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The Future of Hockey in the Southeast

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06-03-2011, 03:44 PM
  #1
Top 6 Spaling
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The Future of Hockey in the Southeast

Obviosuly the departure of the Thrashers will hurt hockey in Georgia, but I am afraid the effects will be far further reaching than people imagine.

For those who are unfamiliar with the southern youth hockey scene, which i would assume is most people as its not very prevalent, I'll go into a little more detail. The following figures are for A/AA travel.

Nashville: 2 major rinks, ~2 teams per age level
Knoxville: 1 major rink, 0-1 teams per age level
Memphis: 1 major rink, 0-1 teams per age level
Huntsville, AL: 2 Major Rinks, ~1 team per age level
Birmingham AL: 1 major rink ~1 team per age level
Greenville SC: 1 major rink 0-1 teams per age level
Little Rock, ARK: .5 major rink, 0-1 teams per age level
ATLANTA: 4 major rinks, 4-5 teams per age level

In many leagues, Atlanta accounts more than half of all of teams in each age group. Should half of the teams/rinks in Atlanta fold due to a fading interest because of the departure, it could spell disaster for southern youth hockey in more than just Georgia. Atlanta is relied on heavily to supply teams for these leagues, and this move puts the growth of hockey in the south in serious jeopardy.

Even if youth hockey outside of Atlanta survives, some leagues may be forced to fold due to a lack of teams. Should this happen, there will be a huge decrease in the amount of players south of the Mason Dixon.


Last edited by Top 6 Spaling: 06-03-2011 at 07:12 PM.
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06-03-2011, 06:14 PM
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First off I'm not sure this thread is in the right place for discussion.

I don't think that the NHL belongs anyplace where you can't skate outside on a lake for some part of the year.

I lived down south for years and the snowbirds who move down looking for better weather are not going to commit to seeing a hockey game unless it's their home town team coming to pound the heck out of the southern team.

There was no hockey players south of the Mason Dixon for a very long time I'm sure that Hockey will survive and the kid will go back to playing "kick the can" or peach fighting

It stinks for the kids who started playing hockey in the Atlanta market but I'm sure they will survive. I was moved out of the NE when I was young and never got to play hockey of any sort until I moved back up north in my late 30s.

I have mixed feelings about California teams.

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06-03-2011, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adaminnj View Post
First off I'm not sure this thread is in the right place for discussion.

I don't think that the NHL belongs anyplace where you can't skate outside on a lake for some part of the year.

I lived down south for years and the snowbirds who move down looking for better weather are not going to commit to seeing a hockey game unless it's their home town team coming to pound the heck out of the southern team.

There was no hockey players south of the Mason Dixon for a very long time I'm sure that Hockey will survive and the kid will go back to playing "kick the can" or peach fighting

It stinks for the kids who started playing hockey in the Atlanta market but I'm sure they will survive. I was moved out of the NE when I was young and never got to play hockey of any sort until I moved back up north in my late 30s.

I have mixed feelings about California teams.
If this is the wrong place, I apologize. I wasn't sure.

I understand what you are saying, but this comment, and really this entire post, is horribly offensive to me. I have lived in Nashville since I was two, but hockey is my life. This past season, i played both travel and high school, for a total of 6 days a week, twice on 3 of those days. I post every day on HF boards. I watch NHL games or highlights whenever I can work it in around homework. My high school team just won the state championship, and it is a moment I will never forget.

I understand hockey "belongs" in the north. Clearly, since you have had hockey longer, no one else has a right to enjoy the greatest game on earth. If you are going to tell me that I do not deserve hockey, despite all of the time I have put into this game, then I don't know what to tell you. While there are not as many die-hard fans in the south as there are in the north, we care just as much. I don't just go to games to watch my "home town team coming to pound the heck out of the southern team". I am from Minnesota, but I dont see them beating the Predators much.

I apologize that I am not worthy of loving this game as much as you are. I'll be sure to go back to ""kick the can" or peach fighting", though I can assure you I have done neither. Long live hockey, in the north, south, and around the world.

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06-03-2011, 08:21 PM
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We're not so far south, but hockey is thriving in Washington. We've got a ton of adult leagues in several rinks, and the youth hockey scene is exploding. All the kids want to play hockey now thanks in part to the Caps.

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06-03-2011, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by adaminnj View Post
First off I'm not sure this thread is in the right place for discussion.

I don't think that the NHL belongs anyplace where you can't skate outside on a lake for some part of the year.

