We all know that the Kenai River Brown
Bears struggle to keep the ship afloat, especially considering the heavy travel
budget associated with being one of only two North American Hockey League teams
With that said, Brownies General
Manager Nate Kiel should be ashamed of himself for serving up a simple sandwich
as the post-game meal for the visiting teams. "Welcome to the NAHL, thanks for
skating your backside off for three periods to entertain our fans," said a
player from one of the two teams that visited Kenai River this month. "Take
this sandwich as a token of our appreciation; it should hold you over until
You have got to be kidding us Nate.
Please don't try and say that is the best that you can do. The Sports Center
has a fully equipped kitchen that is more than capable of serving up a decent
meal for the visiting team. What is it going to take, maybe spend $120 on pasta
and meat sauce at Safeway?
The Kenai Peninsula has some of the
most dedicated hockey people on the planet, please don't try and tell me that
what is being suggested is simply not possible. Getting volunteers to take care
of the hockey players' post-game meal is not going to be difficult.
Speaking of staffing... where are the
athletic trainers? This is the NAHL, not the Anchorage Adult Hockey Association,
get out there and secure proper trainers for both the Brown Bears and the
visiting team. This is a deal that should be easy to trade-out for an
We also have to know that the Peninsula
economy is heavily influenced by tourist dollars. The local tourism industry
needs to look at these teams as micro-marketing super-powers and be sure that
each and every player has a wonderful experience to write home about. Think
about it, each player has their own social network of friends and family that
are following their junior hockey career. That network is likely to extend to
over 5,000 contacts for each player. What a tremendous opportunity to showcase
the best of what Alaska and the Peninsula has to offer. Instead the visiting
team is stuffed into substandard accommodations and fed plastic wrapped
The Brown Bears should be the Green
Bay Packers of the NAHL. That building should be stuffed to the rafters for
every game with the entire community firmly behind the organization. The Kenai
Peninsula deserves this level of play and they deserve a team that is worthy of
Hey Chamber of Commerces and Kenai Peninsula Marketing and Tourism Council, it is high time that you get off your big asses and get behind this team. The fish may not always be there to fund your existences and it might be helpful to educate the world on just how spectacular the Peninsula really is.
The last thing that I ever want to see
is the Brownies following the Avalanche out of Alaska. Nate, get some help. It
is obvious that you need it.
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Stephen Heisler resides in Puerto Penasco, Mexico with his wife,
Maria, and their two children, Sonia and Tomas. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHeisler for up to minute updates from the world of junior