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I think the CHL might be hard-pressed to cobble together six teams next season, even with Peoria. Merging into the Skatin' Punchin' Hollerin' League may be seen as the last option for survival.

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Well, the Hartford Wolf Pack are officially back. Cool.

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And may Howard Baldwin never soil hockey anywhere in North America again.

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And may Howard Baldwin never soil hockey anywhere in North America again.

Most of the damage done this time around was from the lack of support from the fans. They wanted the NHL back, but didn't want to put any work in. At least Baldwin tried.

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Still, if Peoria's hope is to "slum it" for a couple of years and then get back to the AHL (or ECHL, as someone stated above), why not help stabilize the Midwest contingent of the CHL? Bloomington and Quad City are there, plus St. Charles, Mo. expansion helps bridge the gap to the Mavericks.

You're going to be an outlier in the SPHL anyway. Why go there and drag Bloomington with you?

At any rate, if this derails the CHL or the league-owned Mallards, I've always thought the USHL makes a lot of sense for QC. But as you can see, I think geographically in these matters.

Bloomy was league owned, Quad City still is, St. Charles will most likely be DOA (they haven't hired office staff, GM hasn't answered phone in 2013 ... literally, building literally said "Who?" when asked why the team never answers the phone), Tulsa is looking to go to juniors, Fort Worth is done in the CHL and likely all together, Allen and Rapid City is gone.

This isn't Peoria saying "Hey, let's go to the SPHL!" This is Bloomington saying "let's GTFO this carcass of a league and give Peoria hockey again."

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Most of the damage done this time around was from the lack of support from the fans. They wanted the NHL back, but didn't want to put any work in. At least Baldwin tried.

While there's plenty of blame to go around in Hartford regarding the market's pro hockey travails, responsibility for the Connecticut Whale's spectacular flame-out has to be laid squarely at the feet of Howard Baldwin.

It was Baldwin - not Hartford area hockey fans - who consented to signing a $25,000-per-game lease - about triple the going rate in the American Hockey League - with former XL Center operators AEG. There was no realistic way that Baldwin was going to generate the revenue needed to meet that amount of rent while offering-up a minor-pro product. Further, said lease granted WSE the right to sell just 75 of 400 club seats and 8 of 48 suites in the XL Center, with the majority of such sales - and the revenue generated by them - being handled by AEG. Despite the fact that WSE was doing the actual selling of all regular seating, AEG received 8% of revenue from such sales. WSE received no share of concessions. More than anything else, entering into a lease with such onerous provisions was the decision that doomed Whaler Sports & Entertainment's Connecticut Whale experiment. Who made the decision? It wasn't Connecticut hockey fans. It was Howard Baldwin.

Sadly, that's typical of the poor business decisions that Howard Baldwin made during his tenure overseeing the local, day-to-day operations of the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale.

When he arrived on the scene to take over local business operations of the Wolf Pack in 2010, he trumpeted that he planned to raise average attendance to between 7,000 and 9,000 fans per game. This, despite the fact that the team had drawn just 4,188 fans per game during the 2009-2010 AHL season, and had only cracked the 7,000 fans-per-game barrier three times in the previous thirteen seasons, the last time being during the 2000-2001 AHL season. Setting goals is one thing, but - ideally - they should be realistic goals, so as to avoid setting one's self up to fail... and, by extension, generating a disappointing narrative for fans and the media to run with.

There was the decision to not only stage an outdoor double-header featuring Connecticut Whale-vs-Providence Bruins and Hartford Whalers Alumni-vs-Boston Bruins Alumni games, but to make said double-header part of the ten-day, outdoor Hartford Hockey Fest 2011. TEN days? How does a guy who is already looking at the American Hockey League's most onerous arena lease even contemplate taking on the financial responsibility - make that the financial RISK - of staging a ten-day, outdoor event... in New England... in FEBRUARY? It was an asinine decision on Howard Baldwin's part. Baldwin's part... not Connecticut hockey fans.

And there was also Baldwin's grandiose November 2011 unveiling of his $105 million plan to renovate the XL Center. A plan that he said would have to be financed by a public-private partnership. To be specific, he said, "I think there will be [corporate investment] for sure, but remember the biggest economic benefactors in this are the city and the state." So, which was it Baldwin? Did you "think" there would be investment from the private/corporate sector, or was such investment - in your estimation - "for sure" a component of the plan? And given the challenging state of finances in the City of Hartford and State of Connecticut at the time of the announcement, didn't you think it a bit presumptuous to identify the city and state as "the biggest economic benefactors" - i.e. those conferring a benefit... namely financing - to the plan? Most importantly, how much of the $105 million price-tag did you envision yourself contributing to the project? You were notoriously silent on that subject. Mighty big of you to propose a plan that you envision other parties - primarily the public sector - paying for.

