For the record, I am most likely the North American Hockey League's biggest supporter. Maybe that is why I am also their biggest pain in the... you get the point. For some reason, I expect players to be treated the same in Bismarck as ... Read More...
These northern teams should consider moving down here to Texas like the Bulls and Rays and Jackalopes did. There are nice arenas to play and the model shows that former minor pro cities DO support the Junior teams that replace them. Rio Grand and Laredo are two fresh markets for the picking. Not sure why Lubbock isn't considered with natural rivalries in Amarillo and Odessa.
Dont forget Beaumont-Port Arthur, Abilene, Waco, San Angelo, and Central Texas had minor pro teams with good follwings. Houston Texas as well!!! Dont forget Texarkana once had an NA team averaging 1000 per game. Lake Charles, Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria Baton Rouge and New Orleans all once had or still have minor pro teams.
Cripes the drive is just one night from say Odessa to New Orleans and the players can be back in time for class the next day after a game. For the life of me I do'nt understand why some of the Northern teams try to tough it out so badly.
Good arenas, good weather, and crazy fans are here for the taking.
Don't count out the north just yet. I attended the Johnstown Tomahawks open house yesterday and was quite impressed. The guest speaker at the event was former NHL player Phil Bourque who is quoted as saying: "I'm impressed, it seems to be a first-class organization. They're trying to run it like a NHL team. It's going to be a class place, a destination where junior players are going to want to come here instead of them having to reach out and try to get good players."
I have to agree with Bourque. This organization is by far more professional than anything we ever saw with the ECHL Chiefs. Ads for the team have been all over the place all summer. I was told by a team representative that they set a goal to sell 1,000 season tickets, and there is a good chance they will reach their goal.
Perhaps other northern teams in former minor-pro markets need to copy what Johnstown is doing, because operating a junior team on a shoestring budget in a former minor league market is destined to fail.
David I don't disagree. There are markets this model will work well in. But it seems that the north markets seem saturated with Junior hockey. The south seems to NEED it, even starved for it. Attendance is the key. Then distance to travel is the second key. Price per ticket is the third.
Some markets will have one or even 2 but the South shows a pattern of having all 3. And once natural close driveable rivalries are in place the synergy will invoke a 4th key, competitive, driveable, geographic rivalries which results in even more fans.
I believe that Port Huron, Flint, and even Jamestown COULD be as successful as Johnstown... with the right management and financial backing.
I'll also say this, if the other divsional foes are not up to speed with Johnstown, you better look for them to make the jump to a level of play that matches their commitment to professionalism. Hello Skip this is....