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Daily Dish: Why Not St. Charles? - Junior Hockey News

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Published: Tuesday, 10 Apr 2012
By: Stephen Heisler  |  Web site: JuniorHockey.com

The North American Hockey League has been in St. Louis twice in the league's 35 years of existence. The first version, the St Louis Sting and today's St. Louis Bandits. What confuses me is the fact that both teams either ignored or overlooked the 10,000 seat Family Arena in St. Charles.

How could something like this happen? In their hayday, the United Hockey League's Missouri River Otters drew an average of 5,906 in 1999-2000 and still averaged 2,446 in 2005-2006 before the team discontinued operations.

Family Arena has been the focal point of numerous rumors this off-season. There has been speculation that the Central Hockey League, United States Hockey League, and even the ECHL were about to set up shop at the arena. As of today, sources within the arena are saying that they only really talked to one of those leagues.

Why not St. Charles? The rent is reasonable, roughly $5,000 a game, and the arena would reduce that number along with an increase in attendance.  Again, that number might seem big to some folks, but laughable to many others. Let's just say this, $5,000 sounds really good to more than a few current NAHL teams.

Why are the Bandits not playing at Family Arena? Maybe because the organization was either unwilling to take the risk or unwilling to put in the effort it was going to take to make it work.  Either way, one of the most successful franchises in league history looks to be on its last legs.

It is my opinion that St Charles has proven itself to be a winner and it is just a matter of time before some team makes Family Arena their home.

What do you think?


posted Apr. 10th, 2012 - 12:53am
Harry Urschel says:
300 hundred fans will look awfully lonely in there.

posted Apr. 10th, 2012 - 10:51am
Steven Marks says:
Didn't the Bandits try a few games at "a large" arena and I heard they drew well. Maybe they do not have the front office to handle the ops.

posted Apr. 10th, 2012 - 11:36am
Alex Hyde says:
The Bandits did play a few games at The St. Peter's Rec Plex this year which confidently is in St. Charles county. It's no secret the Bandits wanted to test the waters. There is demand for the sports dollar in St. Charles county and they do have a history of supporting their teams. Traditionally the River City Rascals baseball team of the Frontier League are always at the top of the attendance sheets and the Missouri River Otters of the UHL drew welling their brief history.
I love the Bandits and Jr. hockey in general, I go to about 20 games a year between the Bandits and the Jr. Blues of the NA3HL. The problem in St. Louis is I just don't think too many people get the gist of junior hockey. When I talk about the Bandits the first response I usually get is "oh they're that minor league team right?" And then I have to explain what Jr. Hockey is. I would love to see the Bandits stay in the STL metro area and I would love to see the USHL as well. Just look up and down the rosters of USHL teams, they're loaded with St. Louis kids. But minor pro hockey might make more sense. Either way I'll support whom ever. I'll continue to go to NAHL games at the Hardee's Ice Plexi but I'll also drive the extra few miles to the Family Arena. Thanks to the new Page extension highway the Family Arena is a lot closer and more convenient to St. Louis county then people realize.

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