Howard Baldwin is a dreamer. A "big vision" guy. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. Unless, of course, your dreams and visions have a tendency to fail to come to fruition, as Mr. Baldwin's attempts to return the NHL to Hartford have. When that happens, the hopes of a lot of people who put stock in not only your dreams and visions, but in your ability to see them through to completion, get dashed. And there are only so many times that a person's hopes can get dashed before they stop buying into the dreams and visions of a guy like Howard Baldwin.

Yes, yet again, Howard Baldwin "tried" on behalf of Connecticut hockey fans. The problem is that Mr. Baldwin doesn't have the financial wherewithal necessary to effectively try. The result is that he half-asses his attempts at trying. Which leads to failure. Which leads to Connecticut hockey fans having their hopes dashed. Which leads to increasing numbers of said fans turning their backs on Baldwin's under-financed, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants, ultimately-unsuccessful efforts at trying.

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Still, if Peoria's hope is to "slum it" for a couple of years and then get back to the AHL (or ECHL, as someone stated above), why not help stabilize the Midwest contingent of the CHL? Bloomington and Quad City are there, plus St. Charles, Mo. expansion helps bridge the gap to the Mavericks.

You're going to be an outlier in the SPHL anyway. Why go there and drag Bloomington with you?

At any rate, if this derails the CHL or the league-owned Mallards, I've always thought the USHL makes a lot of sense for QC. But as you can see, I think geographically in these matters.

Bloomy was league owned, Quad City still is, St. Charles will most likely be DOA (they haven't hired office staff, GM hasn't answered phone in 2013 ... literally, building literally said "Who?" when asked why the team never answers the phone), Tulsa is looking to go to juniors, Fort Worth is done in the CHL and likely all together, Allen and Rapid City is gone.

This isn't Peoria saying "Hey, let's go to the SPHL!" This is Bloomington saying "let's GTFO this carcass of a league and give Peoria hockey again."

Hopefully Allen, RC, the Mavs & Wichita can find another league...they're too solid just to be done like that.

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So what happens with all of the Canucks prospects now? Dispersal as AHL free agents (w/ Vancouver retaining their rights of course)?

Side note to the CHL, I agree, the CHL is dying..FAST. I expect a few more teams to jump to the E to balance it out.

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It was Baldwin - not Hartford area hockey fans - who consented to signing a $25,000-per-game lease - about triple the going rate in the American Hockey League - with former XL Center operators AEG. There was no realistic way that Baldwin was going to generate the revenue needed to meet that amount of rent while offering-up a minor-pro product. Further, said lease granted WSE the right to sell just 75 of 400 club seats and 8 of 48 suites in the XL Center, with the majority of such sales - and the revenue generated by them - being handled by AEG. Despite the fact that WSE was doing the actual selling of all regular seating, AEG received 8% of revenue from such sales. WSE received no share of concessions. More than anything else, entering into a lease with such onerous provisions was the decision that doomed Whaler Sports & Entertainment's Connecticut Whale experiment. Who made the decision? It wasn't Connecticut hockey fans. It was Howard Baldwin.

Sadly, that's typical of the poor business decisions that Howard Baldwin made during his tenure overseeing the local, day-to-day operations of the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale.

Fair point. I won't pretend to know about the economical business side of the equation nor what ramifications or consequences are garnered by those decisions.

When he arrived on the scene to take over local business operations of the Wolf Pack in 2010, he trumpeted that he planned to raise average attendance to between 7,000 and 9,000 fans per game. This, despite the fact that the team had drawn just 4,188 fans per game during the 2009-2010 AHL season, and had only cracked the 7,000 fans-per-game barrier three times in the previous thirteen seasons, the last time being during the 2000-2001 AHL season. Setting goals is one thing, but - ideally - they should be realistic goals, so as to avoid setting one's self up to fail... and, by extension, generating a disappointing narrative for fans and the media to run with.

