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Old
12-16-2011, 10:17 AM
  #1
squidz*
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Minor Pro Hockey in Minnesota (or nearby)

Since it seems there's a lot of interest in the topic, I thought I'd move it to its own thread instead of clogging up the Wellman Injury Report:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Avder View Post
I kinda wish the Aeros were closer to their NHL team. Is there any place around Minnesota and surrounding states where they could be plopped down and be financially viable?
Quote:
Originally Posted by llamapalooza View Post
Duluth?

Otherwise see if Nashville would swap their affiliation with the Admirals for the Aeros. That could work nicely.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DC2600 View Post
Duluth may work, but you'd have to schedule around the mens and womens teams.
Quote:
Originally Posted by the8bandarmadillo View Post
Des Moines?

But don't take the Aeros.
Quote:
Originally Posted by codemanh View Post
Yeah, Duluth would work if you scheduled games around Bulldog and High School games...
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Originally Posted by Avder View Post
What about Grand Forks? They've got a gorgeous arena up there for the Sioux.

I wish Fargo had a real hockey palace, but the Urban Plains Center only seats 6,000.
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Originally Posted by Northland Wild Man View Post
I would love to have the Aeros in Grand Forks. It would never happen though.
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Originally Posted by the8bandarmadillo View Post
You're not taking the Aeros. Get your own damn team!
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Originally Posted by Avder View Post
Its okay. Houston will probably be getting an NHL team sometime so the Aeros will probably get moved out of town, and potentially renamed allowing the NHL team to take over the name.

What would we call a Grand Forks AHL team?
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Originally Posted by the8bandarmadillo View Post
Probably not. Houston could support an AHL and an NHL team.
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Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Twin Cities needs at least an ECHL team. I'd go all the time. Wild games are too expensive.
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Originally Posted by tyratoku View Post
I'd be up for this. Or people were talking about having an AHL team around here, somewhere in western Wisconsin, maybe? The other AHL Wisconsin team is in the far southeast corner, putting a team in West Wisco would allow Minnesotans to go as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by squidz View Post
Duluth might be able to support an AHL team, but that's only because of the "metro area" of 250k people. The 80k in Duluth just isn't enough, even in Minnesota. Still don't know how that metro region is calculated. It has to include at least Cloquet, and I'd guess Two Harbors and more. Des Moines would be the obvious answer as they had an AHL franchise (Dallas/Edmonton/Anaheim affiliate) until their owners violated AHL by-laws and were suspended until their franchise rights were sold to the Texas Stars.
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Originally Posted by BigT2002 View Post
Why not Rochester?? I think they are the largest non metro area in the state aren't they??
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Originally Posted by squidz View Post
Rochester's the third largest city in the state, but the MSA it's part of is only 186k while Duluth's is 276k. This is getting the point where it should probably have its own separate thread though.
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Originally Posted by Avder View Post
For what its worth, the Fargo-Moorhead "metro" area is pushing 250k I think. Even tho we dont have an arena thats even close to what an AHL team would need. We do have a nice little USHL team in town tho called the Fargo Force, and tickets right on the glass are cheap as hell. The GF and I usually go to handful of games each year. Place is really nice, but really small.


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Old
12-16-2011, 10:27 AM
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To respond to my last quoted post:

According to Wiki, Fargo/Moorhead is sitting at 209k in the "metro area." I know I personally think of Moorhead as being in North Dakota though. I don't think an upstart AHL or ECHL team would want to fight with an existing team in such a small market though, so I don't think that would be a good target.

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12-16-2011, 10:29 AM
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I couldn't see it working out. Markets are too saturated with other brands of hockey, can't see it having longevity past the 'new car smell' stage.

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12-16-2011, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by this providence View Post
I couldn't see it working out. Markets are too saturated with other brands of hockey, can't see it having longevity past the 'new car smell' stage.
What other brands? Having the team in Duluth could be a huge selling point and allows for Northern WI/MI folks to head over to see it as well with it being much much closer than driving to Milwaukee, Manitoba, or Detroit.

