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Tailing the Komets

The economics of minor league hockey

Posted in: Komets


Kevin H
Thu, 06/16/2011 - 10:03am

Excellent coverage -- I could be wrong but I would think giving teams more flexibility in negotiating their own deals for sticks, tape, helmets, etc would save more teams money then locking them in a league wide deal.

Obviously I'm in a much different environment but in my world as a Sports Coordinator I'm opposed to leagues mandating which suppliers you must buy from as it take all powers from local programs networking with their contacts and ultimately receiving the better deal.

Thu, 06/16/2011 - 11:30am

How good a job do the leagues (CHL, ECHL) do in evaluating membership applications? Do they actually evaluate things like the facility, the market, the proposed front office, etc.? Or do they just hand out franchises to any idiot with a (temporarily) fat checkbook? There are some places that are never going to be good markets, either because they have lousy economies (Flint), or lousy facilities (Port Huron - nice barn but too small), or "triumph of hope over experience" markets with a history of failure (Dayton). And here's where I think there may be a conflict of interest in the CHL/Global Entertainment Corporation relationship. I wonder if Global is more interested in building facilities than caring about what goes into them.

Thu, 06/16/2011 - 12:06pm

"Die-hard traditional fans are always offended when they hear those numbers, but the hard truth is while those fans are very important to minor league teams, their numbers aren

Thu, 06/16/2011 - 12:33pm

JM - The only way you "design" for a flat STH base is by capping ST sales. Though I vaguely remember some talk about this in the early '90s, I doubt the Frankes do this or would seriously entertain the thought. And it would surprise me to learn of ST waiting lists in the minors like some of the major league teams have.

Blake Sebring
Thu, 06/16/2011 - 1:00pm

JM, all owners say that. I think it's part of knowing your market and what your ceiling for season tickets is in that community. That's why more teams are pushing mini season ticket packages, though I'm not sure what the Komets are doing in that area if anything.

Thu, 06/16/2011 - 4:03pm

I thought QC was to name a new coach & GM today???????

Thu, 06/16/2011 - 5:17pm


Fri, 06/17/2011 - 4:53am

Maybe it's just a situation of not enough people actually like/care about minor league hobby. If these problems have always been around, that could very likely be the case.

Blake Sebring
Fri, 06/17/2011 - 9:00am

I think it's just partly the natural cycle of minor league hockey. If you look back at the last 60 years, you can see ebbs and flows in 15-year cycles. It contracted in the mid-1950s, late 1960s, early 1980s and at the end of the 1990s. Ken Ullyot talks about that all the time. It always comes back around to regionalized leagues to cut costs. A lot of it is the economy, but it's also a niche sport. Even Miracle on Ice only bumped it up only a little bit. It's just the way it is, and the smart owners plan for it. It's never going to become a national sport with the popularity of the NFL, NBA or MLB. It's always going to be a struggle.

Fri, 06/17/2011 - 9:48am

A very insightful article.

I think the things I appreciated the most were the references to Reading's situation (ECHL), from Napoli (Toledo, ECHL), from Lund (Tulsa, CHL) and of course, from Franke (Fort Wayne, CHL)

Looking for ways to save is important, of course. Looking for tape deals, stick deals, and the like certainly shows a responsibilty to the bottom line but it isn't going to be the deal breaker.

All of these people know the real solution to give their franchises the best chance to flourish. They all know what needs to be done. For some reason they're just afraid to put the hammer down and do it.

Until that day comes, both "AA" leagues are going to suffer with damaged franchises.

Fri, 06/17/2011 - 10:14am

It will take real guts and a big vision. The biggest problem will be ego's and pride. Those who are willing to swallow their pride and check their egos can and will make it happen. The economics at the time might just force the issue for the smart business people who truely love this game and want it to survive. Until than we will just be forced to put up with the uncurtainty that we have today.