There was promise. The first game of the Whale's identity was packed. On the radio, on television, and in print media, Baldwin said that attendance like this needed to continue if Hartford wanted to even sniff the possibility of the National Hockey League returning to Connecticut's capital. Promotion/Marketing improved drastically for the Whale and Baldwin really did try to get this team on the map. That portion of the blame does fall on the fans. Another fault was the lack of Wolf Pack fan support for the Whale. From 1997 until 2010, the Hartford Wolf Pack fans repeated their mantra to people who dared show up in anything Hartford Whalers to the Civic Center; just be glad you have hockey and support this team. Now, the tables were turned and the Wolf Pack fans wanted nothing to do with the Connecticut Whale, even though they still had hockey. That core support went down the tubes and now, the Whale had to start from scratch with people who wanted NHL-caliber hockey, but weren't willing to open their wallets for it.

There was the decision to not only stage an outdoor double-header featuring Connecticut Whale-vs-Providence Bruins and Hartford Whalers Alumni-vs-Boston Bruins Alumni games, but to make said double-header part of the ten-day, outdoor Hartford Hockey Fest 2011. TEN days? How does a guy who is already looking at the American Hockey League's most onerous arena lease even contemplate taking on the financial responsibility - make that the financial RISK - of staging a ten-day, outdoor event... in New England... in FEBRUARY? It was an asinine decision on Howard Baldwin's part. Baldwin's part... not Connecticut hockey fans.

This is a little misleading. If I'm not mistaken, most outdoor facilities (such as the Winter Classic in the NHL) do stay open for more events than just the one "showcase" game. In this particular instance, the two biggest events were obviously the Alumni game and the one AHL game which were promoted heavily. The other functions that the venue served was for high school, college, mens leagues, as well as a Hartford Whalers mobile exhibit. BC/BU played at Fenway Park in 2011, as well as a few other college games. I don't see how Baldwin's plan of having other events deviates from any other plan any other stadium or ownership has ever done for another outdoor venue.

Let's not also forget that a lot of tickets were sold for the event. However, the deal breaker was the weather. If I remember correctly, a snow storm beat up parts of the Connecticut in the days prior to the AHL game, as well as the very frigid temperatures, led to attendance figures dropping dramatically.

And there was also Baldwin's grandiose November 2011 unveiling of his $105 million plan to renovate the XL Center. A plan that he said would have to be financed by a public-private partnership. To be specific, he said, "I think there will be [corporate investment] for sure, but remember the biggest economic benefactors in this are the city and the state." So, which was it Baldwin? Did you "think" there would be investment from the private/corporate sector, or was such investment - in your estimation - "for sure" a component of the plan? And given the challenging state of finances in the City of Hartford and State of Connecticut at the time of the announcement, didn't you think it a bit presumptuous to identify the city and state as "the biggest economic benefactors" - i.e. those conferring a benefit... namely financing - to the plan? Most importantly, how much of the $105 million price-tag did you envision yourself contributing to the project? You were notoriously silent on that subject. Mighty big of you to propose a plan that you envision other parties - primarily the public sector - paying for.

I don't think enough information was ever really released to throw this on just one person. We'd need to hear more of the proposed planning for this.

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So what happens with all of the Canucks prospects now? Dispersal as AHL free agents (w/ Vancouver retaining their rights of course)?

Side note to the CHL, I agree, the CHL is dying..FAST. I expect a few more teams to jump to the E to balance it out.

If the Canucks can't find a suitable home for the team, then the players will be dispersed out on loan to various other AHL or ECHL squads until needed.

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I won't pretend to know about the economical business side of the equation nor what ramifications or consequences are garnered by those decisions.

The "ramifications or consequences" of Baldwin agreeing to the egregiously one-sided lease that he signed are readily apparent: he put himself in an untenable financial situation before the 2010-2011 Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale ever played a game, which directly led to Baldwin and his Whalers Sports & Entertainment outfit eventually racking-up unpaid bills of between $1.5 and $2 million.

From 1997 until 2010, the Hartford Wolf Pack fans repeated their mantra to people who dared show up in anything Hartford Whalers to the Civic Center; just be glad you have hockey and support this team. Now, the tables were turned and the Wolf Pack fans wanted nothing to do with the Connecticut Whale, even though they still had hockey. That core support went down the tubes and now, the Whale had to start from scratch with people who wanted NHL-caliber hockey, but weren't willing to open their wallets for it.

