Is there a place for true Single A hockey in the Midwest?
Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:30 PM
Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:11 AM
I'm not talking about vacant arenas, I'm talking about pro teams that are (Dayton, maybe a Bloomington, etc.)/were struggling (Port Huron, Flint, etc.) that had there been a stable, nonglorified beer league they would have joined rather than going to the NAHL.
Yeah, football is everything in the south but is done in late November at the latest.
Posted 17 April 2012 - 07:03 AM
I'm actually pleased to hear that Watertown proper may get the Privateers. I know the City of Watertown was looking to make some upgrades to the arena to help it meet some new codes, but it used to seat around 1,200 and I know seating wasn't going to decrease. Some, if Watertown's arena is ready, it'd be great to see, because Watertown has its own TV, newspaper, radio, and some population base to work with, and existing 1000 Islands fans could still go.
It's also interesting you mentioned Lapeer. I came very close to typing that if Fraser was under consideration, I might consider Lapeer more, just because Lapeer had some demonstrated interest. A well-run Lapeer team could certainly at least be a stop-gap team, with an eventual eye toward moving to Flint (Warriors say they're committed for two more seasons, I guess).
What's the status of the Traverse City North Stars?
Would Battle Creek be a possibility to join the FHL?
Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:56 AM
They had an opportunity for an FHL team commitment as recently as February and blew them off. Arena management thought there would be a franchise swap with the NAHL going to the Soo and the NOJHL going to Traverse City. That didnt happen and wont happen now. They had a chance to be involved in an AAHL relaunch and blew that off. The opinion being expressed by people in and around the arena was that someone would save the North Stars, or someone would relocated another Tier II team there. Why would anyone do that when the arena is expensive and the fan support was pitiful? "Because we are Traverse City, we have money, and we hold Red Wings camp here." Seriously that was an answer I received from one person, paraphrased of course.
What Centre Ice hasnt calculated outside of the 40K in ice fees lost is concession revenue, beer revenue, reduced advertising value to sponsors because of reduced arena traffic, and reduced economic impact in the community with the loss of 25 player residents. Not tomention all the hotel room sales, groceries, entertainment after games and other items important to the area in winter. The youth association hasnt calculated a raise in ice fees because the arena needs to make up for the hole in the budget, and families in the association dont even see it coming. The whole thing has ripples that will be felt for years and they could have been avoided.
Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:21 PM
So, if the North Stars are indeed history, then I certainly do hope things come together for Traverse City to get Single-A hockey owned by knowledgeable ownership. As desperately as Danville needs teams in its vicinity, I would certainly hope that the FHL would consider allowing other teams into the league for little to no expansion fee, etc. If another Michigan team were to follow in quick order, then that'd be three teams in the region. If it could be the return of the Battle Creek Revolution to pro hockey, all the better. If the FHL could get Dayton, Traverse City, and Battle Creek, that'd be fantastic news. If not Battle Creek and somewhere else, fine. I'd even be thrilled if the Chi-Town Shooters returned. Can all of these markets survive if the FHL ever moves up to a league requiring 2,000 fans per game? No. But, they might just be able to make it under the current model and serve as the basis for Single-A expansion in the region when some of the bigger markets almost inevitably lose the hockey they currently have. Plus, perhaps one day there is a stratification to Single-A hockey in the region with one model that requires 1,000 and another closer to 2,000 (nothing wrong with that).
In reality, then this might be the FHL's only chance to set the deck for Single-A hockey in the region. I have said this before, the FHL has a real chance to corner the market on Single-A hockey in three regions--not immediately, but eventually. If I'm the FHL, I do almost anything it takes to help fill in at least three teams close to Danville for 2012-13. If the FHL can establish a legitimate presence in the Midwest, then they are the existing game in the region when Bloomington, Muskegon, Flint, and Port Huron lose their current hockey teams.
Posted 21 April 2012 - 09:37 AM
Posted 21 April 2012 - 11:39 AM
Posted 21 April 2012 - 11:45 AM
The AAHL had good players, filled a void for IHL and some ECHL call ups. It was entertaining and cheap. But every team lost money every year. Why are we even hopping this happens again? Are some people willing to loose a little every year to own a team? Sure, some people with experience are willing to do it. The problem comes when you try to find 6 teams minimum that can actually come close to loosing less than 50 to 100K per year. Most people cant afford that, and if they can, they could probably afford a CHL team but dont go that route because they see loosing more money. I am aware of two people in Michigan that want to, and could make teams work. The FHL has spoken to both of them, but not in months. Neither of them would be willing to start a team for next season after May 1st.
