• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Tailing the Komets

Continuing the discussion

My only concern with all of this is why are we sure it's better in another league? That is not meant as a criticism but a legitimate question. The number of teams should not be the only factor, either, because the UHL proved that just means you can lose them.

I'm not convinced it is better in another league, and I haven't had that question answered to my satisfaction yet. Over 20 years, I've seen a lot of crap come and mostly go. There were just as many BS artists in the old IHL as there were with the new. It's the same in every league. It's always been amazing to me how people who made their money in another business can become so stupid in this one.

I have yet to hear a solid plan plan for minor league hockey. That's one reason why the new IHL at the time was interesting -- it seemed to have a plan. Then the economy bombed.

I think this is a minor league hockey business problem, not necessarily just an IHL problem. The IHL is not stable right now, and I'm tired of that, too, but I'm not convinced any of the other leagues won't be facing the same problems next year (or aren't right now). Look at the attendance figures and multiply by $10, and you can easily see the numbers don't add up to the costs.

So if the Komets are going to move, it has to be to a league that has a solid plan on how to attack these problems. Just saying these problems are going to go away is laughable. Just moving to another league isn't good enough without a plan. Then you might as well stay in the IHL and try to tough it out because at least here you can control costs a little.

It's become obvious to me the minors are not going to restructure along geographical lines which just proves my point because that is their best chance at stability and survival. If they aren't going to do that, why would things necessarily be better in another league for the Komets or other IHL teams?

I don't think junior hockey is going to work in these markets just because the costs are lower, and it's not a given that moving to another league is an answer, either, just to, well, move to another league. How will either of those be different to the average Joe fan? Just going juniors or moving leagues doesn't necessarily answer that question. It might buy them more time to come up with a plan, but that's not guaranteed, either. 

The fans who take the time to blog consistently are not the major concern, because you will more than likely show up no matter what league they are playing in. That's not a knock on anyone's intelligence, loyalty or whatever, just an observation based on the Komets having the same 3,000-4,000 core fan base for 58 years. It has not increased or decreased a ton during all that time. That's the same fan base that shows up on Monday nights for playoff games. That's your core audience. There's another 2,500-3,500 fans on top of that that show up based on a number of factors, including the team's record, the individual players, promotions, etc. That is what fluctuates, and truthfully that is where they make their money. 

The major question is how does moving leagues help or hurt that secondary core audience? That's the milti-million dollar question, and right now, no one really knows the answer. Everyone has theories, but it's not their money they are gambling with so theories are easy. Despite the last six years, it is not an absolute given the Komets will make money no matter where they play. If that were true, Ken Ullyot and Colin Lister and Ernie Berg, and Harold Van Orman and Ray Perry and Bob Britt and David Welker and their families would all be a lot more well off than they are now. If that were true, the Frankes would not have lost millions in the late 1990s. This is a risky, riskey business that doesn't give many second chances.

The only constant in Fort Wayne is you better win and win big or you'll get punished for it at the box office. It's always been that way in every sport that ever played here, all the way back to before the Pistons. There's a reason why the Komets and the TinCaps are the only minor league teams to last more than 10 years in Fort Wayne, and I believe the TinCaps are on their third ownership group. Thank goodness for Mike Nutter.

I don't know what's going to happen. I don't think all the IHL owners have any idea right now what's going to happen because it seems to change week-to-week depending on which reporter they have talked to most recently. I've said this before: They're going to wait until the last possible second and then pick whichever option looks best to them at that moment because right now, none of them do. There are no perfect, absolute right answers in any of this.

Posted in: Komets


Blake Sebring
Tue, 05/11/2010 - 10:29pm

One last thing, the other leagues should be begging the IHL teams to come into their leagues because then they can all do something they haven't been able to do for 10 years: Grow. The IHL teams might actually be in a very good position to bargain from.

But does anybody think, no matter what happens, we won't all be having this same discussion a year from now? Yeah, right. Same or different league, same discussion.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 12:50am

But it seems that every blogger has an opinion, however very few have the capitol to put their money where their mouth is. The Frankies have been able and willing to gamble on this team from the time they took over yet all they get is criticized and lambasted by a few who really think they have the answers. I question is really? What have you risked on this team? And please don't bring up the lame argument that you are a SOH. Really what does the average blogger here know about the business of minor league hockey? And what would they risk to keep it here?

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 5:57am

Blake for Commissioner of all minor-league hockey.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 6:30am

Blake, well said and spot-on.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 7:17am

The IHL consists of 7 teams. 6 next year.

3 are legitimate franchises. FW, QC, PH.

