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04-15-2013, 06:45 PM
  #76
GopherState
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Originally Posted by Shootmaster_44 View Post

Also, if the Wild own most of the Aeros, I'm surprised they haven't thought of moving them to Minnesota? With how popular hockey is in general there, you'd think an AHL would be a hit. Just across the stateline in North Dakota, there is a basically brand new arena in Fargo, the Scheels Arena, that seats 5,000 for hockey. Seems like a market that would do very well for hockey. There currently is a USHL team in Fargo, that the Wild would have to work around but I figure it would be successful.

Plus being the Baby Wild would sell much better in Minnesota (or might as well be Minnesota) than in Iowa or South Dakota I would think. Fargo even has an airport with direct connection to Minneapolis, so callups would be a breeze. It is even a 3 and a half hour drive from Fargo to Minneapolis.
The issues with placing an AHL team in Minnesota are competition and location. It's great that hockey of all levels is very popular in the state. The Wild are supported well and even the high school tournament sells out the X. However, that doesn't guarantee the AHL would be just as supported as those two.

I don't want to say history would repeat itself although the AHL wasn't successful during the short stretch where the Moose played in the St. Paul Civic Center following the North Stars' move to Dallas. Any AHL team in the Twin Cities (a hockey crazed market of 3 million) has to compete with the Wild, HS hockey and the University of Minnesota, which sells out a 10,000 seat arena at NHL prices. That's a lot of competition for dollars and doesn't even include 3 other pro teams and a major university.

They aren't alone. 60% of the state's population lives in the Twin Cities but the majority of the other large cities in Minnesota also have college hockey teams. Other leagues have been shut out of the state (most notably the USHL). With the amount of tradition involved with those teams, it's a tough sell for fans to bring in a minor league team.

(The lack of AHL buildings in the Upper Midwest makes it difficult to bid on NCAA Hockey regionals compared to the East, but that's a different story.)

So that leaves a metro area in a border state like Des Moines, Fargo or Sioux Falls as the "closest" AHL city. I know Fargo was mentioned as a spot. It may be just across the border and is a good hockey area (there are plenty of North Dakota fans) but it isn't Minnesota. There's a difference.

It's hard to say that a 3.5-5 hour drive is close - it is closer than Houston - but it's a long drive for fans who have other hockey options in addition to proximity to other AHL teams and major airports. Minnesota is a hockey state, not a state where Wild run king. As much as I'm sure the NHL team would like to increase their profile, minor league hockey is a tough sell in an area where HS and college hockey are king.

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