Another wannabe hockey elitist recently wrote a scathing article trashing Southern hockey in general, and Carolina hockey in particular. It seems that Drew Mindell from the Illegal Curve came down south to visit and while attending a Durham Bulls game became flabbergasted over the fact that not only were the Carolina Hurricanes offering "two for one" tickets at the baseball game, but, (take a deep breath), no one seemed interested in them!
These cold hard facts of course proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that southern NHL expansion was an "unmitigated disaster", in the author's words anyway. Don't you just love it when people who have no idea what they are talking about, pretend like they do?
If it wasn't in the middle of August and if hockey news wasn't completely dead, I might ignore this meaningless dribble. Especially considering that it's coming from a jilted Winnipeg Jets lover. What else would you expect? But what the heck, I have nothing better to write about at the present time. Game on!
First of all, is it really a shocker that baseball fans in Durham might not be interested in hockey tickets in Raleigh? Newsflash- That might have been the purpose in having those tickets at that event. To try to promote the game to non-hockey fans.
The author goes on and on about the tragedy of offering "free tickets" to see a team like the Montreal Canadiens play and he can't understand why people wouldn't want to watch the Washington Capitals or the New Jersey Devils. But in the midst of all his ranting, he misses the whole point behind the promotion. It went right over his head.
The promotion has nothing to do with which particular teams are playing.
The games in question are scheduled on weekdays in November, December, and January, during the heart of football and basketball season here. (Three Tuesday games, two Thursday, one Wednesday, and one Sunday). Both games against the Canadiens are scheduled on Tuesdays in December. (thanks a lot NHL schedule makers) I realize that there might not be much else to do in some parts of the continent besides watching hockey, but there is football and basketball to compete with down here.
Some of our Canadian friends will never be able to come to grips with the notion that hockey has competition and still needs to grow in this region. Some of them quite frankly, do not want hockey to survive here, period. These naysayers will take every opportunity to condemn the region and to discredit the very idea that the NHL could eventually thrive here.
But take heart fans. For every wannabe elitist who is standing on their soapbox, pounding their fist on the CBA, and proclaiming that the NHL is dead in the south, there are others who support the idea of NHL hockey succeeding in these markets. They aren't as short-sighted and see the value and benefits of growing the sport. We have many Canadians who support this blog and visit here regularly, and for that we are grateful.
The funny thing about Mindell's article is that almost every NHL franchise has some type of promotion to help sell tickets. Whether it be bobblehead night, or beach towel night, or free car night, there are plenty of markets out there, (in both the north and south), who would love to sell more tickets and use a wide variety of promotions to do it.
Our friends on Long Island also need to sell more tickets. They have similar promotions. Is having a franchise on the Island an "unmitigated disaster"? Chicago is using a gimmick to help sell more tickets to Blackhawks games this year. Is NHL hockey dead in the Windy City? These writers never want to talk about the northern markets with problems. Picking on the south is much cooler and in vogue these days.
Dropping my own rhetoric for just a moment, this discussion does lead to a valid question. These "buy one get one free" offers have been around for awhile. Is this a good idea or a bad one? Some season ticket holders never really fell in love with the concept, but accepted it thinking that it would help grow the game here. If the promotion got more fans in the seats, then it had to be a good thing, right?
On the otherhand, this seems to be a dumb, easy, and cheap way to try to fill up seats. Just drop a bunch of vouchers off on a table and hope some baseball fans get curious enough to pick a few of them up? There has to be a better way to grow the fanbase, doesn't there? Is that the best bang for the buck that Peter Karmanos can get with his marketing dollars?
What do you think?