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Tailing the Komets

Today's Muskegon reaction

Posted in: Komets


Tue, 02/09/2010 - 10:06am

There will always be Komet hockey is some form or another. Hopefully, it is in a league I and everyone else would enjoy. In the end though, there will be Komet hockey.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 10:22am

I know a lot has been made of the "business" aspect of this thing.... Let me pose this.. If owners have made a pretty tidy pile of money for the last 10 years. Is it really acceptable to fans to be treated like they are idiots for expecting a decent product.... and (gasp)... the owners making less money for a year or two? Not a lot of business are making the same kind of profit they were 5 years ago. Why are the Komets different? Owning a business of any kind isn't sunshine and flowers everyday. Hopefully there is some money in reserves that allow for a season or two with lower revenue. Nobody wants the Frankes to lose money and go out of business, but isn't it acceptable for the stability of the franchise to make less for a couple of years and get some footing in a "real" league?

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 10:52am

If the Komets join the AHL we will be able to play as them on NHL 11 or 12 or whatever

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 12:46pm

Frankes need to let this league fold and let the other markets do their own thing whether they survive, fold or join another league. Holding the Cities hostage and having the Frankes control their destiny is not a good thing in the long run. Frankes have done a great job with their franchise and need to join a better league

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 1:38pm

JM-Your point is well taken, However, I am not trying to insult you at all. I think the Franke's have absorbed a lot over the last few years. Costs for everything have gone up. I do mean everything. Transportation, equipment, supplies, insurance (really big time) fees to the coliseum, to mention just a few. Yet they have managed to keep ticket prices the same or very close. While their books are not ours to review I don't think anyone is, shall I say, getting huge salary increases or bonuses if any at all. I am just asking you to be reasonable and fair.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 2:24pm

If the Frankes put the same amount of money in the Komets to join another league, then they could quit paying the salaries of the Dayton, Flint, and Bloominton players. In the end, it would be a wash and we would have a better product. As far as the ticket sales go, the only reason they haven't gone up, is because we have been paying too much for 10 years now. I have been to many ECHL games, and most venues tickets average less than the Komets, and the product is much much better. It's younger, faster, and many more NHL prospects. A move to the ECHL would not cost the Frankes that much more money. Many players are on NHL salaries. The traveling is what everyone has a missconception about the ECHL. This season, the Toledo Walleye have to travel once to Florida, once to the Carolinas, and once to Alabama. ALL the rest of their road games are not much further, if any, than the Komets going to Quad Cities. The Walleye play half their games in their own division. Thats, Kalamazoo, Cincy, and Wheeling, WV. Add Ft. Wayne to that division and the travel costs would not be much more than what they pay now. The problem really isn't the money though. In my opinion, it's a power problem. In the ECHL, the NHL controls many of the decisions, they control many of the players, and the inividual team owners don't have near as much control as what the Frankes do now.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:19pm

I'm not sure what the numbers are. I'm not trying to be unreasonable. Like I said, I don't expect them to lose large amounts of money or to go out of business. I respect what they have done for Fort Wayne hockey. I'm not a fan of the IHL as it is at this time. The concept is a decent one but the execution has been poor, in my opinion. I don't blame that all on the Franke's as fans in other cities do. But, there is Franke money invested in Flint, Bloomington, and perhaps Dayton. I understand the point of view that the investment in the other teams keeps the league alive. Keeping the league alive is in the best interest of the Franke's because as Blake has pointed out, the AHL and ECHL are much more costly to operate in. But is keep the IHL alive in the best interest of the fans and the franchises themselves? Mr. Franke's quote with regard to Muskegon..... "Their attendance over the last two, three years, has been pretty consistent, but to provide this level of entertainment, that

