November 14, 2005

Don't crap on the small "non-hockey" markets.: Clubs that hockey fans love to make fun of are drawing better than some northeast teams and an original 6 team.

posted by HATER 187 to hockey at 12:49 PM - 17 comments

Hardly an exhaustive analysis. But yeah, I think the average fan tends to undervalue the dedication and resources of some of the Southern U.S. teams' ownership groups. Putting actual contending teams on the ice won't hurt. Teams like Phoenix, Nashville, and Carolina certainly aren't going anywhere. Not that Pittsburgh is any more likely to move. Threats over the lack of a new arena are just threats. Heck, I can't see any team going anywhere in the near future.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:01 PM on November 14, 2005

I don't undervalue their fans' dedication, that's for sure. The one time I went to a hockey game outside the snow belt (in San Jose), every home-town fan there was wearing every single bit of logo gear that their ample incomes could provide. Every. Single. One of them had the shirt, sweater, hat, jacket, 3-D glasses, stuffed shark mascot, you name it. Who wouldn't love consumerbots, I mean fans like that?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:08 PM on November 14, 2005

Well, I for one did think that Carolina couldn't survive - talk about a weird marriage - but they are thriving. Proof positive that winning is the best cure for attendance in the new places. Nashville always struck me as a good place (good size, not much else going for it pro-sports wise, and a strong desire to be recognized nationally for sports), Phoenix is another decent spot - good sports towns are good places to go, but the NHL just went too far, too fast and ignored the need for stability in its core markets. Long Island is a disaster area - that place blows in terms of location and Public Transportation. Chicago is owned by a rash of idiots - you put a better hockey team there, it will bring fans back. And New Jersey, well, I don't know what you have to do to gt fans there. It's only been the dominant force in the league for a decade (with apologies to Detroit). But Colorado has done very well. The Kings survoved post-Gretzky and the Sharks are still bringing them in. Hockey is still cool in places where, by all rights, it shouldn't be. That said, no one should be too surprised when some teams start to move. Pittsburgh being one of them. Hey, if LA can lose football, Pittsburgh can lose hockey.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:47 PM on November 14, 2005

Heh, yeah—I've never lumped the Sharks in with the perceived-weak Southern franchises, not since I spent a few months living in Mountain View a few years back. They's some intense kids out dere.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:48 PM on November 14, 2005

This is true. Just watching the games in San Jose on TV, you can tell they've done a great job of selling the game to the families in the region. Same thing for Nashville; in both places the fans are young, vocal and sport the colors. I can't speak for Chicago, but the Islanders have plenty of real fans across the island who don't go to the games. There's nothing else in the area. I've thought that the perfect setup for the Islanders would be to build a big ole mall, Hartford-style, and put an arena next door. But the south does get a bit too much grief about attendance. Hell, Atlanta is the worst sports town in the world, and even the Thrashers draw okay.

posted by chicobangs at 01:54 PM on November 14, 2005

Chicago is owned by a rash of idiots nah...just one Mr. William Wirtz. One thing the Hawks have going for them is Wirtz is getting on in years. I can't (or won't) believe the successive ownership could possibly get any worse. Getting rid of Wirtz begets getting a better club begets fans' assess back in the seats...and hopefully in front of the tube.

posted by willthrill72 at 01:55 PM on November 14, 2005

Long Island is a disaster area That is an understatement. Managment still dosen't "get it" when it comes to who to sign or for how much. They seem OK with getting in the playoffs (a distinction held by over 50% of NHL tams each year) I said it before I'll say it again Cali is good to hockey. Colorado was a brilliant move. I still hate the Carolina move and not because of the fans (they support that club) but because it came at the expense of the Whale. I think Philly is a good example of how to run a franchise. Beautiful building, managment who know hockey, put a contender out on the ice each year, its a good recipe for success.