I could see it holding life better than what most teams could.

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12-16-2011, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by this providence View Post
I couldn't see it working out. Markets are too saturated with other brands of hockey, can't see it having longevity past the 'new car smell' stage.
Well if not in an actual Minnesota city, where nearby would work? I know many teams are concerned about the proximity of their AHL team (example - Toronto moving St. John's Maple Leafs to become Toronto Marlies) although others aren't so worried (example - Winnipeg's new affiliate is now St. John's Ice Caps).

I would guess Des Moines would be at the top of the list?

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12-16-2011, 10:37 AM
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Grand Forks/Fargo would be the Numero Uno for me. Nothing else is there but the college anyways.

Its the AHL, we are not expecting to sellout 18k seats with it. How big are the average venues?? I honestly can't fathom over 15k being considered.

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12-16-2011, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT2002 View Post
What other brands? Having the team in Duluth could be a huge selling point and allows for Northern WI/MI folks to head over to see it as well with it being much much closer than driving to Milwaukee, Manitoba, or Detroit.

I could see it holding life better than what most teams could.
Duluth is in a good position as Amsoil Arena seats more people (6,600) than some existing AHL arenas (example - Mile One Centre seats 6,247). They'll also be able to draw from Thunder Bay (3+ hour drive) as it's already very common for people to make that trip for shopping.

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12-16-2011, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidz View Post
Duluth is in a good position as Amsoil Arena seats more people (6,600) than some existing AHL arenas (example - Mile One Centre seats 6,247). They'll also be able to draw from Thunder Bay (3+ hour drive) as it's already very common for people to make that trip for shopping.
Same with Sioux Falls/Grand Forks??

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12-16-2011, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT2002 View Post
Same with Sioux Falls/Grand Forks??
I'm not familiar with Sioux Falls, but apparently it's larger than Thunder Bay's metro region (which consists of only Thunder Bay). Although it looks like it has a USHL team, so that might prevent the draw to other regions. I think Thunder Bay's relationship with Duluth is unique in that it's the nearest US shopping and entertainment area. Looking at a map, I'd think there's no way many Canadians make that trip, but having lived there I know it's extremely common. I don't believe there's any non-school affiliated spectator hockey between Duluth and Thunder Bay.

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12-16-2011, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidz View Post
Duluth is in a good position as Amsoil Arena seats more people (6,600) than some existing AHL arenas (example - Mile One Centre seats 6,247). They'll also be able to draw from Thunder Bay (3+ hour drive) as it's already very common for people to make that trip for shopping.
The only issue is that an AHL team would have to compete with UMD and I don't know if there are enough people for that.

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12-16-2011, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidz View Post
To respond to my last quoted post:

According to Wiki, Fargo/Moorhead is sitting at 209k in the "metro area." I know I personally think of Moorhead as being in North Dakota though. I don't think an upstart AHL or ECHL team would want to fight with an existing team in such a small market though, so I don't think that would be a good target.
You insult me sir.

How big of an arena does an AHL team need? Fargo-Moorhead currently has no college hockey, just several high school teams and the USHL Fargo Force.

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12-16-2011, 11:03 AM
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How about Madison?

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12-16-2011, 11:05 AM
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You insult me sir.

How big of an arena does an AHL team need? Fargo-Moorhead currently has no college hockey, just several high school teams and the USHL Fargo Force.
The Toyota Center in Houston has almost 18,000 seat capcity for hockey and IIRC the MTS Centre in Peggy was the home of the Manitoba Moose until the Jets took over.

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12-16-2011, 11:06 AM
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How about Madison?
Where are they going play? Kohl Center is overbooked, the Dane County Coliseum is a POS and it's Badgers country.

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12-16-2011, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
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The only issue is that an AHL team would have to compete with UMD and I don't know if there are enough people for that.
That would be a fairly large issue and I don't know that it could be overcome, but within the state, I think Duluth is probably the best candidate.