I lived down south for years and the snowbirds who move down looking for better weather are not going to commit to seeing a hockey game unless it's their home town team coming to pound the heck out of the southern team.

There was no hockey players south of the Mason Dixon for a very long time I'm sure that Hockey will survive and the kid will go back to playing "kick the can" or peach fighting

It stinks for the kids who started playing hockey in the Atlanta market but I'm sure they will survive. I was moved out of the NE when I was young and never got to play hockey of any sort until I moved back up north in my late 30s.

I have mixed feelings about California teams.
I have to agree with gopreds. Indoor rinks make it possible for kids to play everywhere and there is no such thing as one area deserving to play more than the other as far as I'm concerned. I live in Vancouver and we can't even play outside here but that doesnt stop everyone I know from picking up hockey at some point in their lives. OK, maybe ONCE a year there is a day where we can go skate on a frozen, flooded field, but it's not common practice.

I have friends who live and play in Seattle and San Jose and I've gone to various tournaments with them around the States and I know that they LOVE their hockey! They are as passionate about it as anyone up North.

Sure, it stinks for the kids who started playing and have to see their local team move away but if they truly love hockey they will find ways to play it. They can easily watch it on TV. The team moving away will mean a smaller market for grass roots in Atlanta and that's too bad, but it won't completely demolish the demand for it. It's a shame it won't have the opportunity to grow with an NHL team but maybe in the future it will get one back.

Like gopreds, I think you are totally off base with your generalizations.


As far as the original post: without an NHL team to stir up a local market, it is likely that fewer kids will begin to lace up the skates. It's not to say that this is going to happen, just that it seems likely. I feel for all the kids in Atlanta who love hockey as much as we do. Hopefully, they have created enough of a stir to keep kids going in the mean time until an NHL franchise moves back to Atlanta.

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06-03-2011, 09:07 PM
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Hockey in the South is still growing and will be fine. Obviously the ATL area will probably take a hit but how big of a hit remains to be seen. They will still have plenty of players to fill their travel teams so I wouldn't worry about Travel teams having to fold unless several rinks close and there isn't enough ice. I know at least one of those travel programs isn't just Atlanta specific but is a Southeast team. It will be interesting over the next few years if any rinks or leagues have to close and how many. Sucks for ATL area hockey for sure but the rest will still be fine. I would bet in the next 15 years you will start seeing plenty of players from Texas and Florida drafted and as long as the NHL stays in the Southern cities I have no doubt the sport will continue to grow.

Also, Predfan I'm confused over your examples used except for Nashville and Atlanta. None of those places will never even have moderate size hockey communities because they aren't close to an NHL team.

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06-03-2011, 09:11 PM
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Also with regards to the whole hockey in the south thing.

1. I live in the Nashville area and HAVE played pond hockey in the Nashville area. It might be in the upper 90's right now and hot as hell but it does get cold in the winter. It's not an everyday occurrence during the winter of course but playing pond hockey here can and has happened.

2. I guarantee you there are thousands of people in the Middle TN area who are just as passionate and knowledgeable as any hardcore fan from more traditional areas and "deserve" hockey just as much as anyone.

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06-03-2011, 09:53 PM
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All I can say is see the attendance records for the teams in the South including the TB Lightning for the last 10 years.

There is nothing stopping kids from playing hockey any place as long as there is ice available with or without a NHL team. Hockey is a huge part of my family and life and will be no mater where we live. I even found ice in India when I thought the company might move us there for a few years.

I don't think that the Thrashers moving will make or brake hockey in the SE. I know someone who plays on the Preds. Stamkos was glad to go to TB because it takes allot of pressure off him. If a player can go to a market where no one expects the team to win or shows up for the games what is the point of having a team there. If you have a hockey life and was raised in the SE, It's because your folks are more than likely from the NE and have a hockey background. You would be playing hockey or have the option of playing hockey where ever you grew up as long as there is ice. Your hockey life has little to no connection to the SE.

My point was that the NHL market is not the SE and that no team will survive the SE market. There are lots of cites in the northern U.S. and Canada that could and would support a NHL hockey team better than any city in the SE U.S. of any size.


Last edited by The Nemesis: 06-05-2011 at 12:19 AM. Reason: watch the fanbase/market/geographical insults please.
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06-03-2011, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by adaminnj View Post
All I can say is see the attendance records for the teams in the South including the TB Lightning for the last 10 years.

There is nothing stopping kids from playing hockey any place as long as there is ice available with or without a NHL team. Hockey is a huge part of my family and life and will be no mater where we live. I even found ice in India when I thought the company might move us there for a few years.

