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Minor League Hockey Shake-up...coming


JackieMoon
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Arco Arena has an ice plant (or did), but I believe the rink runs perpendicular to the basketball court, which is wack. (Wiggidy-wack? Nope, just regular type.)

Yeah Arco's ice setup is pretty weird. Only plus side over the horseshoe layout of most basketball only arenas is that the scoreboard is centered... but other than that the seats would appear to be mostly between the blue lines and both goals would be in a very odd location. But it's neither here nor there. Arco isn't long for this world.

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Another idea for the Baby Sharks... Will Sacramento's new arena be hockey ready (or at least minor league hockey ready)?

They'll have to fight the Flames for it after Stockton burns.

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It's official...the Jr. Gulls confirmed that they'll be the San Diego Sabers next season.

So, there goes the last roadblock to the AHL team being the Gulls.

I swear I'm getting more and more excited for the Gulls return by the day. Glad to see it's all but official now.

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How about they have a logo of Stockton on fire? Show the city financially strapped after the Flames leave town and leave lots of fans burnt. ...

Not sure how them leaving town would leave the city financially strapped. Stockton after all has already declared bankruptcy. They're pretty much in the clear on most of their prior bad investments, and they're not investing anything in this AHL franchise. It's no hair off their backsides if the Flames leave.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Cool. Nice to see the big group in San Diego

Over 8,500 fans showed up. The team had been expecting 500 and said if 1000 showed up it would have been outstanding. They had no clue there was such a strong following of the sport in San Diego. The Gulls will do just fine. And it won't hurt that they'll be the only pro team playing between December and April (possibly even October and April if the Chargers leave). Their only real competition will be SDSU basketball.

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I've missed most of this thread, but as a former AHL season ticket holder, allow me to chime in...

Admiral made a huge point earlier...the AHL isn't about winning championships. It's about developing players at limited cost.

When Lowell had a team, it worked out well for travel costs. There were 7 teams within roughly a 2-2 1/2 hour drive (Manchester, Portland, Worcester, Springfield, Hartford, Providence, Bridgeport.) While it becomes incredibly boring from a fan's perspective to see the same teams all the time, it was very cost-effective to have nearby opponents. And when you have close rivals, you also draw rival fans, which increase your own attendance.

It's funny everyone has mentioned the Calgary/New Jersey model of cutting costs. Both were Lowell's affiliates at one point, New Jersey especially for the last three seasons.

As of right now, Manchester will be an ECHL affiliate next year. I think that franchise will lose a lot of fans. It's not like theres nothing else around, but it will be hard to cultivate a low-level rivalry when the nearest opponent is over three hours away. Doesn't make for a lot of last-minute visiting fans to help fill the seats. At least in Lowell, it was an option to head 30-45 minutes to either Worcester or Manchester to take in a game.

Another person here asked about the level of ECHL competition compared to the NCAA. I say it's even at best. There are players in Hockey East who are NHL prospects, and when the NCAA season ends, most will sign Part-time TryOut (PTO) agreements for at least 10 days. It's possible it's due to the geographical proximity, but I think it's because Division I hockey is a good preparation for the AHL.

Someone else mentioned travel costs, and brought up the Alaska Aces. Teams cover travel costs for their opponents. For the last 6+ years as a franchise, Lowell never played more than 12 different opponents. The owners were too cheap to pay for trips out west. Even though teams like Houston, Rockford and Omaha would travel to New England and play Worcester and Manchester, they skipped Lowell, which is right in between the two cities. Lowell's ownership would not spend the travel costs to send the team out West. The furthest opponents that would come to Lowell were Norfolk, Hershey, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Binghamton visited once. Syracuse and Rochester were unseen since the early years of the Lowell franchise.

Lowell lost its franchise in 2010, and the arena was purchased by UMass-Lowell. A lot of renovations were done, including more luxury boxes, video display/message boards, etc. I have also moved out of Lowell, about 25 miles away. If Lowell was to get an AHL team again, I'd definitely take in a few games, although my season-ticket days are most likely behind me.

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The Ontario Reign have let it leak via season ticket literature that they'll only be playing a 68-game season, as opposed to the 76 games the other 25 AHL teams will play. I am now calling the AHL Pacific the Special Snowflake Division.

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