

Many would have though an area that should be looked at is the central midfield for the blues. Matic and Fabregas excelled there last season, but the need to see Cesc further up the field is very apparent. A genuine powerful box to box type that would act as a foil to Matic sitting, and Fabregas being allowed to roam would surely suit. Missing out on players like Arturo Vidal seems a poor move, and a long linked move for wonder kid Paul Pogba seems a way off. Even if it would possibly take Chelsea to an entirely new level.

The defence appears to be taking care of itself, with John Terry still having plenty to offer, Gary Cahill in his prime, and the young gun Kurt Zouma soon be joined by John Stones it would seem. Stones will also offer some cover at RB for the ever present Branislav Ivanovic.

Pedro will certainly inject pace, and another option for Jose and his quest to get Chelsea back on track, but one wonders of investment in other areas perhaps would have been a better option than chasing another winger.

The Rise and Rise of Jordan Spieth

spiethAmerican golf has always been a dominant force. From Palmer to Nicklaus, to Kite to Watson to Woods, they are always looking for the next all time great. Usually they are heralded ahead of their arrival on the scene, but one young man slipped under the radar.

Jordan Spieth was not expected to be the next big thing, until he lit up the PGA tour by winning the John Deere at the age of 20, and boldly claiming that he was in the worlds top 5 when he played his best. Many saw this as arrogance, but he continued to improve and he narrowly missed out to Bubba Watson at the 2014 Master tournament. Still the golfing world had been put on high alert.

A year later he learned form his narrow miss to break all sorts of records on his way to winning the Masters, and then followed it up with back to back major success at the US Open. He cam unbelievably close to the grand slam at both the British Open and the US PGA. His runners up finish at the US PGA gave him the best performance in history in terms of a single year in the majors, and saw him not just enter the top five as he had so “arrogantly” predicted, but became the worlds number 1 ranked golfer.

His battle with fellow young hopeful Rory McIlroy seems set to define the next great stage in the sport of Golf. The talents of two players with opposing skills, and similar records. Could it yet be Jordan who breaks the Golden Bears long standing major record, will he surpass tiger in his dominance, or will he struggle with the pressures of maintaining it year in year out? We can not wait to find out! It certainly looks like golfs landscape has well and truly changed, and it is an exciting road ahead.

Best Beef for Stews

beef-3464_640As the nights are drawing in, and the weather is getting colder, BBQ season comes to an end and we start to think about different food types. Richer foods that can warm us up on a cold night, and leave us feeling a lot more full. Stews are a classic example of this rich, heavy food type. Yet many people struggle with good meats to create a perfect stew. Ones that will offer plenty of flavour, and not dry out over a long period of cooking. We have a few tips for the ones we find work best.

We start off with a basic and cheap option, chuck steak. Also known as braising steak., chuck can be a little on the fatty side, and you should always expect a basic amount of fat in this meat. However if you can find a nice fresh piece on the leaner side, it can make a fantastic stewing steak. You can leave it as generous slices, or dice it into cubes for whatever you may need it for. It must be cooked over a good amount of time, but not as long as some others on the list. It will stay relatively solid while cooking, and only break up once it is chewed, it will not fall apart while cooking so this is great for some recipes.

If you wanted a beef cut with a richer flavour, that is slightly leaner and can shred apart while it cooks, then beef skirt is a fantastic choice. Great to fill things like pasties as well as stews, this is probably my favourite slow cooking beef. The quality of the meat you get is far greater than the price suggests, and it is a fantastic option.

Finally the last cut we suggest is shin of beef. A cut that has a lot of fat and gristle in, it is cheap as a result. Yet if cooked properly the flavour is truly unique. The gristle in the meat if cooked slowly, over a very long period will go like a jelly, and soften. Releasing a lovely rich juice into the stew and giving the meat a hearty flavour. It must be cooked over a long time though, and is perfect if you have a slow cooker you can leave on all day.

Hopefully this list will help you have a great selection for when the weather really gets cold, and can help inspire you to create some truly fantastic winter stews.

Biggest Zoos in the World

rhino-173771_640A zoo is quite simply one of the best attractions for any major city. Some of the worlds most iconic places to travel to have fantastic zoo’s that draw the people in as much as anything else they have to offer. With that in in mind we look at the largest zoo’s in the world, and exactly where about they are located.

First up we have the fourth largest zoo in the world, and it is the Beijing zoo in Beijing China. It was founded in 1906 and is 219 acres in size. Currently it has around 950 species of animal. It has some animals specific to China such as the Chinese tiger and Chinese great salamander. It gets about 6 million visitors every year, and its Giant panda’s are its most visited animal.

At number three on the list we have to go to North America and into Canada, as we pay a visit to the Toronto Zoo. A huge 710 acres and with 491  species of animal it surpasses Beijing in size, if not variety. It has over 5,000 animals spread around 7 different areas in the zoo. This is to imitate the different regions of the world.

Number two on the list is the Columbus zoo and aquarium in Ohio. Set across 580 acres but with 793 different species it splits Beijing and Toronto in terms of species and size, giving it a higher ranking on our list. In total it has over 9,000 animals to cover its vast grounds, and there is plenty for its 2.3 million visitors a year to see. It operates as a non profit zoo, and its conservation program helps it attract key funding, as well as a wealth of respect and admiration all throughout the world.

Finally at number one we give you the Berlin Zoological gardens, in Berlin Germany. It was first opened in 1844, making it one of the oldest zoo’s in Europe. It may only sit across 84 acres, compared to some of the others on this list relatively small, but with over 1500 species of animal it had to go at the very top. After all a zoo is al about the animals within it. It gets around 3 million annual visitors, and is one of the most visited zoos in Europe. The total amount of animals is a whopping 19,500, dwarfing anything else on this list, and putting it firmly in number one spot.