As of Sunday the Canadian dollar was worth 77.07 cents U.S., its
highest rate of exchange in 10 years. In fact, since January the
value of the loonie has risen roughly 21%. That uptick is a huge
bonus for the league's six Canadian teams, which get almost all
their revenue in Canadian currency but have to pay players (by
far a team's biggest expense) in U.S. dollars.
Take the Maple Leafs, for example: At November 2002 exchange
rates the club's $54 million U.S. payroll last season was
equivalent to $84 million Canadian. This season their U.S.
payroll rose to $62 million, but at the current exchange rate it
converts to about $81 million Canadian. As the March trading
deadline gets closer, Canadian teams may find room in their
budgets to acquire players for the stretch run.