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Globe and Mail's Shoalts Raises Five Troubling Rumours About CHL

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01-29-2013, 08:40 AM
  #1
CrazyEddie20
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Globe and Mail's Shoalts Raises Five Troubling Rumours About CHL

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sport...rticle7845029/

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1. Did six of the 10 CHL team owners tell the league hierarchy last summer they planned to find other leagues to play in by this fall? And might this be related to talk from the CHL crowd at the Brampton council meeting about expansion to Canada?

2. Is the Brampton franchise an expansion team or a team that will need to be relocated? If itís a relocated team, would it be the Quad City Mallards, which had to be bought by the CHL as this season started thanks to severe financial troubles? And just how many CHL teams have folded or fled for leagues like the ECHL in recent years?

3. Are there any unpaid medical insurance, salaries, workerís compensation remittances or other taxes by CHL teams, thereby leaving some athletes without medical coverage? Would this amount be anywhere near $140,000 (all currency U.S.)?

4. Was there a distressing incident for a CHL player recently when his wife, who had just given birth prematurely, was sent home from the hospital along with their baby because the player had no medical insurance because his team failed to pay it?

5. Just how do the prospective Brampton CHL owners expect to make a go of it when the closest teams to them are in Illinois and six teams are spread around Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arizona?

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Leaving the Brampton soon-to-be debacle in another thread, these are the signs of a league collapsing. Six of ten teams looking for a new league? This is the first published report, although I heard the same from a PHPA rep of a team in another league back in December. Even with two new teams in St. Charles and Brampton, that makes the CHL a six-team loop if six teams do bail - and it won't be the six strongest teams remaining in the CHL.

Who knows whether Brampton will be a relocated or expansion team - but my bet is on an expansion team, because the league needs the one-time revenue kick that comes with an expansion fee. As for folded or fleeing teams, three have fled - Evansville, Ft. Wayne, and Colorado, and one folded in the face of AHL competition (Oklahoma City.) Since the end of the 2009-10 season, six teams in the league have folded, and the membership has dropped from 18 teams to 10 teams.

If teams are stiffing players, leaving them without the benefits for which the PHPA and management have collectively bargained, the PHPA and players need to take action, whether it be a walk-out or legal action.

As for travel costs, well, they can't make it.

Shoalts, despite what two dopes in the comments , is correct that the CHL is the bottom run of the pro hockey ladder - at least affiliated pro hockey. But then, it appears that after this season, the ladder will have one less rung.

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02-01-2013, 05:38 PM
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HansH
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Two things:

1) No, the CHL is NOT the "bottom rung" of the pro hockey ladder. That distinction sits with the SPHL, which is clearly a level below the CHL. Whether you consider abortions like the FHL and other "single-A" leagues to be professional or not might add lower and lower rungs... but the CHL, for all its challenges, still puts a product on the ice that is at worst a half-step below the ECHL, and a full step above the SPHL.

2) CHL Oklahoma City folded in the face of competition from the NBA, not the AHL. The AHL team didn't start formal negotiations to play until the CHL team had folded. Blame the Thunder for the end of the Blazers, not the Barons.

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02-01-2013, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HansH View Post
Two things:

1) No, the CHL is NOT the "bottom rung" of the pro hockey ladder. That distinction sits with the SPHL, which is clearly a level below the CHL. Whether you consider abortions like the FHL and other "single-A" leagues to be professional or not might add lower and lower rungs... but the CHL, for all its challenges, still puts a product on the ice that is at worst a half-step below the ECHL, and a full step above the SPHL.

2) CHL Oklahoma City folded in the face of competition from the NBA, not the AHL. The AHL team didn't start formal negotiations to play until the CHL team had folded. Blame the Thunder for the end of the Blazers, not the Barons.
In my mind at least the LNAH is the bottom rung of professional hockey. The FHL etc. are below the LNAH in my mind and make up high caliber semi-pro, on par with the Allan Cup leagues.

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02-02-2013, 11:56 AM
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You will definately see a good product on the ice. I would say maybe just a small difference between the ECHL and CHL. Although if you go through the rosters, there are a lot of former CHL guys on ECHL rosters, and vice versa.

It may not be the NHL, but having been to NHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL, and even a WHA2 game. I would place the CHL games I have been to as some of the most entertaining.

The real issue is with the recent contraction of the league. The majority of the league were Texas based teams, however they either went under, or joined the NAHL junior A level. A few teams have left for the ECHL (Fort Wayne, Evansville, Colorado), and some have been bumped out by competition. Ohklahoma City due to the AHL, and Austin (which is still a franchise, just not active) due to the AHL. And yes there are some rumors and struggling franchises, Quad City being owned by the league, and Rapid City is always rumored to go to the ECHL. There is the speculation of absorption into the ECHL too.