Posted 21 April 2012 - 11:48 AM
I have seen the arena, and I think it could work if you have a ton of money to invest. It costs more to operate in major markets because media is more expensive to buy. If you dont spend on media in a city like Lansing, you wont make it to Christmas. Ice costs in Lansing arent cheap, housing isnt cheap, and I dont know if the arena would have a dedicated dressing room for a team.
Posted 22 April 2012 - 01:17 PM
I couldnt agree more. The FHLs only hope is stop expanding to marginal arenas. I think the North/Northeast couold have a league similar to the SPHL. Their would be a northeast division and a midwest the thing that would make it work would be the fact they wouldnt have to play eachother at all/that much. Hopefully after a couple of years they could be on the SPHL level and maybe the two champions could square off. Recognition from higher leagues would also help Single A and for that matter the ECHL/CHL situation also. This is my view for a single A league, once all of these midwest owners realize that 400 fans a game wont cut it. some of these might be a little hard to imagine but this would be in a couple of years were the CHL/ECHL situation would all be settled and the teams that folded or got left out the ECHL/CHL would be looking for a place to play, along with the strong FHL teams. basically it would be a new UHL but it wouldnt be competing with AA leagues.
1000 Islands (Have they folded? i know they were having rink troubles)
Wheeling (would love for them to stay in the ECHL but new owners will probably get sick of losing money/low attendance in a couple of years
Erie ( OHL possibly going to hamilton, old rink but its good for single A standards)
Jamestown (talking about renovations to add seats and they are suffering in NAHL)
Youngstown (beautiful facility would be GREAT for the league but if they were to move from junior the ECHL would come calling)
Lewiston (All they want is USHL and they have pulled out of talks with FHL but what if it never comes? quite a gamble, maybe if their isnt USHL hockey there in a couple of years and this proposed league is doing alright things would be different
Bloomington (AA future is uncertain and unless the USHL came which i really dont see they could be looking for hockey)
Flint (warriors have failed, the people of flint want pro hockey back at perani)
Port huron (falcons are having same attendance problems has warriors)
Danville (more regional opponents could make for better attendance)
Dayton (already rumored to be making single A move anybody have info on this?)
Muskegon (longshot but attendance has been dropping)
st.charles (only if they are not an ECHL or CHL team in a couple of years)
chicago (amazing rink compared to the rest of the league. remember this is years from now, if somebody wanted to try it and was scared of ECHL budget why not?
It would be ideal to have a 11-12 team league with anyone of the markets i mentioned above. 2 divisions would rarely play except for finals keeping regional rivalries and travel costs down.
Jacksonville (peviously housed SPHL and they have a very nice arena also heard they wanted hockey back)
POSSIBILITES FOR LEAGUE
Rio Grande (probably NAHL)
Laredo (probably NAHL)
anyone have info on them? there was a talk about SPHL but the NAHL seems to be best option.
not much would change in the SPHL as they have a pretty good set up. a few questions though
1. could/will bossier return?
2. do rio or laredo have any chance of staying pro or is it NAHL or bust?
Edited by Drake8, 22 April 2012 - 01:18 PM.
Posted 22 April 2012 - 04:56 PM
Posted 25 April 2012 - 02:13 PM
I still don't think junior hockey is the end-all answer. If fighting were to be banned in junior hockey, things change big time. Big time.
We'll see to what degree junior hockey is a superior answer to Single-A hockey in some markets by what happens, long term, in Muskegon, Flint, Port Huron, and now Johnstown. Can the NAHL work in Texas? It sure looks like it? The old Midwest and now Mid-Atlantic? We'll see.
I have little doubt that 2,000 fans would come out each game for a well-run, professional Single-A team in Muskegon at Walker Arena, and if you're operating on a model that allows that... I have little doubt that 1,500 fans would come out each game for a well-run, professional Single-A team in Flint (maybe even 2,000 if they had hope of not being patsies to a specific team in a welfare hockey league). I feel confident Port Huron could turn out 1,500 for such a Single-A team, too, and the same goes for Johnstown.
I'm just not sold on the NAHL being able to capture the interest of these former minor pro markets in the Midwest and Great Lakes region. Maybe it'll slowly happen, and I understand why the NAHL is trying it (and not just greed by the league commissioner/president). Since it looks like nobody is going to try to start a Single-A league in Texas, have at it NAHL. It'd be great to see a swath of teams down there averaging 1,750+ fans per game, if not over 2,000 fans per game.
Edited by kwey24, 25 April 2012 - 02:22 PM.
