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Lewis admits Bloomington's ownership is AWOL

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03-25-2013, 03:35 PM
  #1
mfrerkes
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Lewis admits Bloomington's ownership is AWOL

The CHL's implosion seems to already be underway:

http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/pro...9bb2963f4.html

If the Blaze don't return, then QC and Brampton are in real trouble. Bloomington will represent about 30% of both team's schedules next season. That's a big (and expensive) hole to fill if the CHL doesn't find an owner, or take control themselves.

With the amount of money QC and Bloomington are losing per year, does anyone imagine the CHL can take on two charity cases next fall? Once Saint Charles and Brampton get ready to fold mid-season, will Lewis bail them out, too?

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03-25-2013, 05:52 PM
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ForsbergForever
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If I was the CHL, i'd be seriously pursuing merger talks with the ECHL right now. Things are only going to get uglier from here on in...

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03-25-2013, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ForsbergForever View Post
If I was the CHL, i'd be seriously pursuing merger talks with the ECHL right now. Things are only going to get uglier from here on in...
That means Duane Lewis would have to swallow his pride and make some big concessions. Don't see that happening. He is bound and determined to keep the CHL afloat regardless how many Bloomingtons and QCs he must permanently damage in the process.

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03-25-2013, 08:23 PM
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How many franchises outside of Rapid City and Allen are worth it though?

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03-25-2013, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BK Triple Threat View Post
How many franchises outside of Rapid City and Allen are worth it though?
Missouri and Wichita are drawing pretty solid numbers. Tulsa also has done okay. I don't necessarily believe an ECHL/CHL merger is the best answer...but the CHL is no longer a viable stand-alone operation. It either needs to fold and let the individual markets chart their own course, or work on some kind of merger/absorption deal to save those franchises that can make it long-term.

Having the league own QC and Bloomington is merely postponing the inevitable. Neither one of those markets can be successful with the AA business model. The same goes for Denver, Fort Worth, Arizona, Brampton, and Saint Charles.

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03-25-2013, 10:13 PM
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Rapid City, Allen, Tulsa, Wichita, and Missouri can probably give the ECHL a try - if they're invited to by the ECHL.

There will be no merger - get that part straight. Some CHL teams might be invited to join the ECHL, but a "merger" will not happen. The CHL teams need the ECHL a lot more than the ECHL needs the CHL teams, and those surviving CHL teams will (possibly) join the ECHL on the ECHL's terms. And it won't be much of a negotiation, because the CHL teams have NO leverage.

QC has been in trouble for a long time, hence the league takeover. Bloomington has been in trouble for a while, notice the shaky ownership. Brampton is just a joke - I seriously hope the potential owners haven't paid the CHL any money that isn't refundable.

The good thing is, the fans of the teams that go to the ECHL will finally get to see real Class-AA hockey, rather than the schlock that is the CHL.

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03-26-2013, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by CrazyEddie20 View Post
There will be no merger - get that part straight. Some CHL teams might be invited to join the ECHL, but a "merger" will not happen. The CHL teams need the ECHL a lot more than the ECHL needs the CHL teams, and those surviving CHL teams will (possibly) join the ECHL on the ECHL's terms. And it won't be much of a negotiation, because the CHL teams have NO leverage.

QC has been in trouble for a long time, hence the league takeover. Bloomington has been in trouble for a while, notice the shaky ownership. Brampton is just a joke - I seriously hope the potential owners haven't paid the CHL any money that isn't refundable.

The good thing is, the fans of the teams that go to the ECHL will finally get to see real Class-AA hockey, rather than the schlock that is the CHL.
Merger...absorption...invitation to join, whatever you want to call it. Of course the CHL is no position to dictate terms of an arrangement, and I wasn't implying they were in that position. My use of the term "merger" was shorthand for illustrating the fact some stronger CHL markets could be suitable for admission to the ECHL.

QC and Bloomington are two of the shakiest markets in the CHL and could make it impossible for the league to continue if both were to fail. Saint Charles and Brampton will already be starting from an untenable position this fall. Without a couple nearby opponents, I don't see how they stand even the remotest chance of making it through next season. The scheduling would be a disaster for both teams -- especially Brampton.

I was actually hoping the Mallards would follow Fort Wayne and Evansville into the ECHL last season, but QC has had way too many ownership issues to make that workable. The CHL is living on borrowed time. I suspect they'll prop up Bloomington to keep their rickety old ship together this summer. The problem is, that rickety old ship will quickly fall apart at the first sign of turbulence next season.

The CHL is stringing along thousands of fans with all their pie-in-the-sky promises. It gets old watching Duane Lewis trying to spin all this crap as being good for the fans.

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03-26-2013, 06:32 PM
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Man what happened??? QC was once an elite AA market

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03-26-2013, 07:33 PM
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The Calgary Flames happened.

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03-27-2013, 11:15 AM
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Evansville and Fort Wayne bolted to the ECHL when they had the chance to do it with no legal strings attached after the conclusion of last season. I think it is safe to say that the Komets ownership saw the writing on the wall, as it were, for the CHL. The Komets model is built on winning-even against lesser competition. Moving to the ECHL did not enhance their chances of winning. It only gave them membership in the only AA league which will survive. Perceived necessity dictated that move.

I agree with "CrazyEddie20"'s list of probable CHL to ECHL franchises.

At some point-likely in the near future-the owners of viable CHL franchises make the move to the ECHL. They'll let their lawyers deal with the sham of a corporation known as Global, or perhaps, Global will just let them go for a reasonable settlement amount.

