Buffalo, New York Skyline

While it may have been a past ambition of yours to be a professional athlete, have comfort in knowing that their lifestyle is not always what it's cracked up to be. Professional athletes spend a significant amount of time away from their friends and families on the road, in and out of airports and hotels. And apparently, many athletes don't always enjoy the city they're playing in either. So what are some of the least favorite road trips for professional athletes?


National Hockey League

For hockey players, there were five cities that were pretty much unanimous league wide as the least favorite city to play in. Hint: they're all cold, most of them are in Canada and have historically had less than stellar teams. Not only did players not enjoy visiting these cities but many have expressed no interest in signing for these teams as a free agent. Many may be surprised that Toronto, Ontario made the list but NHL players hate the media circus that comes with playing a road game in Toronto. Toronto is the largest hockey market in North America.


Toronto Skyline

5. Toronto, Ontario. Home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.



Ottawa Skyline

4. Ottawa, Ontario. Home of the Ottawa Senators.



Buffaly, New York Skyline

3. Buffalo, New York. Home of the Buffalo Sabres.



Winnipeg, Manitoba Skyline

2. Winnipeg, Manitoba. Home of the Winnipeg Jets.



Edmonton Skyline

1. Edmonton, Alberta. Home of the Edmonton Oilers.




Similar to the NHL players who share a similar season and game schedule as NBA players, NBA players don't seem to enjoy cold weather cities too much. Memphis isn't exactly a cold weather city but it's not exactly a popular tourist destination either (for obvious reasons). NBA players also seem to be more zealous about nightlife in other cities than players of other leagues. These five cities aren't exactly known for their thriving nightlife, either. And who could blame Lebron James for leaving Cleveland for Miami several years ago?



Memphis Skyline

5. Memphis, Tennessee. Home of the Memphis Grizzlies.



Salt Lake City, Utah Skyline

4. Salt Lake City, Utah. Home of the Utah Jazz.



Indianapolis, Indiana Skyline

3. Indianapolis, Indiana. Home of the Indiana Pacers.



Cleveland, Ohio Skyline

2. Cleveland, Ohio. Home of the Cleveland Cavaliers.



Minneapolis, Minnesota Skyline

1. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Home of the Minnesota Timberwolves.



Major League Baseball

I found it interesting that Major League Baseball players considered New York one of their least favorite destinations for a game when playing the New York Mets (according to a Sports Illustrated poll) but one of their favorite destinations when playing the New York Yankees. Maybe they don't enjoy driving through the neighborhoods of "mob-owned" junkyards and auto body shops outside of Citi Field? Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs apparently hates playing in Cincinnati but Cincinnati didn't make the list. 

The cities that Major League Baseball players love playing in the most was overwhelmingly Chicago followed by San Diego and Seattle.


Citi Field, Home of the New York Mets

5. Flushing, Queens (New York City). Home of the New York Mets.



Cleveland, Ohio Skyline

4. Cleveland, Ohio. Home of the Cleveland Indians.



Washington, DC Skyline

3. Washington, DC. Home of the Washington Nationals.



Detroit, Michigan Skyline

2. Detroit, Michigan. Home of the Detroit Tigers.



Milwaukee, Wisconsin Skyline

1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Home of the Milwaukee Brewers.



National Football League

NFL players don't get time to enjoy road trips the way players of other professional leagues do. NFL players will typically arrive to a new city on Saturday and will have film, a team dinner and other meetings virtually up until bed time. So their least favorite NFL cities translates to the NFL cities that they would least likely to play in. As one would expect, Green Bay, Wisconsin appeared on the list with it's sleepy nightlife and freezing weather. Of course, Buffalo would make the list; do you remember what Willis McGahee said when he left the Buffalo Bills? Contract amount, franchise success, state taxes and local weather are the biggest factors when free agents decide to sign with a new NFL team.


Green Bay, Wisconsin Skyline

5. Green Bay, Wisconsin. Home of the Green Bay Packers.



Jacksonville, Florida Skyline

4. Jacksonville, Florida. Home of the Jacksonville Jaguars.



Buffalo, New York Skyline

3. Buffalo, New York. Home of the Buffalo Bills.



Cleveland, Ohio Skyline

2. Cleveland, Ohio. Home of the Cleveland Browns.



Oakland, California Skyline

1. Oakland, California. Home of the Oakland Raiders.


In summary, Cleveland is by far the most dreaded city for visiting professional athletes as it appeared on three of our four lists by each league. Who knows? Maybe NHL players would dread Cleveland if the city still had an NHL team? Many readers probably anticipated Detroit as a dreaded destination for professional athletes but it only appeared on the MLB list. As an avid traveler of stadiums and arenas around the country, let me tell you that every city with a professional sports franchise has something worth seeing in person; and you only need a day or two to see it all.