And I'll preface this by saying I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone yet this week, so this is probably incredibly stupid of me to post about yet, but it won't be the first time or the last. ;)
Here goes: I really don't think as much is happening with this as a lot of people think. I think the CHL and the IHL are talking, but not about a merger but more of an association. I think they are trying to work out a way to play some inter-league games against SOME of the CHL teams located in the Midwest (Anyone remember the old Eastern League in the early 1960s?), but the IHL is still going to be around in the same format it has been the last three years and there won't be an official merger. Why do I think this? It really doesn't make any financial sense for it to be anything more than that for either league. What does either side gain from a merger other than being able to say they added teams? Nothing, really, and that's not good enough to gamble in this economic environment. As I reported two weeks ago, the IHL was already considering cutting the number of vets and the salary cap, which I still think will happen. I also think the IHL will play 70 games. These discussions have been going on forever, and there was no reason for the IHL to announce 70 games then if they weren't going to play 70 games.
I'm wondering if a lot of fans are trying to put 2 and 2 together and come up with 6 because they want the IHL to fail. I'm not convinced a merger with the CHL answers any of the problems the IHL or the CHL has, though. Right now, I don't see another better option which makes as much sense financially than for each league to stay where it is and experiment with this a little.
When the Komets announced their season-ticket package for this season, they also talked about the possibility of a champions playoff series against another leauge, which was one of the reasons given for tightening the schedule. I wonder about how and if that would work. Would fans in anyplace else but Fort Wayne and Colorado pay for this? Would it mean as much to the players as going for their regular league title? Would this be something that the fans care a lot more about than the players, sort of like an all-star game? Does that diminish the league titles? Would you drive to Port Huron or Flint or Bloomington to watch those games if the Komets were not involved?
Hopefully we'll find out a lot more definitive answers this week.