Are there any other teams in Northern Wisconsin that would be competing? Ashland and Bayfield are only a little over an hour away as well. Within Minnesota you also have the Quad Cities of the Iron range within an evening's drive as well as Hibbing and a number of other places on the range.

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12-16-2011, 11:16 AM
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Other than HS hockey and possibly D3 in Wisconsin, UMD would be the big competitor.

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12-16-2011, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidz View Post
That would be a fairly large issue and I don't know that it could be overcome, but within the state, I think Duluth is probably the best candidate.

Are there any other teams in Northern Wisconsin that would be competing? Ashland and Bayfield are only a little over an hour away as well. Within Minnesota you also have the Quad Cities of the Iron range within an evening's drive as well as Hibbing and a number of other places on the range.
Not sure about Northern Wisconsin, but I've lived in Eau Claire, and there is about as much interest in hockey there as in Southwestern Minnesota. UW-Eau Claire Men's Hockey team even plays in the High School arena.

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12-16-2011, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engebretson View Post
The Toyota Center in Houston has almost 18,000 seat capcity for hockey and IIRC the MTS Centre in Peggy was the home of the Manitoba Moose until the Jets took over.
From the Atlantic division:

Mile One Centre - St. John's, NL - 6,247
Verizon Wireless Arena - Manchester, NH - 9,852
Cumberland County Civic Center - Portland, ME - 6,733
Dunkin' Donuts Center - Providence, RI - 11,940
DCU Center - Worcester, MA - 12,239 (7,290 with curtains)

Rather than list the rest of the max capacities, here's average attendance

Hershey 9,380
San Antonio 6,488
Providence 6,398
St. John's 6,301
Lake Erie 6,299
Houston 6,242
Grand Rapids 6,206
Chicago 5,964
Charlotte 5,899
Portland 5,628
Texas 5,457
W-B/Scranton 5,407
Manchester 5,124
Rochester 5,072
Syracuse 4,897
Bridgeport 4,820
Peoria 4,491
Toronto 4,181
Milwaukee 4,025
Hamilton 3,993
Connecticut 3,987
Norfolk 3,898
Rockford 3,824
Worcester 3,784
Binghamton 3,644
Oklahoma City 3,561
Adirondack 3,522
Abbotsford 3,260
Springfield 3,073
Albany 2,638

League Average 4,926

Only 7 teams exceed an average of 6,000 per game.

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12-16-2011, 11:23 AM
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Rather than lose it in the previous post:

I've been to a Moose game in Winnipeg. They curtained off the upper level. I managed to pick up tickets about two-three weeks before the game and had aisle seats in the third row. I can't imagine there were more than 3,000 in attendance that night. However, this was during the U-17 WJC, which was in Winnipeg at the time.

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12-16-2011, 11:47 AM
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I mostly just want to see pro hockey without paying $1,000,000 for two people. Or more literally, $100++. And have that cheesy minor league atmosphere, like the Saints.

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12-16-2011, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidz View Post
From the Atlantic division:

Mile One Centre - St. John's, NL - 6,247
Verizon Wireless Arena - Manchester, NH - 9,852
Cumberland County Civic Center - Portland, ME - 6,733
Dunkin' Donuts Center - Providence, RI - 11,940
DCU Center - Worcester, MA - 12,239 (7,290 with curtains)

Rather than list the rest of the max capacities, here's average attendance

Hershey 9,380
San Antonio 6,488
Providence 6,398
St. John's 6,301
Lake Erie 6,299
Houston 6,242
Grand Rapids 6,206
Chicago 5,964
Charlotte 5,899
Portland 5,628
Texas 5,457
W-B/Scranton 5,407
Manchester 5,124
Rochester 5,072
Syracuse 4,897
Bridgeport 4,820
Peoria 4,491
Toronto 4,181
Milwaukee 4,025
Hamilton 3,993
Connecticut 3,987
Norfolk 3,898
Rockford 3,824
Worcester 3,784
Binghamton 3,644
Oklahoma City 3,561
Adirondack 3,522
Abbotsford 3,260
Springfield 3,073
Albany 2,638

League Average 4,926

Only 7 teams exceed an average of 6,000 per game.
Yeah, I should've looked at actual attendance instead of max capacity. Good find.