posted by HATER 187 at 01:59 PM on November 14, 2005

Didn't someone say here that the Canes are heavily non-corporately funded/attended? NoMich, was that you? I think hockey's blue-collar appeal hockey is under-valued, or at least is currently ignored. But I agree with Duha from this past weekend's Satellite Hotstove, a NHL franchise should move back to Canada, preferrably Winnipeg. One less American franchise could put a kink in Bettman's plans for a national television deal, but is that the only route for a professional sports league now? National coverage? What happened to not over-reaching, and more pointedly, learning from past mistakes?

posted by garfield at 02:32 PM on November 14, 2005

its called proof reading, stupid.

posted by garfield at 02:33 PM on November 14, 2005

Bring Hockey back to Winnipeg.............? I was a Jets fan, and went to a number of games in winnipeg.... I was always suprised to find that the fans there cheered more for the opponent than for the jets! Maybe that was because I always went to see Toronto play... It just felt sort of wrong to be in winnipeg for a jets game and see a sea of mapleleaf sweaters around the rink. I think the winnipegers didn't really like the jets. That being said... I have not been back to Winnipeg since the Jets left. Maybe they would appreciate a team more now that they haven't had one for a while. Canadiens confuse me.

posted by RadioZombie at 03:06 PM on November 14, 2005

Philly, put out a contender each year? Argghh, ugh, okay, stay with the thread. Kudo's to the fans out there supporting Nashville, (how about that Vokuon), Carolina, and the likes. Also, hasn't Phoenix adopted the Jets playoff "white out" for the playoffs. I've always loved that. As my brother Matt would say, "Hockey, hockey, hockey". Nuff said!

posted by RedStrike at 03:27 PM on November 14, 2005

The problem with bringing a team to Winnipeg is not attendance or interest for the league itself, it's television. It won't help get a US contract, and there's no room on Canadian TV for another team (Ron McLean's already apologizing to some market for not showing their game every Saturday night; another Winnipeg Jets is only going to make that worse). And Black Hawks fans, all Torontonians who lived through the dark decades of Harold Ballard's ownership feel your pain.

posted by chicobangs at 03:45 PM on November 14, 2005

Philly, put out a contender each year? Would suck-ass choke artisit sound better? It's my club guy,they kill me every fucking year when they get close but don't win it all. The positive spin is that they contend. The truth, suck-ass choke artist.

posted by HATER 187 at 03:47 PM on November 14, 2005

Ron McLean's already apologizing to some market for not showing their game every Saturday night Yeah, Toronto can only play so many teams in a season.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 03:51 PM on November 14, 2005

My sentiments and sympathies Hater. Though, as much as I detest to say so, I think Hitchcock was one of the best things to happen to that franchise in a looong time. Go Wings!

posted by RedStrike at 03:51 PM on November 14, 2005

Didn't someone say here that the Canes are heavily non-corporately funded/attended? NoMich, was that you? Si, that was me. About the only corporate support that this team gets is with the luxury boxes. Otherwise, it's mainly families and groups of drunk friends out to have a rawkus time. One other thing should be mentioned about hockey in the Raleigh area is the phenominal growth of skating rinks. When I moved here in 1995, there was one, maybe two, skating rinks in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Thrill). Now there are a veritable cornucopia of them, all within about a 1/2 - 3/4 hour drive from my house in downtown Raleigh. Closer to exact number would be something along the lines of six or seven of them in use now. Youth hockey has grown by pretty big numbers as well. I guess before the appearance of NHL hockey in North Cackalacky, there were a couple of dozen kids playing organized youth hockey in the Triangle. Now we're up to well over a thousand. We even have travel teams that do really well in tourneys throughout North America. Adult leagues are plentiful as well. I'm sorry I don't have any hard numbers, but this is all heard from a guy I know that is heavily involved in organized youth hockey in Raleigh. Yeah, I know, it's the old, "I heard from my cousin's co-worker's sister's dog" and all that, but there you have it.

posted by NoMich at 04:00 PM on November 14, 2005

Maybe CBC needs a deuce, or deux, if you will. TV can't be everything, can it? And Simulcasting can't be that difficult. Thanks for that, NoMich. You're the reason I have faith in the Hurrican fan base.

posted by garfield at 04:06 PM on November 14, 2005

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