Regardless the CHL is still worth supporting. It is fun and exciting hockey to watch at a less expensive price. I know ticket prices vary, but the games I went to see the Missouri Mavericks I paid $35 a seat to sit about 9 rows up from the ice.

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02-02-2013, 04:58 PM
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Sounds like just another Ontario hockey snob pooh-poohing anything that's not the Maple Leafs or the OHL.

I remember OHL "purists" going ape (poop) crazy when the league allowed an American franchise to start up in Erie; apparently, Americans would ruin their precious, Simon-pure game.


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02-04-2013, 02:43 PM
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The ECHL and CHL are on par. The only difference is the ECHL average age is younger. But if a guy can dominate one, he can do so in the other.

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02-05-2013, 09:11 AM
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The ECHL and CHL are on par. The only difference is the ECHL average age is younger. But if a guy can dominate one, he can do so in the other.
Not true at all. I've seen a lot of games in both leagues - yes, a top player in either league won't look out of place in the other, but the talent drop off from the first line to the 10th forward, first defense pair to the 7th d-man, best starting goalie to the 10th starting goalie in the CHL is significantly steeper in the CHL.

Some of the top CHL teams wouldn't look out of place in the ECHL, but to say they are on par just isn't true. About five years ago, there were 10 preseason games played between CHL teams and ECHL teams. The ECHL went 10-0-0 - and won those ten games with guys who got cut and went to play in the Central Hockey League (Jon Booras among them.)

The ECHL is younger - because players that are playing in the ECHL will get a look from scouts to get a call-up to the AHL or a AHL tryout the next season. The CHL is guys on their way out who really don't care as much, just want to keep playing, and don't want to put in the work that playing in a prospect-laden league requires. That's not a knock on the CHL - it's just a fact.

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02-05-2013, 12:29 PM
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Only five?

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02-05-2013, 02:00 PM
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Only five?
I'd love to see some follow-up reporting on this, especially from a paper in a CHL city.

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02-13-2013, 10:40 AM
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I wonder who the teams are who are thinking about switching leagues if this is true? Missouri, Tulsa and Wichita are probably three.


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02-13-2013, 12:25 PM
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I would think Missouri, Tulsa, Wichita, Allen, and Rapid City comprise five of the six.

Arizona has been a gongshow for a few years, ever since the previous GM and owner tried to pull some shenanigans to get out of the CHL and bring in a junior team.

Bloomington is a mess, so is Quad City. Denver draws 2,900/game, but it's hard to say that another league would want Denver when they compete with the Avalanche.

It's disappointing that there hasn't been any follow-up reporting on this. You'd think Shoalts' piece would have prompted some digging by sports reporters/bloggers/fanboys around the CHL. The lack of follow-up may be illustrative of just how dead the CHL really is.

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02-13-2013, 01:15 PM
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I wouldn't be surprised if Fort Worth was the last of the six either. I wish coverage of the CHL was more available for out of market fans, I like to check up on the league but it's been hard since the closest team to me is Bloomington.

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02-13-2013, 04:28 PM
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I wouldn't be surprised if Fort Worth was the last of the six either. I wish coverage of the CHL was more available for out of market fans, I like to check up on the league but it's been hard since the closest team to me is Bloomington.
Fort Worth may be the other one, but I can't imagine them being successful on the balance sheet now, much less with more travel in a bigger league.

It's easy enough to follow the league news via google news and oursportscentral.

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02-13-2013, 05:34 PM
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Fort Worth may be the other one, but I can't imagine them being successful on the balance sheet now, much less with more travel in a bigger league.

It's easy enough to follow the league news via google news and oursportscentral.
Is there a way to check the CHL/ECHL team's financial situations?

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02-13-2013, 08:21 PM
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Is there a way to check the CHL/ECHL team's financial situations?
Not really, but if you pay attention to the reported attendance and news stories about each team, you can infer how well they're doing.

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02-14-2013, 07:09 AM
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Is there a way to check the CHL/ECHL team's financial situations?
Former VP of a AA team..

The teams share a surprising amount of financial information with each other and the league office. They view themselves as competitors on the ice, but allies off the ice..

The level of co-operation among teams to help each other with ideas to generate revenue is very high..

However, few of the teams are in the black.

Very few.

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02-14-2013, 09:05 AM
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Former VP of a AA team..

The teams share a surprising amount of financial information with each other and the league office. They view themselves as competitors on the ice, but allies off the ice..

The level of co-operation among teams to help each other with ideas to generate revenue is very high..

However, few of the teams are in the black.

Very few.
Jeff, from your time in Dayton, how many of the current CHL teams do you think are in the black?

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02-14-2013, 10:39 AM
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Also, would you say that the perceived gap between the ECHL and CHL financially is as large as it at least appears to be?

