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

Michael Franke response

He and the other IHL owners will be going to the CHL meetings Thursday in Phoenix. These will remain two separate organizations essentially forming a business partnership. There will be inter-league play, an all-star game and playoff formats to be determined. A lot of this is to be determined over the next month.

``The thing you have to understand is that the CHL is a publicly traded company so that goes into what you can and cannot say right now until we get the logistical stuff taken care of. With the Securities and Exchange Commission you can not promote any details until they are final and complete.'

Both leagues will operate under one rulebook, more in line with NHL rules, but the IHL will maintain separate record books, league offices and officiating staffs. Basically, everything will be announced after the CHL meetings this week and the IHL meetings June 21-23.

This was all driven by economics.

``As a board, we felt that reaching out and coming up with some sort of affiliation was very important due to the economic structure of Michigan and the upper Midwest,'' Franke said. ``There's not going to be any further questions or concerns whether the IHL with its midwestern core is going to be able to support itself over the long haul."

As for the ECHL, Franke declined to comment.

``We tried to make the six-hour, the seven-hour geographic footprint work over the last three years, but the bottom line with the way the economy has gone, there are not enough cities right now to create the size of league we felt was necessary and prudent for us to move forward by ourselves.

Posted in: Komets


Blake Sebring
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 2:59pm

BTW, IHL teams will be playing 70 games this season. Don't know how many CHL teams will be playing.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 3:08pm

Wow, I really dont know what to say.....

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 3:32pm

if this thing works it could force the echl and all of hockey to finally rethink its way of doing business. this is what the frankes had hoped for all along, a restructureing of minor hockey!

Blake Sebring
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 3:37pm

I think that is the end goal, Chuckitt, the thing that no one can talk about officially.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 3:38pm

How in the world can the IHL teams play 70 games but the CHL teams play less? Aren't we 1 league now or am I missing something?

Blake Sebring
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 3:46pm

The way I understand it, they are two seperate leagues who have a business association, agreeing to work together.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 3:51pm

How many teams will be in the IHL? That's a question that I have. If what is being said by Hextall is correct there might only be Fort Wayne, Quad City, Bloomington, and Dayton. That would be a lot of games against each other.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 3:58pm

There's going to be at least six teams. I told you guys two weeks ago Evansville wasn't dead. I think Flint will also survive. Not sure about Port Huron. That's also part of the reason they are going to have inter-league play.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 4:04pm

They had to do something because you have to have 6 teams to be able to sign and obtain working visa's for those players from other countries....

I really hope the news coming out the next couple weeks is alot more enticing than this....

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 4:21pm

what 6 teams? musky + flint + port h. gone=Komets + dayton + bloomy + quad=4

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 4:31pm

JR, I'm pretty sure the visa issue has either been changed or never existed. Remember the ECHL started out with five teams and I'm sure they weren't all US players. IIRC this issue was brought up last year and it was stated by either the league or Michale that it wasn't an issue.

I would really like to see the officials' pool shared by the two leagues, at least the referees. I don't know what the officiating is like in the CHL, but I would hope with a pool of more teams kicking in $ perhaps higher standards and tighter follow up could be maintained. Travel for the refs could be an issue and I'm not sure what the CHL's relationship with the NHL is as far as refs moving up is but if they feed into the system it would be nice to get some of those refs in here.

This is all very interesting and gives us a little bit more to kick around. I think it's kind of exciting, at least the potential. Now it's a waiting game (actually it has been all along) to see what develops.

The rumors will also be interesting. As usual some will be quoting unnamed sources who are "in the know" or what ever and as usual those of us who are know they aren't...... think about it. :-)

Just to kick things off, I heard from a very reliable source who I can't name that the reason Montreal fired six of their scouts, five of them being scouts of amateur leagues, for rumor mongering on a certain minor league forum. The fact that they were using company computers to contribute to the rumor spreading was sufficient cause for termination.

And yes, I've been out in the sun again today without sunscreen.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 4:50pm

Correct about the VISAs.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:16pm

What size league did they feel was neccesary and prudent for them to move forward by themselves? 7 teams, per Quad City? Or 6? 5? I don't suppose this answers much until they announce which teams will be in the IHL next season.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:24pm


Same "stuff" different spin.

Essentially, nothing changes. Same 5 teams to play over and over. Same crappy officials. And we get to send our guys to an "all-star" game in Tulsa or Texas.

Way to get the fanbase worked up for nothing. I can't wait to watch the Komets beatup on Dayton again.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:27pm

Dayton is going to have a "rough-tough" hockey team.

Blueline Baby
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:29pm

Steve, thanks for bringing up the visa issue. Blake, thanks for confirming that. Things will be interesting. On a selfish note, I wonder if the Komets will be able to have the rights to have the naming on the Komet travel teams for the kids' teams? I'm assuming so, since they seem to be separate leagues. I know that some argued that the Frankes did not kick in enough before, but I sure hope that they are still willing and able to assist with that program like they did before.

I've been gone for quite a while, JM....which league were you hoping for instead? ECHL or AHL?

