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Re: NHL Needs A Trim

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  • MoreyH
    When Jack Kent Cooke started the L.A. Kings, he estimated that there were 500,000 Canadians living in the L.A. area. After the Kings did not draw, Cooke
    Message 1 of 40 , Oct 27, 2010
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      When Jack Kent Cooke started the L.A. Kings, he estimated that there were 500,000 Canadians living in the L.A. area.

      After the Kings did not draw, Cooke commented, "Maybe they moved from Canada because they hated hockey."

      Maybe they didn't go to the Kings game because management decided to wear garish purple and gold uniforms, play in a shiny new arena in a horrible part of town, manufactured fake nicknames for the entire roster, and generally mismanaged the entire sports operation.

      Maybe it had nothing at all to do with the market.

      Hockey has been around long enough that blaming the fans for apathy or lack of quantity is spouting the corporate mantra of those who haven't figured it out how to make it work. Seventy years ago, Montreal was in danger of losing two NHL teams in a span of five years. Was Montreal no longer a hockey market since the death of Howie Morenz? Or was the ego and arrogance and lack of skill of the owners the blame for not energizing the community?

      Ya'll might be sick and tired of the Red Wings and their winning ways, but if you look at the infrastructure the Illitches have put in the Detroit area 25 years BEFORE they bought the Red Wings, you see a once-proud franchise resurrected instead of relocated, and a loyalty in a traditional market.

      Want recent? How about the Blackhawks? I went to the last game of the season four years ago, and it was Fan Appreciation Night. There might have been 5,000 in the building. Guess Chicago isn't a hockey town either.

      Owner dies. Son takes over. Community involvement and programs begin. Stanley Cup gets a parade. Hard to believe it is the same city.

      I promise you that if Toronto doesn't have the infrastructure it has between minor and junior hockey, the Leafs move.

      But the Leafs are blessed in a city with a hockey culture - the culture being a lot of history, and an infrastructure that screams hockey in just about every neighborhood. The last I looked, T.O. didn't fall of the face of the map during the lockout.