I don't think that the Thrashers moving will make or brake hockey in the SE. I know someone who plays on the Preds. Stamkos was glad to go to TB because it takes allot of pressure off him. If a player can go to a market where no one expects the team to win or shows up for the games what is the point of having a team there. If you have a hockey life and was raised in the SE, It's because your folks are more than likely from the NE and have a hockey background. You would be playing hockey or have the option of playing hockey where ever you grew up as long as there is ice. Your hockey life has little to no connection to the SE.

My point was that the NHL market is not the SE and that no team will survive the SE market. There are lots of cites in the northern U.S. and Canada that could and would support a NHL hockey team better than any city in the SE U.S. of any size.
I believe your thinking is a little flawed here. You're saying the SE support comes from a lineage that originated in the NE. You're simplifying it too much. The support for any sport or activity is from the lineage of grass roots activities. The sport needs to be given time to develop in order to amass the same amount of interest as in the NE. It's hard to win over a 40-year old football fan but it's a lot easier to win over a 10-year old kid. Unfortunately, that ten-year old kid does not have the necessary buying power to support NHL activities in that area... YET. There will come a time when these grass roots operations evolve and the area will warrant attention from the NHL. It's a slow process to ingrain the love of any activity into a society. It is not a meteorological discussion. It's a discussion of prolonged exposure and grass roots activity.

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06-03-2011, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by adaminnj View Post
All I can say is see the attendance records for the teams in the South including the TB Lightning for the last 10 years.

There is nothing stopping kids from playing hockey any place as long as there is ice available with or without a NHL team. Hockey is a huge part of my family and life and will be no mater where we live. I even found ice in India when I thought the company might move us there for a few years.

I don't think that the Thrashers moving will make or brake hockey in the SE. I know someone who plays on the Preds. Stamkos was glad to go to TB because it takes allot of pressure off him. If a player can go to a market where no one expects the team to win or shows up for the games what is the point of having a team there. If you have a hockey life and was raised in the SE, It's because your folks are more than likely from the NE and have a hockey background. You would be playing hockey or have the option of playing hockey where ever you grew up as long as there is ice. Your hockey life has little to no connection to the SE.

My point was that the NHL market is not the SE and that no team will survive the SE market. There are lots of cites in the northern U.S. and Canada that could and would support a NHL hockey team better than any city in the SE U.S. of any size.
as a born and bred northerner who started playing hockey as a kid and re-discovered it after a 10 year layoff (mainly due to worries of an unstable knee resulting from a torn acl, but i digress...), i also find your posts horribly short-sighted and mildly offensive almost to the point of ignorance as well(not trying to insult you). having lived a several years in the south myself, i find you painting them with seriously broad brush.

like most other places, success will bring attendance and followers. look at a place like dallas for instance. their attendance numbers are quite respectable and they even produced their own homegrown 1st round draftee this past year. they were one of the first of the "southern transplants" and the first to have sustained success (along with a cup), and are finally producing top end talent.

now compare that to the blue jackets. ohio has pretty strong hockey roots boasting 2 strong ncaa programs and top end youth programs, but the blue jackets consistently are among the worst in attendance post lockout(after the shiny newness wore off). why? how about 1 playoff appearance.

south florida is also showing some fruit as far as young talent although the success with nhl clubs down there has been somewhat inconsistent.

i used to think like yourself thinking "hockey is a northern sport that has no place being south of the mason dixon line". but the reality is, if the nhl is going to survive, let alone thrive in this day and age, it needs to spread to non-traditional areas . what i bolded above in your quote is exactly the reason hockey needs to spread to those non-traditional areas. you put hockey in a traditional hockey city, it doesn't really grow the sport as those people would already be watching/following/playing hockey anyways. that's one of the few things i think bettman has the right idea about. you grow the sport in those non-traditonal areas to get kids to play, then those kids grow up to be fans and it spreads like a disease. implementation is a whole 'nother story though.

as many things that are wrong with the nhl today, you can't deny that it's now stronger than it ever has been from a marketibility/profitability standpoint. a lot of that i believe is due to the the growth in the west and to a lesser extent, the south. growing hockey is a good thing, not a bad thing.

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06-04-2011, 05:39 AM
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This is a better place for this discussion http://hfboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=124 and I have my opinion about the SE U.S. and hockey. It's the way I feel, and it's mostly shaded with an incredibly horrible experience of living in, growing up in the SE as a Stupid Yankee. Heck I even play Banjo. There was a saying in Colorado about Texan skiing that had to do with the color of Bull-****. I'm just saying that the market is a waste.