It's too bad that the economics of AA hockey have deteriorated to the point that there are probably only 20 or so viable markets in the entire country. The ECHL has some basket cases, so while the CHL needs the ECHL more than the ECHL needs the CHL, the ECHL has more than a few leaks in its foundation. The addition of a few strong franchises certainly will benefit the ECHL.

I think that the absorption of 4-6 CHL franchises into the ECHL is possible for the 2013-14 season and inevitable for the 2014-15 season. When the CHL feels the need to pursue an absurdity like Brampton, then it's truly "desperation time".

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03-27-2013, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by FrancoRussianAlaskan View Post
The Calgary Flames happened.
Even before that though their final AA days werent all that strong

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03-27-2013, 05:12 PM
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Wouldn't be the first time the Frankes jumped a sinking ship just as it about to go out of sight (1999). If the crystal-ball is still working and things pan out the same way from their POV, that would make next season the CHL's last. Spooooooky.

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03-28-2013, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by CrazyEddie20 View Post
The good thing is, the fans of the teams that go to the ECHL will finally get to see real Class-AA hockey, rather than the schlock that is the CHL.
How much of a difference is there between the CHL and the ECHL? Was it always a big gap? Or has it only gotten wider in recent years?

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03-28-2013, 07:48 AM
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How much of a difference is there between the CHL and the ECHL? Was it always a big gap? Or has it only gotten wider in recent years?
It's significant - there's a much wider top to bottom talent gap in the CHL (meaning the 10th forward isn't nearly as good as the top line.) The top players in the CHL are not top players in the ECHL, and the teams that have switched from the CHL to the ECHL and kept their CHL rosters mostly intact have gotten demolished. (See: Evansville and Fort Wayne this year)

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03-28-2013, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by BK Triple Threat View Post
Man what happened??? QC was once an elite AA market
I can tell you what happened. How much time do you have? It's a long story, but the Cliff Notes version goes like this:

The Mark of the Quad Cities opened in 1993. It was a new arena and the Mallards became the arena's first-ever hockey tenant there. There was a big novelty factor which was fueled by all the Mallards' winning seasons from 1996-2002.

Once the novelty wore off and the championships stopped, so did the big crowds. Since 2006, it has been one failed owner after another trying to recapture that late 1990s magic. It won't happen. People have moved on to other things. The Quad City market needs to get into junior hockey before the sport becomes completely irrelevant there.

The CHL is making things worse by owning the team.

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03-28-2013, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by LippinOff View Post
Wouldn't be the first time the Frankes jumped a sinking ship just as it about to go out of sight (1999). If the crystal-ball is still working and things pan out the same way from their POV, that would make next season the CHL's last. Spooooooky.
Hey, Lippin! Long time, no see!

I think the Frankes were extremely smart to jump off the HMS Duane Lewis before it slammed into the iceberg. The CHL's bag of tricks is growing ever smaller. Running QC (and now possibly Bloomington) won't buy them nearly enough time to get things turned around.

Brampton and Saint Charles will be a disaster. I wouldn't be surprised if Rapid City already has one foot out the door.

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03-28-2013, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by FrancoRussianAlaskan View Post
The Calgary Flames happened.
Calgary didn't destroy hockey in the QC; it was already on its way out.

The Flames actually brought back attendance a little bit during their first year. The last UHL Mallards season averaged 3100 per game. The QC Flames had over 3500 attending each game during their inaugural AHL season. However, it didn't catch on very well and quickly resumed a downward spiral in 2008.

All the subsequent attempts to rehab the Mallards once-glorious image in AA hockey have failed miserably. It doesn't help that the small remaining fanbase in QC is in deep denial about the problem.

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03-28-2013, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mfrerkes View Post
Hey, Lippin! Long time, no see!

I think the Frankes were extremely smart to jump off the HMS Duane Lewis before it slammed into the iceberg. The CHL's bag of tricks is growing ever smaller. Running QC (and now possibly Bloomington) won't buy them nearly enough time to get things turned around.

Brampton and Saint Charles will be a disaster. I wouldn't be surprised if Rapid City already has one foot out the door.
Hey thanks! I've had my head buried in the business lately. Congrats on the Mallards on-ice success! I hope they do well in the play-offs. And I think you're right about RC. It's disappointing the Komets missed the play-offs, but I suspect the silly-season will be very entertaining as a consolation to a lack of post-season. As I've said before, I hope to see a lot of the well-missed markets in the E soon. It would be nice if such a major sweeping shift to the entire AA-hockey landscape would be compelling enough for some entity to give QC a fair shot under more secure circumstances, but that seems not-so-promising; although a well-timed Championship may mitigate those odds

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03-28-2013, 01:01 PM
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mfrerkes
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Originally Posted by LippinOff View Post
It would be nice if such a major sweeping shift to the entire AA-hockey landscape would be compelling enough for some entity to give QC a fair shot under more secure circumstances, but that seems not-so-promising; although a well-timed Championship may mitigate those odds
The CHL seems determined to keep QC chained to the deck of their sinking ship. Even if the Mallards were to capture a league championship, I doubt it would do much to reverse the disastrous course of either the franchise or the CHL itself. There's no way around it. A bad business model in a struggling hockey market is a recipe for disaster.

Bloomington and QC fans will find this out sooner or later. When it happens, I just hope there are enough pieces left to assemble something functional in the USHL.

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