Posted 25 April 2012 - 06:19 PM
The Falcons are doing great and will probably advance to the Robertson Cup, but they are not creating the following that even the Icehawks had. I still contend that cities that support their team all year want that team to have the chance to win the league and cup in that town and not a nuetral site in Texas.
With a well planned league format and controlled cost, I think it could work. Flint and Port Huron would love to renew the pro rivalry they use to enjoy.
Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:29 PM
Generally, the minimum width allowed per person is 18 inches (there are, of course, recommendations for 22 to 24 inches for more comfortable seating). But, if we proceed from the 18 inches allowed (determined by localities and whatnot). Let's also note that the minimum width generally allowed for aisles is four feet (width dividers, so 2 feet on each side of that).
So, let's say a standard arena has bleacher seating from goal line to goal line (which will hopefully be 180 feet or so). Then, let's say this will have a standard of six aisles (one on each end, four intertior). You now have 156 feet for the bleachers. Divide that by 18 and you get seating for 104 people per row. Then, multiple the number of rows and you then have the seating capacity.
This is roughly the setup for The Edge Arena in Holland, Michigan. It has 9 rows, and its bleachers run from goal to to goal line (roughly), and it has five or six aisles. So roughly, we now that The Edge seats around 936 people.
Now, the last photos I saw of Traverse City's arena is that their bleachers did not span blue line to blue line. They appeared to be about 20 feet short of each blue line. If that is indeed the case (still the case), they'd have about 114' of bleacher space after accounting for their aisles (six aisles). They'd be roughly bleacher space for 76 people per row. They have 9 rows, and that multiplies out to 684. There's also the new mezzanine bleachers (two or three rows that don't have the best view in that I don't think you can actually see all of the one offensive zone when seated in the bleachers (similar to the side boards the University of Illinois' ice arena, where the bleachers are raised above the ice surface in a bowl overlooking the ice sheet). In the end, when you factor in the lounge, suite, handcapped area, and endboard bistro tables, you'd be hard-pressed to get much more than 1,000 per game in Traverse City's arena (even though I see numbers like 1,500 thrown around on various sites online).
The same goes for The Summit at Capital Centre in Lansing. It may have 14 rows, but it doesn't run the entire distance from goal line to goal line. In fact, nearly an entire offensive zone has no seating (official dimensions for an offensive/defensive zone is 75 feet - 64 feet plus 11 feet behind goal line). I'd be incline to put the seating for that arena closer to 800. There is additional space to work with for things, so you could potentially consider Lansing under current Single-A models, but it could never compete in a Single-A league designed for teams that can average 1,500 or more fans per game.
So, just numbers to remember when gauging the seating capacity of an arena.
Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:30 PM
Go Generals! Go Michigan! Go Red Wings! Go Pistons! Go Tigers! Go Lions!
Posted 11 May 2012 - 08:28 AM
What's troubling me is the lack of PR this team has......case in point, the Blaze GM was on WJBC (local radio station) 4 weeks ago in April announcing a new coach will be announced by June 1st. Granted it isn't June 1st, but can't they say "we've narrowed the pool of coaches to THIS MANY?". Also the last dated post on the Blaze site was April 10th and that really didn't have anything to do with the Blaze. It almost feels like last year all over again......
They need to take some pointers from the minor league Baseball team in Normal. They were at my school the other day and GAVE EACH kid 4 vouchers for ANY Tuesday night home game the rest of the season.
The Blaze offered reduced price tickets to 1 game last year....
Posted 11 May 2012 - 10:51 AM
Indeed. You know J, as a Bloomy hockey fan myself, although 90 miles away, the whole scene has become so mundane I rarely follow anymore. I long ago took a show my eyes don't tell my ears approach to anything Bloomy hockey.
Best thing going on down there hockey wise is the arena. Hard to believe that beautiful facility would ever sit dormant of hockey, for too long anyways. So IMO it's a pretty safe bet that hockey in one form of another will be there for the Bloomy hockey fan....... Keep throwing hockey leagues/teams/owners against the wall and sooner or later something will stick and the fans in Bloomy will get the hockey they deserve.
RIP Huckleberry. 1995-2009.... Thanks for 14 unforgettable years Huck. You will forever be loved and missed.
Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:07 PM
Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:47 PM
Welcome, fowl. .......How long have you followed Bloomy hockey and how many NAHL Springfield games have you attended? What's that arena like in Springfield?
RIP Huckleberry. 1995-2009.... Thanks for 14 unforgettable years Huck. You will forever be loved and missed.
2 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users