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Central Hockey League - The Slow Spin Down the Bowl Continues

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Old
10-31-2013, 02:48 PM
  #76
tvboy11
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Could one of those CHL markets be a landing spot for OKC to relocate? Thinking specifically of Wichita or Missouri.

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10-31-2013, 04:19 PM
  #77
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Could one of those CHL markets be a landing spot for OKC to relocate? Thinking specifically of Wichita or Missouri.
That's certainly feasible. I'm sure the Iowa Wild would love to have Missouri in the league. Short trip for them.

I think Allen could be a possibility too. I know their venue is a little on the small side, but they fill it up nicely. The Americans would certainly be an improvement over the Barons from an attendance perspective.

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10-31-2013, 05:10 PM
  #78
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That's certainly feasible. I'm sure the Iowa Wild would love to have Missouri in the league. Short trip for them.

I think Allen could be a possibility too. I know their venue is a little on the small side, but they fill it up nicely. The Americans would certainly be an improvement over the Barons from an attendance perspective.
I was thinking the same thing. If a few of the AHL teams that are drawing poorly would move down to the ECHL then some of the stronger ECHL/CHL teams might be able to pick up the slack. If Wichita were to gain the OKC franchise, they could use Tulsa as their ECHL affiliate (since the own both teams).

I think by the end of this year we should start to hear some rumblings and then by March pretty much know the picture for 2014-15.

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10-31-2013, 06:03 PM
  #79
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Couple of problems with that hypothesis.

First, AHL and ECHL franchises are NOT interchangeable. AHL franchises are probably valued in the single-digit millions, while ECHL franchises are valued in the hundreds of thousands. So, unless you have someone willing to sell/swap (for $$s to make up the difference), unlikely this would happen.

Second, AHL is at 30 franchises, and until/if the NHL expands/changes their # of franchises, that's the max in the league.

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10-31-2013, 08:53 PM
  #80
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I think by the end of this year we should start to hear some rumblings and then by March pretty much know the picture for 2014-15.
I'm not as optimistic about the timeliness of that clarity. The CHL spent part of the summer quietly putting down an insurrection by Rapid City and Allen. Certain members of Rapid City's media started running with the story that the Rush were definitely headed for the ECHL in 2013-14. Obviously, that was adjudicated differently and Rapid City (along with Allen) was forced to remain in the CHL another season.

If there is any unrest or instability in the CHL, I suspect the league will forcefully tamp down on those leaks. Granted, you can't stop every disgruntled front office staffer from talking, but I don't think the rumblings will be as loud as they've been in the past. The CHL is simply going to put up a cheery front that everything is going along just fine.

I do think Saint Charles is a "One & Done" but the league will move swiftly to find a replacement market...which is also likely to fail miserably. The CHL seems locked into a hopeless game of Whack-A-Mole. And, they'll pretend that game is all part of their long-term strategy.

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10-31-2013, 08:59 PM
  #81
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Originally Posted by LadyStanley View Post
Couple of problems with that hypothesis.

First, AHL and ECHL franchises are NOT interchangeable. AHL franchises are probably valued in the single-digit millions, while ECHL franchises are valued in the hundreds of thousands. So, unless you have someone willing to sell/swap (for $$s to make up the difference), unlikely this would happen.

Second, AHL is at 30 franchises, and until/if the NHL expands/changes their # of franchises, that's the max in the league.
Didn't say they were interchangeable - look what happened to Houston, great crowds, but the owner of their arena (NBA ROCKETS) didn't want them there - so the Wild move their team to Iowa. Peoria - St. Louis no longer wanted to have their team there. Peoria moves down to the SPHL.
Why can't Edm. Oilers owners say, next year we are going to move to Wichita - if OKC cannot land a new NHL team to take over - do you think that they will stay in the AHL with their attendance and $$$ of renting the arena? Don't see that happening.

