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Tailing the Komets

ECHL accepts Kalamazoo

The ECHL announced on Tuesday that the Board of Governors has unanimously approved the Expansion Membership application of the Kalamazoo Wings for admission to the ECHL.

Kalamazoo is scheduled to begin play in October when the Premier

Posted in: Komets


Thu, 06/11/2009 - 1:35pm

Primis: Yes! Finally something we K's and K-wings fans can agree on. Time WILL tell. Now begone. Go talk smack to someone in Elmira, NY.

And Alan, don't think the ECHL is more stable because of the number of franchises they have. Yes, they have more, but they are spread out all across the country in 4 divisions. Each division has to have at least 4 teams the way they are set up. In the west, they are at the bare miniumum currently. The eastern divisions have more, but the travel is still brutal (a team in southern Florida is in the same division with Reading and Trenton?) and at least a couple of teams may be having issues. If the ECHL drops to 16 teams or below, they HAVE to reorganize. But they can't reorganize because they are so spread out. And they were hovering dangerously close to that number before adding K-zoo. My guess is that they see the IHL as a threat since we took Dayton from them. Sure Dayton suspended operations voluntarily, but they hoped to get them back. Now that's looking unlikelly. On their wikipedia page, someone wrote something to that effect after the news about the Dayton Gems broke. I couldn't help but notice the line about the Gems had been erased when someone updated the page to add K-zoo. What does that tell you? Make no mistake. This will be a war, and the IHL isn't the only one fighting for it's life. Good thing the Frankes know how to play hardball.

Thu, 06/11/2009 - 2:48pm

I don't necessarily think so, Wendy. If they go to war, who wins? Nobody. All they will do is drive up the cost of operating and that ends up hurting both sides. Neither side can afford to do that. Let's face it, nobody is making that much money in minor league hockey that they can afford to add another cost in a war chest.

I think everyone can see a day coming when the minor leagues are going to have to restructure. How close are we right now to 1985 or so in terms of the number of teams? We've got to be getting close. Have we lost 20-30-40 teams since the peak in the late 90s? They can't keep operating this way or they'll go out of business. For one thing, there aren't that many idiots out there who would want to own teams. They have to rely on more smart business people, and they won't stand for some of the things that are going on because they don't make business sense. When that restructuring comes, it really won't matter what league you are in.

Maybe the IHL is ahead of the curve slightly in terms of geography, but they've all got to start MAKING money pretty darn soon to absolutely prove the model works. Do they probably have the best chance to make money? Maybe.

But nobody can convince me anybody else is making any money in minor league hockey right now, either, at least not enough to more than break even or have a little bit of profit which is only banked for the next season. The expenses are just too much compared to the reasonable revenue. And if they were making money, we wouldn't see so much turnover in the franchises in terms of teams folding or being sold because everyone would want to hang onto them. And that's not happening in any league right now.

A war would just add to the problems of all.

All right, I'm going back on vacation. Talk amongst yourselves.

Thu, 06/11/2009 - 3:37pm

West division Bloomington,Quad Cities,Peoria,Rockford,DesMoines.
East division Muskegon,PortHuron,Flint,Dayton,Ft Wayne.

On a different note,what would the Ahl cost? Parent team pays salaries,for all/most players? How much of the $13,000 per week would be saved? Travel is travel,what does the buses cost? Play a Fri/Sat w/same team.
I still enjoy watching the former Ihlers in the Nhl. I miss the old days. Besides the refs suck in this league.

Thu, 06/11/2009 - 3:44pm

Blakes, I thought that you were always on vacation. have a good one!

Thu, 06/11/2009 - 4:33pm

Here's the bottom line, people: the Frankes have proven they are good business/hockey people. Do any of you really believe they're just sitting there waiting to see what happens? No, they're on top of things whether they announce it to us or not. Their livelihood is at stake, and they're not going to be a victim. It's summer: throw some critter flesh on the grill, grab an ice cold beer and relax!

Thu, 06/11/2009 - 5:35pm

Vacation? Must be nice. Waiter! Another strawberry daiquiri over here!

Hmmm... I guess "war" has some strong connotations. This is more like a chess match. The IHL moved into Dayton, and believe me, they aren't happy about that. It was an aggressive move on the IHL's part. So they take K-zoo, possibly with the help of a disgruntled former commissioner. Will they be courting other teams in our geographic footprint? You know it. Will the IHL be whispering in the ear of other nearby ECHL teams, especially if we hear they may be shopping? You can bet your ice skates on it. It's been like a game of musical chairs of late in minor league hockey. And we all know how hostile that can get. ;)

Thu, 06/11/2009 - 8:18pm

Well, thanks everyone. So far your comments have been very thought provoking. Blake, your comment of league restructuring is right on the money. I don't think that this will happen but I believe Gary Bettman (Commisioner of NHL) should call a meeting of all "AA" leagues to see if re-aligning some teams from one league to another makes sense. It should be done with logic and facts. One league may gain a team or lose a team but I think the sport of hockey would end up being stronger for it. It is in the NHL's interest to have STRONG support of all minor league hockey. Today, out of the four major sports, hockey is lagging far behind. Hockey is a great sport but why should anybody take it seriously when there is such animosity amongst its minor leagues. I am surprised that the NHL has not realized this. The stronger the minor leagues are also equates in less negative press for the sport. Now the NHL seems to be concerned with the AHL and high juniors. They seem to neglect the millions of dedicated fans in the other leagues that support them in other ways. They should do everything possible to attract viewers (and ratings) to their NHL games on national TV. (Formerly ESPN and now dropped down to the less attractive and available VERSUS network). I don't have the figures now, but about five years ago there were about one hundred minor league teams. That is a tremendous foundation to begin with. The NHL has dropped the ball by ignoring their base of core fans. From the CHL to the ECHL to the IHL, reasoning has seemed to lost its way. I just think that it is time for the NHL to take a lead role and "suggest" a better way. Sticking their head in the sand and letting teams, and leagues, rise and fall has only encouraged the poor decisions, animosity, and turbulence we experience today. Do I believe this will happen? Probably not. I believe that it should, however, and is probably long overdue. The minors can't do it on their own. None would be honest enough to do what is right for the sport. This is just my thoughts on the matter and, right or wrong, you heard it from me first. How crazy am I?

