Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

NHL PROJECT YEAR 2 - B

Pigpen had some thoughts on fixing the NHL as well...

An additional factor in the attendance/rivalry discussion is that some cities don't deserve teams. Dallas is a bit of an anomaly as is Denver, and Denver seems to be waning as the roster moved further and further from the mid-90's rosters. Phoenix struggles with all professional sports and the South is a dead market for hockey despite the carpetbagger population. I tend to look at the popularity and location of the minor leagues and the collegiate teams. They are all north of the Ohio River, which is where the NHL continues to be popular, with the exception of maybe Columbus but Ohio has never really taken a shine to hockey much anyway. The IHL, AHL and CHL have never really taken off in the state.


Remember the old Muskegon Lumberjacks? They moved to Cleveland in 92 and folded with the rest of the IHL in 2-01 only to be replace by an AHL team that made it only 5 years. All of this was after Cleveland got an NHL team that was moved from CA (which was part of the expansion that created LA, Pitt, MN and Phila) and lasted only 2 seasons, 76-77 and 77-78.


All the history aside, hockey will remain a predominantly regional sport and the outflow of people from hockey rich areas to others will not create enough sustainable interest in the home team. SI did a report last fall about the Diamondback's playoff run and how the AZ population were by and large non-native and thus retained allegiances to former teams such as NY, StL, Chi, Det etc.


Interesting story, I was in Shreveport Lous-yana about 15-ish years ago visiting some relatives. This was the point where my interest in hockey was increasing at an exponential rate. The Wings were ramping up to the decade of dominance and I was just starting to play in HS. I was confused at the complete lack of familiarity that they had towards the sport, it was to the effect of "Isn't that what them dam cajun's play in the south?". To back up real quick there was a minor league team that was doing quite well in popularity that was located down in the SW corner of Louisiana and mainstream media picked up on it as something quite unusual because it was very confined in that it did not generate any popularity in the rest of the state and logic would suggest that it had no business being there in the first place.


But back to the main point (if there is one) the densest hockey population is in the northern tier states in terms of all levels of the game, from mites and squirts all the way through college and juniors to pros. See attached map of D1 distribution, you'll find that the D2 and D3 teams reside in the same region for both men and women with Alabama-Huntsville the lone southern school. Based on this argument I guess it's no surprise that CO has a long term interest and sustainability with 3 college teams associated with the greater Denver area. UoDen, Col College, and the AF Aca.

My point is, I think the NHL needs a re-organization with an Original 6 divison as a must have. Those are the teams where interest doesn't wax and wane to the degree of the expansion based teams. Poor poor Washington and FL, what the H were you thinking? Furthermore, Dallas does support their team but they never should have moved out of MN in the first place.

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