You have Albany, Adirondack, Utica (don't think that will last more than 3 yrs.), Portland (NHL Phoenix might pull out of there since NOT in Portland - might be Saco, ME), Abbotsford and a few more - lots of cities where they have a decent fan base could take over.

Not saying this could happen, but with the sate of minor league hockey the past 5-10 years something has to change to get them to a system like MLB.

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11-01-2013, 07:45 AM
  #82
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Why can't Edm. Oilers owners say, next year we are going to move to Wichita - if OKC cannot land a new NHL team to take over - do you think that they will stay in the AHL with their attendance and $$$ of renting the arena? Don't see that happening.
Edmonton does not own the AHL franchise, so they couldn't make the decision to move to Wichita. The Barons are owned by Prodigal Hockey LLC, headed by Bob Funk Jr., a businessman with strong ties to the Oklahoma City area.

Funk would have to sell the franchise himself to a willing ownership group in Wichita, and the AHL would have to approve such a transfer. Right now, Wichita has doubled down on their involvement in the CHL by operating Tulsa this season. It's unlikely Wichita is entertaining the idea of an AHL team at this exact moment.

Not saying that couldn't happen down the road, but simply put, Edmonton will not be forcing OKC to relocate anywhere, including Tulsa.

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11-01-2013, 10:03 AM
  #83
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Well Portland's attendance is skewed this season because they are playing out of the Adroscoggen Bank Collisee in Lewiston.

OKC has had some poor attendance over the years but the ownership doesn't seem too hard pressed to relocate right now. I really hope when the CHL folds Tulsa goes to the ECHL and affiliates with the Oilers! Just because their identity already fits the organization...

just a question though with Witchita and Tulsa being owned by the same group, what is the ECHL's stance on owners owning multiple franchsises in the league?

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11-01-2013, 10:15 AM
  #84
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OKC has had some poor attendance over the years but the ownership doesn't seem too hard pressed to relocate right now.
When you have a local owner who is a high-profile member of the community, a faltering club like OKC can hang on forever -- as long as Funk has the bank account and patience to do so. I don't know enough about Funk to discern whether that is the case.

I do know OKC has to be hemorrhaging cash like blood on the floor of a slaughterhouse. Their current average (2592) is lower than the QC Flames during their second and last season in the AHL. The Flames lost about $1.5 million that year. Who wants to keep losing money like that, even if it is for a civic-minded cause?

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just a question though with Witchita and Tulsa being owned by the same group, what is the ECHL's stance on owners owning multiple franchsises in the league?
If Wichita goes to the ECHL, they'll drop the Oilers before the switch. Tulsa has been a long-rumored destination for the NAHL. Somebody I know on another hockey forum lives in Tulsa and has stated their published attendance this season is horribly inflated. Wichita is propping up the CHL for their own reasons. Once the CHL folds, I doubt Wichita will care about dragging Tulsa into the ECHL with them.

It's possible Tulsa could find their own ECHL sugar daddies, but I wouldn't expect Wichita to be part of that group.

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11-02-2013, 12:02 AM
  #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SenorChifles View Post
Didn't say they were interchangeable - look what happened to Houston, great crowds, but the owner of their arena (NBA ROCKETS) didn't want them there - so the Wild move their team to Iowa. Peoria - St. Louis no longer wanted to have their team there. Peoria moves down to the SPHL.
Why can't Edm. Oilers owners say, next year we are going to move to Wichita - if OKC cannot land a new NHL team to take over - do you think that they will stay in the AHL with their attendance and $$$ of renting the arena? Don't see that happening.

You have Albany, Adirondack, Utica (don't think that will last more than 3 yrs.), Portland (NHL Phoenix might pull out of there since NOT in Portland - might be Saco, ME), Abbotsford and a few more - lots of cities where they have a decent fan base could take over.