Flint and Dayton? C'mon... be serious.

Blooington has been fighting with thier arena from day 1. Thier attendance goes down every year, and they don't have the resources to field a team that can compete for the Cup.

Does the ECHL have problem franchises? Yes. 50%? No.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 7:25am

"The fans who take the time to blog consistently are not the major concern, because you will more than likely show up no matter what league they are playing in. That

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 7:52am

Blake -

You're asking the wrong question, discussing the wrong thing.

It's not about Fort Wayne in the IHL vs the ECHL or CHL...

It's the AHL. It's about cheating the fans from an AHL product they could easily have otherwise, and it's about the AHL being cheated a traditional, stable Great Lakes market.

If you guys can ever get the IHL out of town, the AHL is just around the corner... and whatever argument you want to make about other leagues being unstable, you can't really make that argument against the AHL.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 8:38am

To Mike in Toronto: It was good meeting you between periods Saturday night Mike. One question though. Since we didn't have a lot of time to visit, you suggested we meet up at the bar at 6pm Monday before the game. I was there but you didn't show. Did you forget?

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 8:48am

i may not be a sth, but i have only missed 7 games in 3 years. i will support any decsion the frankes makes. whether it is to keep the ihl afloat or go to a diff league. i love hockey no matter what league we are in. dont get me wrong i would love to have a ahl team, heck i love a nhl team but that wont happen! as u can see with attendance their are alot of people who go no matter what league we are in. its been said b4 if you dont like it dont go! all this complaining doesnt do any good. just my 2 cents, but what do i know im not a sth!!!

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 8:50am

I find it ironic that K's fans like to bash Robin Bouchard for choosing to leave the AAA Komets once upon a time to be the big fish in a little pond in the COHL (AA/A hockey) and yet have no problems with the Komets being the big fish in a little pond in this version of the IHL...

Minor league hockey is screwed up, your not telling us anything we dont know. It will continue to be screwed up until the giant egos that these owners and league officials have can be put aside and they come together to make sense of it all. So what alot of fans want is the stability gained from a league that has enough franchises that if one goes down we're not talking about the demise of the entire league... Both the CHL and ECHL provide that right now and would become even stronger if one or the other absorb the viable IHL franchises. The thing the IHL has to look at is that Ft Wayne has plenty of fans right now to fight off the staleness that the IHL season becomes by Jan/Feb. This isnt the 50's anymore, and fans get tired of watching the same 5 teams come to town. Attendance across the league is down in almost every other city from year 1 of the IHL... If the IHL is gonna survive they need to find a way to combat that and so far thier going in the wrong direction...

Kometswin, I have risked my time, money, vacation time, to follow the Komets and will continue to risk those things to keep hockey in Ft Wayne. Based on what Blake writes, as a non STH, I am even more important to the Komets than I was as a STH... I pay full prices, dont smuggle in food or alcohol or pop and pay for my parking... I help them get thier sweetheart of a deal with the coliseum...

There is alot of information out there that the average blogger can get if they take the time to find it. Alot of inside information that people who are in the know are willng to share...

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 8:53am

At what point would you know the answer has satisfied you? Does it have to be something that is stable? EVERYONE has acknowledged that there is no stability in minor league sports, so why ask the question? I don't know that anyone is looking at any other leagues as being better because they are more stable, but more so because maybe there will be some more teams. A lot of what I've seen on here has been concerns over playing a small number of teams, none of whom have the resources to put forth the effort/team product on the ice that the Komets can. Have these finals been competetive? Yes. Would it be cool to see the Komets in a league where you go watch an away game and see a team who has similar resources to compete against you with? Yes, that would be great. If that were the case, would the Komets win the championship every year they were in this new mystery league? I'd say probably not. I don't know, I definitely do not have all the answers, or any of the answers for that matter.

However, I really don't buy the fact that I should have to keep my opinions quiet just because I'm not a team owner. To me that's a joke. That's like saying that since I do not live in the White House or work in the Capitol Building, I cannot talk about the decisions made by our government. Paying for my season tickets is similar to paying my taxes. Do I control all the money our government uses? Nope. Does our government lose tons of money each year? Absolutely. Strangely though, I still get a vote every four years for president and every November for various representatives at both state and federal levels. Whether or not those of you who think the Frankes walk on water like it, they have nothing without us little people who buy the tickets to the games. Constantly saying our opinions don't matter or that we do not know anything is not a good way to keep butts in the seats. Granted, they are smart enough to only let that kind of thinking leak onto a blog that relatively few people look at in the grand scheme of things, then do the proper song and dance on the larger media outlets (TV), but it may be something that people should think about before biting the hands (no matter how small they are) that feed you.