Obviously, not talking about all teams (I was a fan of the Express, an ECHL team which collapsed after a single year), but as a whole.


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02-14-2013, 01:52 PM
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Jeff, from your time in Dayton, how many of the current CHL teams do you think are in the black?
Two.

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02-14-2013, 02:09 PM
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Also, would you say that the perceived gap between the ECHL and CHL financially is as large as it at least appears to be?

Obviously, not talking about all teams (I was a fan of the Express, an ECHL team which collapsed after a single year), but as a whole.
To answer your question exactly as you asked it the answer is that the difference is enormous because the CHL has just 10 teams compared to the ECHL's 23.

But to get to the spirit of your question, the ECHL still has much higher costs and revenues than the CHL.. partially because they play 10% more games in the ECHL in the regular season alone, and partly because everything is just more expensive..

Players are paid more, which drives up other things like workman's comp and payroll taxes.. front office people, in general, are paid a bit better too.. etc..

If I was forced to GENERALLY GUESS I would say it probably costs a half million more per year to operate an ECHL team.. averaged out..

As far as securing a franchise, my bet is you can get a CHL one pretty damn affordably compared to the ECHL.. but I'd rather not toss out numbers on that subject..

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02-14-2013, 04:22 PM
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To answer your question exactly as you asked it the answer is that the difference is enormous because the CHL has just 10 teams compared to the ECHL's 23.

But to get to the spirit of your question, the ECHL still has much higher costs and revenues than the CHL.. partially because they play 10% more games in the ECHL in the regular season alone, and partly because everything is just more expensive..

Players are paid more, which drives up other things like workman's comp and payroll taxes.. front office people, in general, are paid a bit better too.. etc..

If I was forced to GENERALLY GUESS I would say it probably costs a half million more per year to operate an ECHL team.. averaged out..

As far as securing a franchise, my bet is you can get a CHL one pretty damn affordably compared to the ECHL.. but I'd rather not toss out numbers on that subject..
From my experience, the annual expenses to operate an ECHL team are between $700K and $1.1M, sometimes higher, mostly depending on lease terms and travel. Teams who can make day trips incur significantly lower travel expenses than teams that have to travel overnight to every game. Hotel rooms, sleeper buses, airfare, overweight baggage charges and per diem add up VERY quickly.

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02-14-2013, 07:20 PM
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From my experience, the annual expenses to operate an ECHL team are between $700K and $1.1M, sometimes higher, mostly depending on lease terms and travel. Teams who can make day trips incur significantly lower travel expenses than teams that have to travel overnight to every game. Hotel rooms, sleeper buses, airfare, overweight baggage charges and per diem add up VERY quickly.
Well hotel rooms are actually provided by the home team.. all teams have a hotel partner and the rooms are deeply discounted at worst, free or even some money going to the team at best.. not to split hairs but a visiting hockey team operates in a bizarre fashion (from the hotel's perspective) in that they need to have twenty-some people who will be checking out long after the usual check-out hour of 11:00am or noon..

You're right that the costs skyrocket far more quickly than people realize..

So much so that $1.1M is bare bones. I would be pretty surprised if any team in the ECHL spends less than $1.1M in 2012-13..

The CHL, there might be a team or two around that level this year.. but not many..

No team at the AA level spends as little as $700,000..

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02-15-2013, 08:57 AM
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Well hotel rooms are actually provided by the home team.. all teams have a hotel partner and the rooms are deeply discounted at worst, free or even some money going to the team at best.. not to split hairs but a visiting hockey team operates in a bizarre fashion (from the hotel's perspective) in that they need to have twenty-some people who will be checking out long after the usual check-out hour of 11:00am or noon..

You're right that the costs skyrocket far more quickly than people realize..

So much so that $1.1M is bare bones. I would be pretty surprised if any team in the ECHL spends less than $1.1M in 2012-13..

The CHL, there might be a team or two around that level this year.. but not many..

No team at the AA level spends as little as $700,000..
There isn't a team with $700K in expenses anymore, however, there were fairly recently.

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02-15-2013, 10:02 AM
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Two.
If I had to guess it's Rapiod City and either Allen or Wichita/Fort Worth...one of those 3.

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02-15-2013, 10:08 AM
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Former VP of a AA team..

The teams share a surprising amount of financial information with each other and the league office. They view themselves as competitors on the ice, but allies off the ice..

The level of co-operation among teams to help each other with ideas to generate revenue is very high..

However, few of the teams are in the black.

Very few.
The number of teams in the black in AA I bet are less than the number of fingers we have.

If I had to guess they are:
Fort Wayne
Alaska
Rapid City
Gwinnett
Wichita
Orlando
Toledo
Colorado

The number of AHL teams could be counted on one hand:
Hershey
Chicago
Lake Erie
Providence

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