It wasn't as if Hartford Wolf Pack fans headed for the exits en masse once the rebrand to the Connecticut Whale identity was announced. Truth be told, support for AHL hockey in Hartford had been on a steady decline since the 2000-2001 season, bottoming out at 4,188 fans per game during the 2009-2010 Wolf Pack campaign. That's a sign that Hartford's current hockey attendance problems aren't a result of the fact that "Wolf Pack fans wanted nothing to do with the Connecticut Whale". Rather, it is a pretty straightforward indication that those hockey fans who do call Greater Hartford home are of the mind that they are entitled to NHL-calibre hockey and won't settle for anything less.

Which goes a long way towards explaining why "people who want NHL-caliber hockey... weren't willing to open their wallets for" the AHL brand of the game that the Baldwin was promoting. After all, if you feel that you're entitled to NHL-calibre hockey, there's every probability that you're not going to deign to consume the AHL brand of the sport... even if you only have to pay AHL prices to do so. What compounded Baldwin's problems is that he agreed to pay roughly three times as much rent as any other AHL franchise, so there was little-to-no possibility of making the numbers work without jacking-up ticket prices commensurately. However, as we've discussed, Baldwin didn't have much sustained luck convincing Greater Hartford's hockey fans to consistently come out in support of minor-pro hockey at minor-pro prices, so the odds that he'd have convinced them to pay more money for the product was the proverbial slim-and-none.

However you cut it, Baldwin should have been able to see the writing on the wall: He faced a decidedly uphill - bordering on impossible - battle getting the hockey consumers of Greater Hartford to consistently purchase tickets to the AHL calibre of the sport. That he forged ahead anyway shows either hubris, foolhardiness, or a combination of both on his part.

This is a little misleading. If I'm not mistaken, most outdoor facilities (such as the Winter Classic in the NHL) do stay open for more events than just the one "showcase" game... I don't see how Baldwin's plan of having other events deviates from any other plan any other stadium or ownership has ever done for another outdoor venue.

Really? You honestly "don't see how Baldwin's plan of having 9 additional days of other events deviates from any other plan any other stadium or ownership has ever done for another outdoor venue" hockey game? Well, let's just start with the first such event you offer-up in comparison, the NHL Winter Classic. The NHL Winter Classic has, at minimum, the marketing power - and, more importantly, financial wherewithal - of the National Hockey League and the hosting major-pro hockey franchise behind it. By comparison, Whalers Sports & Entertainment's Hartford Hockey Fest 2011 had Howard Baldwin behind it. Under the best of circumstances Mr. Baldwin's financial wherewithal would come up wanting when compared to the combined monetary might of the NHL and a modern-major pro sports franchise owner. Sadly, as I pointed out in analyzing the XL Center lease deal Baldwin entered into with AEG, he wasn't operating under the best of financial circumstances. He knew that, yet he still chose to bite off more than he could chew and schedule 10 days of events. In doing so, he exacerbated his severe financial problems.

Let's not also forget that a lot of tickets were sold for the event. However, the deal breaker was the weather. If I remember correctly, a snow storm beat up parts of the Connecticut in the days prior to the AHL game, as well as the very frigid temperatures, led to attendance figures dropping dramatically.

Correction: A lot of tickets were distributed for the event. To this day, the actual number of tickets sold - paid for - is open to considerable debate. Bear in mind that if "a lot of tickets were sold for the event", it wouldn't matter whether people actually braved the bitterly cold weather to use them after making their purchases. That revenue would have still have been collected by WS&E.

I don't think enough information was ever really released to throw this on just one person. We'd need to hear more of the proposed planning for this.

On the contrary. The $105 million XL Center renovation plan was Baldwin's proposal. He grandiosely unveiled it at the Metro Hartford Alliance's Rising Star Breakfast in November of 2011. It outlined just how the $105 million would be spent: $17.6 million for a food court... $15.5 million for the Hartford Entertainment Live complex... $14.3 million for seating enhancements, additional luxury boxes, etc... $13 million for facilities upgrades... the list went on and on.

At the time, when asked about the need for a public-private partnership to finance the project, Baldwin said, "I think there will be [corporate investment] for sure, but remember the biggest economic benefactors in this are the city and the state." Hmmmmm... sounds suspiciously like Baldwin hedging his bets on the "private" portion of the public-private partnership, while boldly opining that the City of Hartford and State of Connecticut should be the entities conferring the benefits of an XL Center renovation via the "biggest" investment of public dollars in the project. Quite an opinion on Baldwin's part, particularly given the state of the economy in Connecticut at the time.

Baldwin went on to state, "We've put forward this plan. People have to either get on board and embrace it or not." Well, given the silence that greeted Baldwin's proposal from both corporate and government entities, it would seem that both potential private and public partners weren't overly receptive to his plan. Which shouldn't come as a surprise, given the fact that Baldwin had nary a thing to say about just how much money he was prepared to invest in his own plan.