      Morey
      --- In hockhist@yahoogroups.com, Andrew <puppa93@...> wrote:
      >
      > I can say, in reference to the Tampa Bay area, this is a place where many northerners have relocated over the past 30+ years.  As a non-traditional hockey market, it's filled with people who grew up with hockey in northern cities, so, contrary to popular belief, the sport. when the Lightning began play in 1992, was not unknown to the people living here.  Tampa is greatly made up of people from NY/NJ, Chicago and a large number of Wisconsonites.  I know I've missed plenty of other areas, but won't leave out our heavily Canadian areas, such as Dunedin. 
      >  
      > Even former players buy their homes in the Tampa area. (there's lots of golf to be played here, too...)
      >  
      > -Andrew
      >
      > --- On Tue, 10/26/10, MoreyH <epenaltybox@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > From: MoreyH <epenaltybox@...>
      > Subject: [hockhist] Re: NHL Needs A Trim
      > To: hockhist@yahoogroups.com
      > Date: Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 6:36 PM
      >
      >
      >  
      >
      >
      >
      > Another idiot with a voice. The following cities have lost hockey teams during the years. Guess they weren't in a hockey market:
      >
      > Montreal
      > Toronto
      > Hamilton
      > Quebec
      > Calgary
      > Vancouver
      > Winnipeg
      > Minneapolis
      > St. Paul
      > Cleveland (Twice!)
      > Denver
      >
      > The following business models did not work for one reason or another and damned near folded, bankrupted or relocated or threatened to be relocated:
      >
      > Pittsburgh - TWICE!
      > Buffalo
      > Ottawa
      > Toronto
      > Montreal Canadiens (to Cleveland in the 40s)
      > Detroit (see attendance in the 70s - makes the Thrashers look like a full house - bk'd in the 30s)
      > Chicago
      > Los Angeles
      > Winnipeg
      > Edmonton (remember the proposed Houston Oilers?)
      > St. Louis
      > NY Islanders - too many times to count
      >
      > It's funny, but a lot of those cities became good hockey cities because of winning - AND infrastructure.
      >
      > And when a Phoenix doesn't win - AND it doesn't have infrastructure - all of a sudden idiots who know how to speak say that the market is to blame.
      >
      > In Phoenix, it probably is the market. In Minneapolis, it is the marketer. I suspect the same in Florida and Tampa, although neither has captivated a market like Dallas. And yet, Carolina still amazes me. Never would have figured that would work out.
      >
      > Morey
      >
      > --- In hockhist@yahoogroups.com, craigw@ wrote:
      > >
      > > What do we all think of this?
      > >
      > > http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Columnists/Buffery/2010/10/25/15825901.html
      > >
      > > You know what's depressing, besides going to the bank, doctor, dentist, or
      > > any other place where the news, invariably, is going to be bad?
      > >
      > > Reading Sports Illustrated if you're a hockey fan.
      > >
      > > That's not a shot at Michael Farber, the magazine's main hockey writer,
      > > who does excellent work and is a good guy.
      > >
      > > It's just that the mag, in my opinion, treats the league and the sport as
      > > an afterthought.
      > >
      > > But I don't blame S.I. entirely for that.
      > >
      > > I blame the NHL.
      > >
      > > In fact, I blame the NHL for the constant, never-ending stream of negative
      > > publicity in the media, especially in the U.S. â€" which has, over time,
      > > sucked the life out of the league and created a negative stereotype about
      > > the game that is reaching the point of being irreversible.
      > >
      > > It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more negative publicity the NHL gets,
      > > the less the fans will care. The less the fans care, the lower the
      > > attendance. The lower the attendance, the more negative publicity.
      > >
      > > What other professional league in the world has to deal with media
      > > reports, year after year, about dying franchises?
      > >
      > > There are some great stories in the NHL this season, but there are also
      > > too many stories about brutal attendance numbers in places such as
      > > Phoenix, Atlanta, Florida and Columbus.
      > >
      > > My good friend Mike (Zize Matters) Zeisberger, touched on this in Sunday's
      > > Sun.
      > >
      > > Over time, all this negative publicity has greatly damaged the league.
      > >
      > > Look at what's happened on Long Island this season.
      > >
      > > The Islanders, who have drawn flies for years at the crappy Nassau
      > > Coliseum, have resorted to having their games broadcast on Hofstra
      > > University's radio station, which will include intermission coverage and
      > > sideline reporting done by Hofstra students.
      > >
      > > Basically, it's a college production.
      > >
      > > How embarrassing is that? It's bush league.
      > >
      > > The game is too good for that.
      > >
      > > With the American economy promising to stay in the tank for years to come
      > > (think massive federal debt), the NHL is in for more tough times if they
      > > insist on staying in non-hockey markets.
      > >
      > > In fact, it's only going to get worse.
      > >
      > > But there is a solution ... and that is, well, you've heard it before.
      > >
      > > It's so simple.
      > >
      > > The NHL, once and for all, has to get out of the markets where the game
      > > doesn't matter.
      > >
      > > It's like a cancerous boil. You have to lance it.
      > >
      > > The board of governors has to, for once, think outside the box.
      > >
      > > In any viable market, in any sport, a team CAN go through some bad years
      > > and some rebuilding years and maintain a strong, loyal fan base.
      > >
      > > Look at the Buffalo Bills.
      > >
      > > The team's been lousy forever, the owner seems to be completely out of it,
      > > and it's a small market. Yet, the fan base is incredibly loyal and, until
      > > recently, continued to sell out every game.
      > >
      > > Buffalo is an NFL market, without question.
      > >
      > > After and before every Bills game, the talk on Buffalo radio, the coverage
      > > on TV and in the newspapers, is all Bills.
      > >
      > > And then you look at Columbus. There are those who insist that Columbus is
      > > a decent hockey market, and the fans have turned away only because the
      > > team has been lousy over the years.
      > >
      > > But I don't buy it.
      > >
      > > It's not a hockey market.
      > >
      > > A good hockey market is like Boston. When the team struggles, the
      > > attendance goes down, but there's no talk of the team leaving. And when
      > > the team gets good, the place is packed again, or nearly so.
      > >
      > > The daily newspaper in Columbus is the Dispatch.
      > >
      > > On its website there are two categories you can click on for sports. The
      > > first one is "OSU sports", Ohio State University. The second is "More
      > > sports". The Blue Jackets coverage is under "More sports."
      > >
      > > What's the point of being in these markets?
      > >
      > > I mean really.
      > >
      > > The NHL has to sit down with the owners with teams in cities that are
      > > constantly in trouble and figure out how to move their franchises to
      > > places like Quebec City. Or better, yet, talk about moving some teams to
      > > Europe, and start a European Division.
      > >
      > > Just imagine the excitement, and consequently, the positive publicity, if
      > > the NHL somehow was able to become the first major pro league to establish
      > > divisions in North American and Europe?
      > >
      > > Instead of playing in dead markets, you get to play in Stockholm, Helsinki
      > > and Prague.
      > >
      > > It would be incredible.
      > >
      > > I believe with a lot of imagination, it can be done. And clearly those
      > > cities would be great NHL markets.
      > >
      > > The NHL would reinvent itself as a leading-edge professional league.
      > >
      > > It would be hip, cool, and the S.I.'s of the world would have to take notice.
      > >
      > > steve.buffery@
      > >
      >
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      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • William Underwood
      No question there. But you miss my point, it is less whether it can do it than how folks feel about the plan. The current plan IS supported in Quebec as
      Message 40 of 40 , Nov 9, 2010
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        No question there. But you miss my point, it is less whether it can do it
        than how folks feel about the plan. The current plan IS supported in
        Quebec as opposed to good ole Marcel's "you build it and I'll stay.on your
        dime" . Now the ball is in Ottawa's court where unfortunately the Quebec fan
        has less pull and everything is in a national context.



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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