Don't get excited about the double dishes... as soon as the Memorial and Clark Cups are settled, we will be back on the regular schedule.
Meanwhile, there is still a ton of dung to get through, so let's get started.
NEW MEXICO MUSTANGS TO CHICAGO?
There was an agenda item that would have moved the North American Hockey League's New Mexico Mustangs, owned by Ken "Happy Feet" Dennis, to the former home of the Chicago Hitmen in Geneva. During the discussion, Soo Eagles owner Ron Lavin, and others, jumped all over the proposed move saying it would be a big loser.
Needless to say, this move would have changed everything in regards to divisional alignment. Now Dennis has yet another case of the jitters and is reconsidering the move. There is another conference call set for Thursday.
I have to disagree with Lavin. Chicago in general, and Geneva specifically, could quickly become a winner on and off the ice. Let's face it, Mark Hammersmith simply did not have the capital required to properly market and operate a team. That is not the case with Dennis.
I may give Dennis a ton of crap, but the guy takes care of his team. In the last two years he has been in the league, I have not heard a single complaint about the way he takes care of the players. I'd be the first guy to stand up for him when it comes to that.
How can Geneva work? Dump the words "Chicago" and "Junior Hockey" from the vocabulary. Go with Kane County and focus the effort on the community. Find a good map and identify the nearest twenty-five elementary and pre-schools. Assign ONE player as a Monday volunteer at each of those schools. The player should help in the classroom, recess, PE, and be there from the time the busses arrive in the morning until they leave in the afternoon. Eventually, the children in each school will become very comfortable with the player and will want to see him play. All the team needs is for each player to connect with 20-30 children and when that happens, the arena will quickly fill.
The team should also cross-market with the Kane County Cougars. This minor-pro baseball team has figured it out. Having the two teams work together will give the marketing staff year-round employment.
Hire a respectable local coach like Chuck Linkenheld and give the reigns of the NA3HL team to the Team Illinois program. Lower the costs of the NA3HL team to the absolute breakeven point and recruit only Chicago area prospects to fill that roster.
Linkenheld will produce an instant winner on the ice, the school program will fill the seats, and Dennis will be an owner with a big smile on his face.
Was it a surprise that old Danny Boy called yesterday with another rant? Now that he is the king of AAU hockey, we are going to lose the Western States Hockey League and all of our WSHL customers. I am also expecting a lawsuit to be filed against me for yesterday's second dish. Oh well. Keep yapping Danny, we are going into the off-season and are in need of additional content.
TROPICAL ELITE HOCKEY LEAGUE
Oh boy, this is going to be fun. I've known Stirling Wright for nearly fifteen years so imagine my surprise when I discovered that he was trying to establish yet another junior hockey league in Florida. When we first started this site back in 2009, Wright was on board to give us a hand. He quickly jumped off to start his professional hockey league that never got off the ground.
After recruiting and coaching the second worst team in Great Lakes Junior Hockey League history last season, he was fired/resigned mid-season, and moved on to the Great Falls Americans of the American West Hockey League. Let's just say that did not work out very well either.
Back in the late 90's, Wright was a very short term coach of the Alaska Arctic Ice of the WSHL. Folks, that is the extent of Wright's junior hockey experience.
With that said, do we think that Wright is ready to be the commissioner of a junior league? Certainly not, but it gets better. The TEHL has plans to operate each of the six teams collectively with AAU providing the insurance. Please note that the TEHL is not operating at the national level and will not be participating in national events.
Normally I would not pay attention to this type of league/pipedream but Wright has decided to set up a team in the backyard of one of our advertisers, the Palm Beach Hawks. When I got word of this yesterday, I dropped Wright an email saying that doing something like this in Palm Beach is not a good idea if he wanted any kind of support from me. Let's just say that was not well received.
There are other rinks in South Florida that could have accommodated the TEHL easily. Trying to establish a new team in Palm Beach would be very disruptive to the Hawks programs. I tried to explain that doing so would be poking the bear and could result in a big response from the Hawks, Eastern Junior Hockey League, and Florida Amateur Hockey Association. Wright's said that I was wrong and that he was the bear. OK Stirling.
The WSHL had to get past some heavy resistance last season from a few referee associations. But let's make this perfectly clear, the TEHL is not the WSHL and Stirling Wright is certainly not a Ron White. Wright does not have the credibility, connections, or even the personality to get though a battle with USA Hockey.
So why would the TEHL want to start a battle in Palm Beach? That is simple, because Wright's ego won't allow him to admit to making a mistake. Let's all hope that prospects all go into this league with a serious backup plan if Wright fails...again.
What do you think?