Baldwin's XL Center renovation plan sank like a stone because, as has all too often been the case with his forays into pro hockey, he was long on ideas and short with cash. He's great at conceptualizing visionary plans... he just wants someone else to foot-the-bill for them.

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Can I get a source for that last part, please?

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Still, if Peoria's hope is to "slum it" for a couple of years and then get back to the AHL (or ECHL, as someone stated above), why not help stabilize the Midwest contingent of the CHL? Bloomington and Quad City are there, plus St. Charles, Mo. expansion helps bridge the gap to the Mavericks.

You're going to be an outlier in the SPHL anyway. Why go there and drag Bloomington with you?

At any rate, if this derails the CHL or the league-owned Mallards, I've always thought the USHL makes a lot of sense for QC. But as you can see, I think geographically in these matters.

Bloomy was league owned, Quad City still is, St. Charles will most likely be DOA (they haven't hired office staff, GM hasn't answered phone in 2013 ... literally, building literally said "Who?" when asked why the team never answers the phone), Tulsa is looking to go to juniors, Fort Worth is done in the CHL and likely all together, Allen and Rapid City is gone.

This isn't Peoria saying "Hey, let's go to the SPHL!" This is Bloomington saying "let's GTFO this carcass of a league and give Peoria hockey again."

Hopefully Allen, RC, the Mavs & Wichita can find another league...they're too solid just to be done like that.

Well, that's why I figured QC, Peoria, Bloomington, St. Charles* would make some sense as the eastern, less stable option. And I'm talking maybe two years of stability as compared to the year-to-year. I have no long-term expectations, especially with the Mallards league-owned. But Peoria's end-game can't be the SPHL? No offense, but a two-year-max stay in a Midwest division of Double-A isn't better than the same in a southern Single-A? (And are those designations legit? I sometimes wonder how the CHL is AA.)

*hadn't heard the St. Charles developments, or lack thereof, but that blows a hole in that 8-team plan anyway.

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Still, if Peoria's hope is to "slum it" for a couple of years and then get back to the AHL (or ECHL, as someone stated above), why not help stabilize the Midwest contingent of the CHL? Bloomington and Quad City are there, plus St. Charles, Mo. expansion helps bridge the gap to the Mavericks.

You're going to be an outlier in the SPHL anyway. Why go there and drag Bloomington with you?

At any rate, if this derails the CHL or the league-owned Mallards, I've always thought the USHL makes a lot of sense for QC. But as you can see, I think geographically in these matters.

Bloomy was league owned, Quad City still is, St. Charles will most likely be DOA (they haven't hired office staff, GM hasn't answered phone in 2013 ... literally, building literally said "Who?" when asked why the team never answers the phone), Tulsa is looking to go to juniors, Fort Worth is done in the CHL and likely all together, Allen and Rapid City is gone.

This isn't Peoria saying "Hey, let's go to the SPHL!" This is Bloomington saying "let's GTFO this carcass of a league and give Peoria hockey again."

Hopefully Allen, RC, the Mavs & Wichita can find another league...they're too solid just to be done like that.

Well, that's why I figured QC, Peoria, Bloomington, St. Charles* would make some sense as the eastern, less stable option. And I'm talking maybe two years of stability as compared to the year-to-year. I have no long-term expectations, especially with the Mallards league-owned. But Peoria's end-game can't be the SPHL? No offense, but a two-year-max stay in a Midwest division of Double-A isn't better than the same in a southern Single-A? (And are those designations legit? I sometimes wonder how the CHL is AA.)

*hadn't heard the St. Charles developments, or lack thereof, but that blows a hole in that 8-team plan anyway.

There might not be a next season for the CHL, and allegedly the ECHL isn't grabbing any "startup" expansion teams before the end of this coming season. So if Peoria wanted to have hockey next year it was either "pedophile's delight" or the SPHL.

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Will Baltimore get the AHL back? I miss those Skipjacks

Bandits or GTFO.

"pedophile's delight"

The Sugarhill Gang could never figure out why their follow-up single didn't build on the success of their first.

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Will Baltimore get the AHL back? I miss those Skipjacks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e1aLyJ3efM

Will they??? :censored: seriously??? well lets get a arena first then fans to support that team, cause ya know the last team you had was supported SO well and had SUCH a great arena they STILL moved to :censored: maine!! geesh

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