How do the Komets stay sharp over long layoff?
CHL owners face important meeting
What would be the soonest that we would have any info about which teams are or are not returning next season? Are there any talks anticipated to merge the CHL and the ECHL into one AA league divided into regional divisions?
No there are not.
There's no way to know for sure, JB. Someone could always change their minds.
I would be surprized if they made anything offical till the playoffs are over. Nothing like coming out and saying five teams are leaveing the league if they still are fighting it out for the cup...
If they were smart they would do a AA affiliate for each NHL team allowing each NHL team to place 10 players on them and allowing for free agents to fill the other spots and regionalize it into three leagues. But...they aren't that smart.
"Our biggest fear has been waking up someday and not having anybody to play in minor league hockey."
60 class AA teams down to 37 since 2003-04.
Trouble is brewing.
Without having knowledge of what is really happening in the ECHL, one cannot make any substantive judgments. However, logic would dictate that some ECHL teams are hurting also. Therefore the ECHL could have trouble, too. This past season one ECHL division only had three teams. I believe Chicago will enter their league next season but, of course, we have a history of how successful a "AA" franchise has been competing for dollars and acceptance vs. the Blackhawks and Wolves.
A couple of seasons ago the above attendance figures for the three teams would have looked good in the UHL/IHL. Now they are not large enough to keep these teams from danger.
What is the answer? Some suggest a merging between the two leagues and a realignment of teams more geographically concentrated together.
I, for one, don't think that this will happen. Without knowing the ECHL situation, I believe they think they are in a position of strength and are "waiting out" the demise of the CHL.
Only when both leagues are equally motivated will there be some common sense brought to "AA" hockey. If that were to magically happen tomorrow there would still be the problem of the western teams. They are so stretched out that travel has to be horrid for the players and extremely expensive for the owners. Yet, I don't read or hear about any of those teams failing.
Michael Franke's quote resonates loudly when one wonders why the Komets joined the CHL. Just two seasons ago I, and lots of others, criticized and lambasted Kalamazoo for joining the ECHL. Too much travel and more expense were part of the cries we offered. ( I know that the entry fee and the trademark rights were a big part of the argument also). The point is that we did "leave" our league by necessity and took on the same travel woes that we protested as being crazy. A twenty hour bus trip anywhere to play hockey is kind of ridiculous. Yet here we are looking forward to a series beginning in Rapid City and, if they win that series, to turn around and most likely play in Colorado.
It's insane and the fact that 23 teams out of 60 since 2003-04 have left "AA" hockey is just too high of a percentage to ignore.
Trouble is brewing. Just the same as it has for the past ten years. Another off-season is soon to be upon the minor league hockey landscape. I'm afraid that the landscape is going to change for the worse. I'm afraid that the trouble which is brewing will leave a bitter taste for hockey fans.
Maybe shut down all AA hockey????????
I would like AHL hockey :)
38% of the teams folding in 7 years
=5.4% of teams a year.
Something needs to change for the better.
It is a crime that Toledo has AA hockey and we don't play them.
Same goes for KZoo and Cincy.
Chicago adds an ECHL team.
Something needs to give.
We are running out of options and the current option might be the one that falls apart over the summer as teams start to realize that travel costs and attendance don't add up.
Regional Leagues need to form to save what viable teams are left.
The Pickards and Frankes of the World have to work this thing out or there might not be Minor league hockey in the for-see-able-future.
The strong teams have to work together.
Or there won't be teams left.
Keep in mind the nose-pickered sealed his own fate here. Kzoo is not a good hockey town. They don't really support their team any better than a middle wrung CHL team.
I would disagree that K-zoo is not a good hockey town... They support the K-Wings, Western Michigan, and next season an NAHL juniors team... They are also not that far from Grand Rapids' AHL team, Detriot and the Blackhawks and the OHL team (who's name is escaping me right now...). They still fill their barn to about a 64% capacity during whats been a terrible hit to the economy up in Michigan.
I dont like what Pickard/K-Wings did after the first season of the IHL2; but have to say they saw the writing on the wall much earlier than the Frankes or anyone else in the IHL2 did... I am also not going to trash the fans up in K-zoo for the moves their front office made...
JR you're thinking of the Plymouth Whalers
Thanks Mark! I was thinking Plymouth; but for whatever reason it didnt sound right this morning when I was posting...
Also, isnt Sarnia just over the border and close too???
Sarnia is across the bridge from Port Huron, not quite close enough. Although, there are the Windsor Spitfires across the river from Detroit.
Thanks again, Mark....
Just goes to show that there are a ton of options for hockey fans in/around K-zoo (and all of Michigan, for that matter...).
Would the K's do as well with as many hockey options nearby???
My point in all of this.
I think attendance is naturally helped if fans care about who they are playing.
If you have a sound regional league that has even 10 teams....just to throw out a number. 10 teams where average travel is around 4-5 hours tops.....and you get rivalries back like those of KZOO, INDY, TOLEDO, CINCY, DAYTON, etc. and maybe even twist Muskegon into the league down the road......then you have something.
It has to be a group of regional powers that be to work this thing out. It can't be one ownership running things.....it has to be a collective effort to keep the league strong....and regional locations are a must for travel, Bus League, and fan travel too.
That is my thoughts.
Sounds like the original plan of the IHL2 to some degree....I know....
But this has to be the plan.
Or else.....AA hockey in these parts is toast.