Blake Sebring
Fri, 06/17/2011 - 12:18pm

I think they'll look to cut the rosters the year after next. No 10th forward and no extra player sitting in the stands, either. That's one easy way to control costs. They'll have to negotiate that with the union, though.

Fri, 06/17/2011 - 4:44pm

Even though there is a salary cap, I would wonder if the Komets might have a leg up on other teams in regard to free agents. They can offer some things a lot of minor league teams cannot, like history, tradition, wanting to win and it seems most important, stability. Makes you wonder if the free agents want to go to a team like Dayton that plays in front of dozens of people and seem to be a year to year crap shoot. If it were me and even if it was for less money I would chose the Komets over some of these other teams for the simple fact that if I played well enough I could play for them for numerous years. JMO

Blake Sebring
Fri, 06/17/2011 - 6:35pm

It's been my experience that 95 percent of players, especially high-end players, will always go to whomever pays them the most. That's the No. 1 thing they care about. They usually don't care as much about winning as the money. That's not right or wrong, it's just the way most of them are.

Sat, 06/18/2011 - 7:20am

That's called human nature... 95% of the population goes for the most money, which equals more stability for their families.... IMO

Sat, 06/18/2011 - 10:00am

4 months till it all starts, lots of things to happen.Players will come & we'll be happy.Players to go & we'll be happy or sad. I just don't know where this minor league hockey is going. I'm glad that Shawn Thornton won the cup for 2cd time & they should put Marc Savard on the cup.

Mon, 06/20/2011 - 1:16pm

Off topic, but CONGRATS to BLB and her son Jason for being the primary focus of a JG article on Sunday. Great photos, too. Well done! Now you've done Television AND newspaper interviews. B)

Blake Sebring
Mon, 06/20/2011 - 3:54pm

Very cool story and nicely done by Justin.

Mon, 06/20/2011 - 4:32pm

It was a nice article by Justin. Congratulations to Bluel
Line Baby and her husband. I am wondering how many kids are involved in these programs.

These folks sacrifice a lot of time and money to allow these kids to play. It is a sacrifice that will pay dividends for years to come.

Mon, 06/20/2011 - 5:14pm

Congrats, BLB & Jason :)

Mon, 06/20/2011 - 5:41pm


rabid city re-loads.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 9:15am

I wonder how close the Komets are to making an announcement or two.

Besides Chaulk and P.C. ( and I'm not totally sure P.C. will make the club ), the news has been pretty scarce on future fireballs.

I would like to see an announcement on a couple of free agent signings. With such a large turnover of players expected plus the need for some true snipers, it would be beneficial to give potential season ticket buyers a little enticement.

On a side note, many have suggested players they would like to see signed. One name that has not appeared in any list I remember is Joel Martin. Pretty talented goaltender and always played well against the K's.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 2:53pm

Next announced signing is Boucher. In 5 to 6 days

Hit Somebody!!!
Tue, 06/21/2011 - 5:20pm

That will sell tons of tickets right there.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 8:59pm

Ah Joel Martin.....He was the only guy that really dominated the Komets in goal in the 3peat era. I still think we got lucky to beat them for the back to back in the playoffs.

Hit Somebody!!!
Tue, 06/21/2011 - 9:09pm

I would be shocked if the Komets were bold enough to think outside of what goaltenders they have to go after a guy like Joel Martin.

Wed, 06/22/2011 - 5:12am

Heard at the end of last season that Boucher was supposed to have hip surgery. Does anyone know if that has happened yet?

Wed, 06/22/2011 - 5:19am

I'm not 100%, but about 97% that it has not happened.

andy sherman
Wed, 06/22/2011 - 8:03am

Martin was on an NHL 2 way last season. Do you guys REALLY think he will even entertain an offer form Fort Wayne? He was making probably 60K on the AHL end of his contract. No way the Komets can make any kind of competitive offer if they bring Boucher back. Reality check people!

Wed, 06/22/2011 - 8:17am

Agreed Andy !!!!