I think the south including Phenix have had enough time to grow the sport and sell a few tickets. the experiment should be over by now. See NHL Revenue Sharing Plan.

As far as growing the market adding 6 teams anyplace and adding 12 + games to markets that sell out adds a lot of money to the system.


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06-04-2011, 06:04 AM
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As far as growing the market adding 6 teams anyplace and adding 12 + games to markets that sell out adds a lot of money to the system.
Adding money is not the same thing as growing the market. Your sentence makes no sense. Recidivism rarely does.

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06-04-2011, 07:11 AM
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I don't think that the NHL belongs anyplace where you can't skate outside on a lake for some part of the year.
There shouldnt be a team in Vancouver then. Thats the funny thing about hockey: you can build a rink anywhere and the passion is the same whether you have natural outdoor ice or not.
Nashville is a perfect example of this.

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06-04-2011, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by adaminnj View Post
This is a better place for this discussion http://hfboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=124 and I have my opinion about the SE U.S. and hockey. It's the way I feel, and it's mostly shaded with an incredibly horrible experience of living in, growing up in the SE as a Stupid Yankee. Heck I even play Banjo. There was a saying in Colorado about Texan skiing that had to do with the color of Bull-****. I'm just saying that the market is a waste.

I think the south including Phenix have had enough time to grow the sport and sell a few tickets. the experiment should be over by now. See NHL Revenue Sharing Plan.

As far as growing the market adding 6 teams anyplace and adding 12 + games to markets that sell out adds a lot of money to the system.
So by your account just because a couple of teams in the south have struggled the NHL should just pack it up and move everyone one of those teams north, even teams like Nashville and Washington that fill the arena every night? Give me a break!

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06-04-2011, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adaminnj View Post
This is a better place for this discussion http://hfboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=124 and I have my opinion about the SE U.S. and hockey. It's the way I feel, and it's mostly shaded with an incredibly horrible experience of living in, growing up in the SE as a Stupid Yankee. Heck I even play Banjo. There was a saying in Colorado about Texan skiing that had to do with the color of Bull-****. I'm just saying that the market is a waste.

I think the south including Phenix have had enough time to grow the sport and sell a few tickets. the experiment should be over by now. See NHL Revenue Sharing Plan.

As far as growing the market adding 6 teams anyplace and adding 12 + games to markets that sell out adds a lot of money to the system.
so because you had a bad experience, you feel you wanna take your ball and go home? gotcha.

for every one of your bad experience going from north to south, i can point out a half dozen or so of southerners moving north having the same experiences. ignorance isn't exclusive to the south.

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06-04-2011, 01:54 PM
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FYI Winnipeg finished selling 13,000 season tickets in an hour of releasing them to the public.

I feel bad for Nik Antropov though.

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06-04-2011, 02:53 PM
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We need a Mod to move this thread cause it is no where near being in the right place. The Rink is for talking about working on your skills, discussing equipment, talking about beer/roller leagues and whatnot.

Anyway, just because Atlanta didn't work out doesn't mean that hockey in the south should be thrown away all together. Lot of blame to ownership/management for Atlanta not working out.

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06-04-2011, 03:42 PM
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FYI Winnipeg finished selling 13,000 season tickets in an hour of releasing them to the public.

I feel bad for Nik Antropov though.
If hockey is so successful up north, why did Winnipeg already lose a team? Seems your sound reasoning may not be so sound.

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06-04-2011, 08:09 PM
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Don Cherry and I are on the same page. Did you see coaches corner tonight eh? HA! Ironically I'm watching Hockey Night in Canada on the Winnipeg CBC channel Boo Yah! and FYI the 13,000 season ticket sold in 10 min of being offered. 30% of the NHL revenue is made in Canada now. The rest is made in the NE because the southern teams give away the seats, t-shirt, and hotdog for $16 bucks just to get butts in seats.


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06-04-2011, 08:16 PM
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Don Cherry and I are on the same page. Did you see caches corner tonight eh? HA!
Not sure Id be bragging about something like that.

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06-04-2011, 08:49 PM
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Not sure Id be bragging about something like that.
Yeah but I need some backup eh.