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:27pm

While I'm not totally surprised Muskegon has decided to pull out of the IHL, I am fearful for the survival of the league. You just can't lose two of your biggest franchises (Kalamazoo and Muskegon) and be able to replace them quickly with bona fide additions. I believe that IF there is hockey next year it will have a totally different look and flavor. I'm not sure that I can believe Chicago (it went dark after one year and hasn't been around the last three) and Evansville (no real building to play in) is the answer..... Four problems are happening at the same time, 1) the economy is just killing everyone, 2) the IHL does not have enough member teams to absorb the attrition, 3) with the ECHL in the same geographic area the number of cities to expand to has dried up, and 4) when do the weaker IHL teams just give up out of frustration? I know that the Franke's will never give up on keeping hockey in Fort Wayne. It is a unique place in minor league hockey-too unique to just say "the heck with it, we did our best, made a lot of money, and now the world of minor league hockey is disappearing so lets move on". Sometimes I bet they do think that, though.....Rumors are running rampant again about the ECHL and its virtues and shortcomings. Some have said that maybe two of their franchises may go dark and if that does happen they, too, will find a world of hurt because they, themselves, are so spread out it would make for rediculous divisions and horrific traveling. (Maybe that is what will save the IHL and minor league hockey in general). Franke stated that people were talking for once. Rumor has it that Kalamazoo may be pining to join the AHL. That would add to the traveling woes for the Toledo and Cincinnati franchises as Johnstown and Wheeling are two teams that may not survive.....Whatever happens I don't believe keeping the status-quo will be the answer. Major changes of one thing or another have to take place. Maybe it is time for some compromises. The ECHL plays with four veterans and the IHL plays with eight. Why not make it six for everyone. The IHL would have to unionize. The ECHL has a smaller salary cap than does the IHL. Why not split it down the middle? The ECHL would get a great midwestern division (Quad City, Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Flint, Port Huron, Dayton, Toledo, Cincinnati, Kalamazoo if they stay, and the promise of Chicago, and Evansville) while the IHL (even though they would have to unionize) would get a smaller salary cap AND stability. If they did this thing right they could chuck the name ECHL and call the teams in the east the EHL, the teams in the south the SHL, the teams in the midwest the MHL, and the teams in the west the PHL (Pacific Hockey League since the WHL is already a junior league). All four leagues would be run under one commissioner AND at the end of the season there would be a playoff between League Champions for the United States Cup.....Look guys, I'm kinda just thinking as I am typing but one just has to wonder how long it will be before minor league hockey higher-ups decide that negotiating the differences would be a lot smarter in the short term and a lot less expensive in the long term. OK, RunningKomet. There is my new book. I would be interested in all of your opinions whether or not you agree with me.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:27pm

Thursday concert is in the Expo Hall.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:30pm

JR, how about the pile of money they LOST during the final years in the IHL? You guys are also forgetting the surtax the Coliseum takes off the top of the tickets. I think they are taking all of that into consideration. Again, like I keep stressing, it has to be a sound business decision that is made for the immediate and long-term future.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:33pm

JungleMonkey...you took the words right outta my mouth. The Komets attendance is good enough for #1 in the ECHL, so you are right. The Frankes could make a killing in that league, but like I said before, I think it's a power issue. They rule the IHL and in the ECHL, they would be just some nobody owners. Thats the problem. Until they put the fans before their egos, we will have to live with it. Fortunately for me, I live in Ohio and Toledo is not much further of a drive, so I have been going to as mant Toledo games as Komets. Pretty bad considering I have season tickets, but next year, I will take them to Toledo. Oh yea. Just a sidenote. ECHL jerseys are made by Reebok, officially ECHL licensed, come standard with ALL logos(shoulder patches, etc), and are cheaper than Komets jerseys. I know cause I bought one.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:38pm

Alan's idea sounds good, but half those teams are on the verge of bankruptcy. The solid teams in all AA hockey need to be in one league, and forget about the Daytons and Flints,

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:43pm

Long-term future. Does the IHL as it exists offer that?

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:46pm

I didn't major in hockey operations in college, but with ticket revenue in excess of $2 million dollars, it would be hard to not make money.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 02/09/2010 - 4:05pm

I don't know, but I always know it's easier to make money in a non-union league, and travel expenses are a factor.

Also, the easiest thing in life is to tell someone else how to spend their money, especially with sports teams. LOL.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 4:31pm

is this referred to as back seat CEO-ing?

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 4:41pm

CBJ71, if you are going to take your season tickets to Toledo could you tell us where you sit at the komets games, if those seats are better than the ones i have i wouldn't mind switching.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 4:42pm

Alan, I love your book. Keep it up and pretty soon you'll be competing with the Harry Potter line for most books in a series. In all honesty, good ideas though.

Alright, since the Coliseum is obviously the bad guy here and it is just screwing over the poor Frankes and fans of Fort Wayne with its ridiculous cuts off the top of the Frankes profits, keeping us in this "league", why not just build their own building? Is the building more expensive than funding four minor league hockey teams for several years in addition to the league itself? I mean, come on, have you guys seen how nice all those yearly trophies are each year. Just imagine the costs of those too; It's simply mind boggling!

Yes, I know this may simply be a dream. Seriously, think of how expensive just a plain paved parking lot alone is. Hell, we've been paying $4 a game, per car, for 38 games a year, for how long now? We have gotten some really nice new paint lines each year out of the money though. I'd hate to think how much the road in front of my house costs!

And where has that guy who gets mad at people for bringing up "rumors" been lately? He always has all the answers, but I haven't seen him say much here in awhile. Maybe he's stuck in the snow. Professor, are you out there??