Thu, 06/11/2009 - 9:21pm

Alan: I like everything you said other than your slam on Versus. Don't just hate the team because your cable provider doesn't give it to you. This was discussed on another blog, but Versus does an awesome job in their coverage without ESPN interrupting every 5 seconds with some tidbit of information about one of the Boston or New York sports teams the channel is obsessed with. I don't care about the Red Sox or Yankees and I absolutely hate Tom Brady and anything to do with the Patriots. When hockey is on Versus, it's all hockey, and I like that. So, again, call and complain to your cable provider.
As far as your "dream" hockey situation: It'd be nice if it happened, but as you said, it's probably unlikely. Everyone wants the power and everyone is right about everything. What's that old saying about God gave people two ears and only one mouth? Words to live by. Maybe some day I'll even figure out how that works :)

Fri, 06/12/2009 - 3:03am

I like Versus, I REALLY like Chris Simpson/ the guys on NBC are like reading off a script.

Fri, 06/12/2009 - 3:48am

Alan: ++++++++++++

Fri, 06/12/2009 - 7:09am

Thanks everyone. Just to set the record straight: I do have Versus on my cable plan. My point wasn't so much of a knock on Versus as it was to demonstrate the ways the NHL had kind of slipped in popularity that they had to go to Versus (which was then called the "Outdoor Living Network" I believe). They do a fine job and I am gratified that NHL hockey is televised. Sorry for any misunderstanding that may have caused. My last two posts contain two messages. The point in the first post was to express my belief that the future of the IHL is getting Quad City back in the league so other future expansion in the mid-west is encouraged. I believe they are the key. (read the entire post and I think you will see what I'm trying to get at). The point of my second post is that I would like to see the NHL take some sort of leadership position in order to organize the landscape of the "AA" leagues. Thanks for all of your responses.

Fri, 06/12/2009 - 8:52am

Eric -

Nobody's questioned the Frankes' business sense in temrs of running teams. Running a league, that's a different story...

Now that the cat is out of the bag that Stephen Franke owns a stake in the Prairie Thunder though (at least a minority stake, possibly a majority, no way of ever really knowing though unless something were to come out) one has to question their wisdom in having hands in too many cookie jars.

And for the record yes, the IHL is ahead of the curve probably geographically. It's a strong, firm idea. I just wish there was better leadership in the league to take that idea and run with it, and I'm afraid that's going to be the league's undoing.

Fri, 06/12/2009 - 9:00am

When will Kalamazoo announce that they will now start charging for parking.

i thought i read somewhere recently that people still think we need to have 6 teams to have a league, and i picked something up that that is not the case anymore.

Too lazy to do the research, but my mind has been a lot clearer since i stopped using sweet n low 18 months ago.

anyone know anything about the new 3 sheets of ice, doesn't look like they are progressing very fast over there. i am excited because it will cut my commute WAY DOWN.

Fri, 06/12/2009 - 9:16am

Primis- Stephen Franke owned the Kansas City Team in the old IHL. It never created a problem. If you ever get to meet him you find out just what a classy individual he is. I think the business men who have huge amounts of money invested in their teams know what they are doing. The conversation about geographical foot prints for leagues was a big thing when the old IHL was closing up shop. Michael Franke and his brothers were way ahead of the curve than and remain so today. The are held in high regard by the NHL and the "Hockey Gods" that run it. Alan nailed it perfectly. ALL of hockey needs to take a serious look at how they are set up. Some teams have owners that budget for losing money as a practice because of other business ventures they have. It is a tax thing. Other teams are serious about trying to make some money so they can pay players and personel. Some are just getting by. NONE of them are fools. You have never said that and I do not think you even think that. I just happen to have faith (could be my big problem) in their judgements and ability to spend their money. I want them all to succeed. Yes PRIMIS even Kalamazoo. Paul Picard, now that is a different topic.

Hit Somebody!!!
Fri, 06/12/2009 - 3:48pm

Primus.....Mr. Pickard was the Commish the last 2 years. Did you forget that all ready? He had just as much to do with the decisions in this league as anyone. In fact, he might have been the reason the IHL was not growing and not improving in some of the markets. Maybe he had a bit of Conflict of Interest as his eyes were firmly on the future of the K-Wings and their new arena venture?

You want to come onto this site and bash the Frankes....but you better tell the truth about what your Manager of Hockey Operations and Wings Stadium was doing while at the wheel of the IHL. Do you think he had the best interests of the IHL as a league in each market on his mind? If you do, you are fooling yourself.

Fri, 06/12/2009 - 4:36pm

Stephen Franke owned the old UHL Kansas City Outlaws, not the Blades.

Fri, 06/12/2009 - 9:24pm

Yes!!! Finally, a break from hearing the obnoxious Red Wings fans for a few months. Congrats to the Pens!!