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:30pm

Wendy, the IHL had to have at least 6 teams to be able to secure the visa's necessary to have foreign born players play in the league. So at some point the IHL knew hey weren't gonna have that number an started talking to other leagues.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:35pm

er Blake, I think you need to specify who was correct.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:35pm

Dayton doesn't need "rough and tough" they need to use half the salary cap.. something they couldn't do last year. More than 1200 fans would help too..

The AHL isn't going to happen with the current ownership, I accept that. If I were the owner of the Komets, I doubt I'd be in the AHL. I think under the right circumstances, the AHL would work. But those circumstances don't exist right now.

I think the logical thing for the Komets is to join the ECHL. Toledo, Kzoo, Cinnci are all natural rivals.

My biggest problem is propping up franchises in towns that can't support them and have proved over time won't be supported enough to break even. Flint, PH, Dayton.. If Muskegon couldn't break even anymore, how are these 3 going to do it?

Blake Sebring
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:43pm

Again, JM, I think you are making an incorrect assumption that things are that much better economically in the ECHL. Without the IHL to cut down their travel costs, they are making the exact same mistakes the IHL made at the end of the 1990s. They will be in major, major trouble by the end of next season because of increased travel costs. Losing Johnstown will be pretty big because it was a natural stopover point on the way to somewhere else. If the West Coast ECHL teams defect, in a heartbeat the ECHL could be in the exact same position as the UHL was five years ago. I also think everyone is underestimating the bad feelings the IHL owners have for Kalamazoo.

I meant Chuckitt was correct about the VISA situation. That is not in effect any more.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:45pm

Another factor was the ECHL was not going to take all the IHL teams, and the IHL teams that were wanted were not going to turn their back on their partners from the last three years.

Blueline Baby
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:46pm

You can find visa information online....and it's been noted on this blog and elsewhere that the visa issue was changed last year. If I'm not mistaken, even Michael Franke was quoted in an article about this issue when discussing the number of teams in the IHL. Don't quote me on that one, though. I think the visa issue is called a B-2 or W-2 visa? I can't recall right now, but I have looked it up before. Just check out sports visas, work visas, etc on google. Many places have information.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:49pm

Loyal to dying franchises rather than being loyal to providing the best hockey for fans.

I'm not saying the ECHL is in better shape than the CHL. My only point is that for Fort Wayne its hard to justify that the CHL makes more sense by way of geography, making money, or quality of product.

I'd argue Mr. Franke's position against the ECHL, but he won't comment. So I assuming that your comments are some info that has come from the organization "off the record", Blake?

Blueline Baby
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 5:52pm

I found the visa info....nothing stated regarding how many teams must be in the league. Sorry to beat the dead horse. I was just curious now that you all had brought it up. I knew someone had referred me to a site before.


Blake Sebring
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 6:05pm

Not actually. Mostly just common sense from doing this for 20 years. I don't think the IHL owners are convinced about the ECHL business model. I wouldn't be. Look at the travel costs in their playoffs. Those teams must have lost their butts paying for all of that travel with those attendance numbers. It makes no sense. It might be similar with the CHL and IHL in the playoffs in terms of distance, but it's likely to only be one round. I can also pretty much guarantee you they aren't going to be playing on Tuesdays and Wednesday nights like the ECHL did. That's one reason to shrink the schedule so they matchup in April when it's easier to find dates. That will make a big difference.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 6:10pm

Regardless of the logistics, I'm convinced that this is the right move. I couldn't agree more about the ECHL business model, they pay for their affiliations, run around the country, and push towards being number 1, but they are paying for it.

They can't do what the AHL does, regardless of attendance numbers (which are very comparable to what the ECHL produces), there's a HUGE difference.

If were not AHL, I'm happy to accept this, it's better then just the IHL. I'll save my thumbs up on it until the actual logistics of the merger/affiliations are released. I'm hoping that we get to see some CHL teams in the Fort.

Anyone want to put money on the CHL All-Star game being in Fort Wayne next year?????

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 6:15pm

I skimmed over the comments pretty quickly, learned about visas at least 4 times (don't get me wrong, quite interesting), but did not see any apologies to the people who originally brought this up from the people who were saying they were full of it and it wasn't happening because no one in Fort Wayne had said anything... They must be out rubbing suntan lotion on each other at a pool party. I'm sure their apologies are implied. It's hard to speak with a foot in your mouth.

One thing is standing out as I read over the comments on here though. It sounds as if there is a ton of doubt about Port Huron. Why don't the Komets just throw them money like they have been to Flint for so long? Is it that the organization has finally stretched the pocketbook to its limits, or is PH no longer needed since we have the CHL confederate states of hockey now? I always enjoyed playing PH and they seemed to put a good team on the ice more often than not.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 6:29pm

Port Huron's owner is the wealthiest in the IHL. He doesn't need money, he needs cooperation from his building. The IceHawks actually did OK this year. It's all up for negotiating.

RK, it might turn out that both sides were correct. IHL is not going away, and it is not merging with the CHL. They have essentially agreed to work together in some capacity.

I think Chaulker is right. We really don't know what this is going to look like yet. They have all hinted at things, but until they are finalized, we really don't know anything more today than we did yesterday.

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 6:29pm

Brendan Savage has an article on the PH owner possibly taking over Flint RK


Blake Sebring
Tue, 06/01/2010 - 6:31pm

He would know.