I have nothing against the leadership and what they have done up to this point. Thanks for everything you have helped to build. Let's just not assume everything they are going to keep doing is going to be right just because of what they have done in the past. They lost money in the 1990s and kept hockey here. Thanks, I'm glad we still have hockey. I just hope nothing gets in the way of making similar good decisions in the future.

As always, just my opinion, not the word of God. Go Komets!

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 9:02am

Runningkomet, you are a wise, sensible man. Really enjoy the comments. Hope you ran that over w/ some bloggers to make sure it was okay to post.

Mike in Toronto
Wed, 05/12/2010 - 9:11am

Alan: I was late, Ron and I got there. Steve was there but I couldn't find you. I came by 208 between 1st and 2nd. I went down to the lobby outside the dressing room and talked to Dennis for a minute thought I might catch you there. Sorry I missed you, will keep in touch.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 9:14am

If you are going to post something back it up with facts.

"and whatever argument you want to make about other leagues being unstable, you can

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 9:15am

OK, before going any farther I just want to say after reading this thread and the last thread no one should make fun of me for my "books" ever again. Wow, some of those were record breakers. (Just kidding, guys).

My thoughts on all this are very simple. We're all just going to have to see what shakes out during the summer. Everyone made some solid points to back up their opinions.

I'm not sure that we really know what is going on and I suspect that the real decision makers have not revealed anything to anyone. I believe they, too, are apprehensive of next season and what it will look like. (BY that, I mean the head honchos of the ECHL, CHL, and IHL.)

The economy is the "joker" in all this and it affects everybody. Some, of course, worse than others. The problem with the IHL is that it has a lot of presence in Michigan.

One thing to remember about Costanza's article is this: three years ago it wasn't money that got a player like Luciano Aquino to Fort Wayne. It was an organization that had tired of him, needed to send him somewhere during the last year of his contract, and had just hired the Komets head coach away from Fort Wayne. Likewise it wasn't money that guided Justin Hodgman to Fort wayne. It was his juniors coach, Peter Sidorkiwicz, who was an ex-Komet goalie that suggested he come to the Komets to get a taste of the "pro" game. Who knew what kind of player he would be? Likewise the signing of Mat Curedeau was one of those signings where the K's hit the jackpot. For every terrific signing there are probably fifteen that don't work out. Anyone remember Travis Whitehead? ( Can't miss guy, remember)?

There are a lot of plusses to play in Fort Wayne. No one would deny that. However a few years ago we had a head coach who players wanted no part of. He was successful with the wins and losses but he drove players out of Fort Wayne and many players outside the organization would not even think about playing here because of him. ( There are lots of things a player considers before joining an organization).

The thing is we can all get mad, emotional, upset, or whatever, but at the end of the day we are right back where we started from because no one really knows for sure. The answers will come. We're just going to have to patient and wait for the crap to all shake out.

I'm going to spend the rest of this hockey season supporting the Fort wayne Komets in their quest for a third straight IHL Turner Cup Championship.

And you know what? When they win it I'm not going to feel guilty in the least!

Blake Sebring
Wed, 05/12/2010 - 9:40am

Actually, Primis, I think the AHL is the least stable of all of them. They didn't learn anything from the problems the old IHL had. There's no way those teams drawing 5,000 or fewer fans per game can be making money on those budgets.

And I'm not convinced Fort Wayne will pay the prices. I know that will start another round of debate on ticket prices, but wishing they wouldn't have to raise them to go to the AHL won't make it so. That's life.

Blake Sebring
Wed, 05/12/2010 - 9:42am

And yes you can totally make that argument when a team like Rockford is losing more than $1 million a year in the AHL.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 9:51am

Nicely said Alan. Like someone else said, I will support Hockey in Fort Wayne and it doesn't matter what League they are in. I love Hockey! I told my mother in law when she asked me if I was going to game 5 of the last series, being down 3-1... "Are you going to the game or are you to frustrated?" I told her, I will support the team win or lose, I bleed Orange.....Let Go Komets....Keep the Cup right where it is....I believe.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 9:54am

Alan-That may be the best "Short Story" you have ever posted. Thank you! It was a pleasure meeting you also Saturday. Mike was looking for you Monday. Don't stop! I enjoy just about everything everyone posts. They really good if Burgee gives me the little pills.