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06-05-2011, 05:15 PM
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It's pretty bad here in Charlotte, NC too. I discovered hockey in 2006 when the Hurricanes made their Cup run. Soon I wanted to try playing. But I couldn't because I didn't even know there was a rink in the area until a couple months ago. No one plays youth hockey here. No one goes to Checkers games either, even though they are now the AHL affiliate of the Hurricanes and got to the Easter Conference finals this year. I hate how unpopular hockey is in NC aside from Raleigh. Now I just want to move up north after college so I can be somewhere that has more passion for hockey. Fortunately I will be going to college at a school that lots of northerners flock to so it will be something of a base of transplanted hockey passion. Bottom line is the south needs more rinks and more hockey.

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06-05-2011, 07:44 PM
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It's pretty bad here in Charlotte, NC too. I discovered hockey in 2006 when the Hurricanes made their Cup run. Soon I wanted to try playing. But I couldn't because I didn't even know there was a rink in the area until a couple months ago. No one plays youth hockey here. No one goes to Checkers games either, even though they are now the AHL affiliate of the Hurricanes and got to the Easter Conference finals this year. I hate how unpopular hockey is in NC aside from Raleigh. Now I just want to move up north after college so I can be somewhere that has more passion for hockey. Fortunately I will be going to college at a school that lots of northerners flock to so it will be something of a base of transplanted hockey passion. Bottom line is the south needs more rinks and more hockey.
http://unitedstatesofhockey.com/2011...tes-1990-2009/


Proof that hockey at the grassroots level is growing everywhere in the U.S. including non traditional and Southern Markets. These numbers prove it takes time but growth is happening.

As far as your situation goes. You live quite a ways away from Raleigh. It's not surprising at all. That's like me wondering why Memphis doesn't have great hockey support. It's going to be like in non traditional areas. But hockey in NC has boomed.

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06-06-2011, 09:41 AM
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list of rinks in manitoba/winnipeg lol
http://www.arenamaps.com/arenas/Manitoba.htm

where ever you are in winnipeg theres always a sheet of ice you can go on within a 5 km radius

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06-06-2011, 10:24 AM
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It's pretty bad here in Charlotte, NC too. I discovered hockey in 2006 when the Hurricanes made their Cup run. Soon I wanted to try playing. But I couldn't because I didn't even know there was a rink in the area until a couple months ago. No one plays youth hockey here. No one goes to Checkers games either, even though they are now the AHL affiliate of the Hurricanes and got to the Easter Conference finals this year. I hate how unpopular hockey is in NC aside from Raleigh. Now I just want to move up north after college so I can be somewhere that has more passion for hockey. Fortunately I will be going to college at a school that lots of northerners flock to so it will be something of a base of transplanted hockey passion. Bottom line is the south needs more rinks and more hockey.
I beg to differ on this point.

Quote:
Team Yesterday Total Games Average
Hershey 0 392,005 40 9,800
Manitoba 0 336,156 40 8,404
Chicago 0 298,117 40 7,453
Providence 0 292,970 40 7,324
Grand Rapids 0 289,646 40 7,241
Lake Erie 0 262,735 40 6,568
San Antonio 0 256,433 40 6,411
W-B/Scranton 0 254,411 40 6,360
Houston 0 253,021 40 6,326
Charlotte 0 252,486 40 6,312
Milwaukee 0 231,839 40 5,796
Connecticut 0 227,792 40 5,695
Manchester 0 218,444 40 5,461
Texas 0 213,584 40 5,340
Peoria 0 207,852 40 5,196
Syracuse 0 206,158 40 5,154
Toronto 0 187,741 40 4,694
Portland 0 186,192 40 4,655
Norfolk 0 179,609 40 4,490
Rockford 0 174,418 40 4,360
Hamilton 0 170,292 40 4,257
Oklahoma City 0 166,195 40 4,155
Bridgeport 0 165,609 40 4,140
Worcester 0 162,728 40 4,068
Rochester 0 154,890 40 3,872
Abbotsford 0 152,272 40 3,807
Springfield 0 148,695 40 3,717
Binghamton 0 146,097 40 3,652
Adirondack 0 143,001 40 3,575
Albany 0 124,563 40 3,114
League 0 6,455,951 1,200 5,380
Clearly someone is going to Checkers games, and at a clip better than the League's average attendance. The Checkers usually were one of the ECHL's League leaders in attendance too. I went to a few Inferno-Checkers games back in '05-'06 when they still played in Cricket Arena and thought they were pretty well attended and the crowd quite passionate.

As for Youth Hockey, I know most of those programs (adult too for that matter) are run out of the Extreme Ice Center in Indian Land - give them a call and I'm sure they'd be glad to get you in touch with a league if you're interested.

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