Alright, Alan, that's all I have. I'm going to go out and do my first round of cleaning the driveway. All hockey aside, drive safely everyone. Blake, if the game is cancelled for some reason tomorrow, do you have any idea when and where we can look for that announcement? Thanks for all you do.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 5:05pm

My seats are the top row of 206. I prefer to be up a higher so they probably aren't good seats if you sit down low. Sometimes you can see me there in a Walleye Jersey. I probably won't get season tickets at all. I have been going to Toledo almost as much as Ft. Wayne this year though, but My kids play travel hockey in Ft. Wayne so unless I move them to Toledo, It wouldn't be worth getting the season tickets. Ft. Wayne is about 15 minutes closer, so with the kids' practices 4 or 5 times a week, I'd rather keep them in Ft. Wayne.

Blake, as far as the non union thing, isn't that the way it is with any occupation. The employees get paid less, owners make more. That sums up the Komets. They could make money in a union league, just not as much, so until there are no non union leagues left, we will have to put up with it.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 02/09/2010 - 5:20pm

Decision won't be made until tomorrow but I'll have it up as soon as I hear.

I'm amazed and impressed you still have season tickets CBJ71 if your kids are playing travel hockey. How do you make that work? That takes some effort.

RK, how much money do you think they have? LOL. I'm not saying the coliseum is the bad guy here, but there are a hundred factors involved like that in owning a team. Most people never consider them, which is probably one reason why there is always so much turnover among owners from year to year.

During the last IHL years, I once sat down and tried to figure out budgets and I guestimated the team lost more than $1 million for about four years in a row. I had a pretty good understanding at the time on what workers comp was costing them, league and union dues, salaries and travel costs, all of it. The Frankes would never comment on it when I asked them, but I asked someone who should know a few years later and they said I was pretty close to what the figures where, but that I was probably too low. I had not taken into account the front office costs and things like that.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 5:43pm

I miss several games, but its really nice to have the tickets when we can go instead of waiting in line on game nights. We go to mast weekday games, Fridays, and weekends when the kids are home. We make about 2/3rds of the games.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 6:07pm

CBJ71, you forgot to mention that Reading PA, Elmira NY, Trenton PA, and also Johnstown PA, which teams like Kzoo, Cincy, Toledo, and Wheeling travel to often. So you're argument about the travel not being much worse is baseless. I also argue that your mention that the league is much much better is the same. That's youre opinion, and not much more.....

Mike in Toronto
Tue, 02/09/2010 - 6:30pm

Komets are very lucky to have fans that care as much as you folks do. I agree with Blake on the business case topic. However, with the fan base they have the Frankes have a lot more options than any other team out there. And on the business side if they are subsidizing to the extent suggested by some, then they may have to "let it go" With fan loyalty on their side they would still draw almost as many fans as some NHL teams. So I think the Komet presence in any league would be positive as long as the fans enjoy the hockey product on the ice. It just has to make business sense in the long run.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 6:33pm

The league is much better! have you ever been to an ECHL game? It's way more entertaining, and oh yea, there's 20 teams, not 7. Also, I remember not that long ago when the Komets traveled regularly to Elmira, Danbury, Adirondack, and others. Those teams you just mentioned are not that far from Ft. Wayne. Besides, look at the schedules. They play the majority of their games within the division and when they do travel to these cities, they play 3 to 5 games in the same area at a time. The ECHL is younger, faster, and way more entertaining. That's not an opinion, it's a fact. I have never heard a person that has been to both league's games ever claim the IHL is better.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 02/09/2010 - 6:36pm

I think we've got a little bit of a dichotomy going on here where some bloggers of a certain age remember when the Komets did not draw all that well and are not assuming that they will always draw as well as they do now. On the other hand, we've got some bloggers who only remember them drawing very well and assume they will always draw that well.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 6:39pm

Sorry, I forgot to mention my last post had a heavy topping of sarcasm, in-case anyone didn't pick it up.

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 6:43pm

I won't buy season tickets IF they go the JR. route

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 6:44pm

For all the talk in the past about the AHL, I wonder how Hodgman (who BTW scored a goal and another in the shootout last night) is enjoying the cross country trip to Abbotsford from Toronto? The AHL is DOOMED as long as they continue to try and work with that expanded map.

Mike in Toronto
Tue, 02/09/2010 - 6:46pm

Blake, have to admit, I only know the good side. But don't you think the product on the ice would dictate the attendance? If the team is obsorbing other team's expenses then maybe they could make it somewhere else. Or perhaps they may have to, if things keep going in this direction. The problem for the Frankes, I think it was mentioned somewhere before, will be in league that has NHL owners. FW may draw the most fans in any league but still not have as much influence. Does that make sense?

Blake Sebring
Tue, 02/09/2010 - 6:51pm

Fort Wayne only supports winners. It's been proven decade after decade.

The city has never seen a marketing machine like the Komets before, but if they have a losing season or heaven forbid, two in a row, things will get very, very tough in attendance figures. I'd write that in stone.