Drive carefull Blake and all Komet fans going to Flint.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 9:57am

Lol, Alan. I was wondering how long it'd be before you called me out on that. I'm sitting here getting Carpal Tunnel waiting for you to say something! You're right though, I've been pretty long-winded, especially for not really knowing as much as the rest of the people on here. I just try to pick up and learn from what everyone writes, then toss out an uneducated opinion from what I have read. I think pretty much everyone on here is making very good points though. This is a really good hockey discussion. Your point was good though in that we can't forget the task at hand, winning our third Cup. I'm sure this conversation will get revisited time and again throughout the summer.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 10:03am

RK -- It will go on and on and on and on all summer or until every blogger is satisfied. Well almost every blogger!

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 10:16am

Blake, doesnt the semi final headed Chicago Blackhawks franchise flip most of the bill for rockford? im sure with what the hawks pay Patrick Kane and jonathon Toews that they could afford to help out the farm team where some of the hawks have played this season. The economy is horrible and yet the komets still pack 8,000 fans into the jungle. I've often wondered what someone mention above, do people go just to see icy, eat junk food and yell at the refs, just for something to do and not so much for the hockey? thats exspensive entertainment for a hockey game.

On a sad note i heard the lounge will be closed saturday for a wedding reception.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 11:29am

its true, if it wasn't for icy, spin the wheel and things other than hockey my crew wouldnt be as plentiful at hockey games.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 11:38am

You always learn from where you've been, and can't be scared of where you're going, just be ready to adapt to whats coming.....GO Komets, where ever that is...I'll be there

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 12:13pm

I DO NOT think Fort Wayne/Frankes are cheating anyone else out of the cup for the third straight. I think that they've earned it through player acquisitions, a solid coach, great goaltending, awesome fan support, and great hockey connections by the Frankes all around.

If/when they win, they deserve it. I am not taking anything away from what's been accomplished. All I'm saying is they are not in the same playing field as the other 6 teams in this league. They have advantages that they have built over the many years of good ownership on the Frankes part.

What I am saying is this: No one in this league can compete off of the ice with what the K's have and those attributes bring in the players that we get. A level playing field would be to stick us in the ECHL........would we be able to win three cups in a row in that league? Ask yourself that, which to me = competition.

I agree to high heaven that there is no stability in minor league hockey, just look at the amount of teams that fold up shop every year. JM made a great point, dealing w/ Visa issues, last time I checked, required a hockey league to have at least 6 teams.

Let's not say the word stability and refer to minor league hockey anymore, let's say more stable, and which ever league that is, it is not the IHL.

As for the AHL, I'd rather finish 3 points from making the playoffs watching AHL hockey, then winning another Turner Cup. That's just where I'm at.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 12:54pm

OK, a short post. One comment and one question.

I'm pretty sure the visa issue is no longer an issue, it was either changed last year if I recall correctly or it was never there or there for very long. The ECHL started with five teams. Blake may be able to shed some light on it.

Has anyone watched a game in Flint on B2? In general I think B2's quality sucks but I still watch it at times, especially playoffs, but I think I've read some pretty bad things on here and maybe a forum or two on how really poor the coverage is out of Flint. If it's that bad I'll just listen.

Input anyone??

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 1:14pm

Just picked this up from Savage: http://www.mlive.com/generals/index.ssf/2010/05/flint_generals_gm_says_potenti.html

Potential new owners of the Generals toured the arena this morning and are attending the game tonight. Seems they are from Indiana........

Hmm, isn't Burgee in Flint??

Well, they've tried the pizza guys route, I wonder what this time? Dry cleaners??

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 1:16pm

To Mike in Toronto: I'm sorry, too, that I missed you guys on Monday night. Thanks for making the effort to come over to 208 to look for me. Hopefully the next time back for Komet hockey we can have a drink and shoot the crap for awhile. Glad you guys made it home safely.

To Dschebig: Dennis, it was nice to meet you also. It's always great to meet someone who is so dedicated to Komet hockey and the IHL. I know that you have vast constraints placed on you by your responsibilities and have to be careful what you say. I bet you some great stories though. Hopefully we can visit again sometime.

To Janice: Thank you for your comments. Janice, are you related to Frank? If you are I want you to know what a good friend he is. He is someone who usually will come over to 208, sit down, and discuss the team, the game, etc. I always listen to him as I respect his judgement very much. Also Janice, are you part of the group that hangs the posters up?

To Running Komet: RK, I just want you to know what a good chuckle I had reading your post. I wasn't laughing at the content of the post as I always respect your thoughts and ideas. I was just tickled at the length of it. It took almost the entire season but you now have the "book" record. Congratulations my friend.

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 1:23pm

Nope, sitting in a parking lot waiting for the last person, then off to Flint

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 1:26pm

Flint owners from Indiana.... Cue the Circus music....