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12-16-2011, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GopherState View Post
The only issue is that an AHL team would have to compete with UMD and I don't know if there are enough people for that.
Yeah, people here love their Bulldogs. I think it could work during college though, if they had college deals and a fun st. paul saints like atmosphere, but I think it all ultimately hinges on getting college kids to go to the game.

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12-16-2011, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidz View Post
From the Atlantic division:

Mile One Centre - St. John's, NL - 6,247
Verizon Wireless Arena - Manchester, NH - 9,852
Cumberland County Civic Center - Portland, ME - 6,733
Dunkin' Donuts Center - Providence, RI - 11,940
DCU Center - Worcester, MA - 12,239 (7,290 with curtains)

Rather than list the rest of the max capacities, here's average attendance

Hershey 9,380
San Antonio 6,488
Providence 6,398
St. John's 6,301
Lake Erie 6,299
Houston 6,242
Grand Rapids 6,206
Chicago 5,964
Charlotte 5,899
Portland 5,628
Texas 5,457
W-B/Scranton 5,407
Manchester 5,124
Rochester 5,072
Syracuse 4,897
Bridgeport 4,820
Peoria 4,491
Toronto 4,181
Milwaukee 4,025
Hamilton 3,993
Connecticut 3,987
Norfolk 3,898
Rockford 3,824
Worcester 3,784
Binghamton 3,644
Oklahoma City 3,561
Adirondack 3,522
Abbotsford 3,260
Springfield 3,073
Albany 2,638

League Average 4,926

Only 7 teams exceed an average of 6,000 per game.
So in other words an AHL team would be right at home in the 6,000 seat Urban Plains Center in Fargo?

Fargo-Moorhead Aeros... like the sound of that.

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12-16-2011, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC2600 View Post
Yeah, people here love their Bulldogs. I think it could work during college though, if they had college deals and a fun st. paul saints like atmosphere, but I think it all ultimately hinges on getting college kids to go to the game.
I think the big question is how many people do you need attending for the team to stay afloat? I think you can easily get 2k season ticket holders in the greater Duluth area, and maybe even 4k depending on ticket price. If the city council's head wasn't so far up its collective ass, they would certainly be inclined to try get something like this worked out given the opportunity.

The biggest wildcard would certainly be the Bulldogs, but I know there's a lot of hockey fans in the area that couldn't care less about UMD. There's plenty of youth targets as well that a well run team could take advantage of. If they want to target college students, it's not like the DECC's far from Canal or downtown.

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12-16-2011, 12:41 PM
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Playing devil's advocate (which I've done in a few other posts):

-The ECHL is pretty much a non-starter because the only team within 12 hours is Chicago. That leaves an AHL team.

Pros to an AHL team:
-Minnesota is hockey crazy and would welcome another team.

-It would allow fans to see the young Wild prospects and relate to the team better.

-There are 4 other teams within 7-8 hours between Rockford, Milwaukee, Chicago and Peoria. That would make for a great travel schedule.

Cons to an AHL team:
-Most major cities in Minnesota have a D1 college hockey program which are institutions in that city. It's different than other areas of the country as Minnesotans have the tradition college and HS for a lower level hockey price and an AHL team would have to deal with that.

-As an example, the Twin Cities aren't big enough for a NHL, college and AHL team. When the Moose were around, they failed because fans didn't see the metro as a minor league hockey town (plus there was the Gophers)

-Arena size. There are a couple places which would work (Duluth, Fargo) but others are hampered.

-Traveling. Outside of the Twin Cities, most of the major cities are at least 90 miles away which means a prospect would have to travel a couple hours just to get to the Twin Cities. Couple that with a flight out of the Twin Cities (because most regional airports are scaling back service) and the money starts to add up. That's one of the benefits of being in Houston - you can fly anywhere.

And that doesn't even count the large number of people who would travel 2-3 hours to watch the future of the Wild.

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