Not saying this could happen, but with the sate of minor league hockey the past 5-10 years something has to change to get them to a system like MLB.
Senor Chiles:

Adirondack is returning to PA, specifically, Allentown, aka Lehigh Valley to be near the IronPigs, as part of its return to PA, as was required when the Spectrum was imploded, their intention was to return to somewhere near Philadelphia, although the surprise there was Comcast Spectacor no longer operates the Phantoms as they did when they were in Philadelphia, pending completion of PPL Center scheduled to open later this year.

Albany and Utica are locked into 5 year agreements w/ both Times Union Center and the Aud in Utica, where the Comets (formerly the Ice Cats/Rivermen) reside.

Phoenix likely is not pulling out of the agreement w/ the Pirates, because the PDC states that the Coyotes must find the next affiliate before ending the contract and pay off the outstanding years on said contract, as Buffalo did in 2009, when Florida and Rochester divorced after that season, and the Sabres bought Rochester.

the arena ikssue w/ Portland is minor, because it's a non-issue w/ the season underway, and has no bearing on the affiliation.

Abbotsford: see Utica and Albany after the rumored Vancouver issues but Calgary owns the business side of the Heat.

there was no lease agreement between Alexander and MSE, the owners of the Aeros, now Iowa Wild, forcing that transfer.

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11-06-2013, 02:25 AM
  #86
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Originally Posted by mfrerkes View Post
Oklahoma City should be looking to relocate any day now. It isn't working there. I think the NBA team is (pardon the expression) stealing all the thunder during the fall and winter months. Their presence leaves very little oxygen for the Barons.
There's also the issue of some (if not many) of the hockey fans in OKC wanting the CHL back.

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11-06-2013, 08:43 AM
  #87
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There's also the issue of some (if not many) of the hockey fans in OKC wanting the CHL back.
That would be a death wish at this point. Six years ago, the CHL was relatively stable. That has not been the case during the past couple seasons. The league is now taking on water faster than it can be pumped out. When you have two teams (Wichita and Missouri) owning 40% of the league, and 40% of the league failing to draw 3000 per game, it's safe to say the CHL's Glory Days are behind it.

I don't know exactly why OKC is having such a rough time in the AHL, but they're unlikely to find greener grass (or is it solid ice?) in today's CHL. There seemed to be a market for minor league hockey in OKC at one time. I've mentioned the Oklahoma City Thunder are drowning out everything else. Yet, I find it hard to believe this poor attendance can be chalked up entirely to rabid NBA fans.

The Barons current attendance isn't even good enough to make a case for ECHL membership. Barring some dramatic turnaround in their AHL following, I don't see minor league hockey having much time left in Oklahoma's capital city. SPHL maybe? Not much else, though.

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11-06-2013, 01:39 PM
  #88
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That would be a death wish at this point. Six years ago, the CHL was relatively stable. That has not been the case during the past couple seasons. The league is now taking on water faster than it can be pumped out. When you have two teams (Wichita and Missouri) owning 40% of the league, and 40% of the league failing to draw 3000 per game, it's safe to say the CHL's Glory Days are behind it.

I don't know exactly why OKC is having such a rough time in the AHL, but they're unlikely to find greener grass (or is it solid ice?) in today's CHL. There seemed to be a market for minor league hockey in OKC at one time. I've mentioned the Oklahoma City Thunder are drowning out everything else. Yet, I find it hard to believe this poor attendance can be chalked up entirely to rabid NBA fans.

The Barons current attendance isn't even good enough to make a case for ECHL membership. Barring some dramatic turnaround in their AHL following, I don't see minor league hockey having much time left in Oklahoma's capital city. SPHL maybe? Not much else, though.
By the way, for anybody wondering why anyone would want the CHL back, here is a link explaining their reasoning (I was going to post this last night, but was too tired to search for the page to link to).

http://www.bigsoccer.com/community/t...#post-28146818

Yes, this is from a soccer board, but much of this page is about the OKC AHL team. Pay particular attention to ManUSooner, as he is the one arguing for wanting the CHL back.

Full disclosure: I am "MLSinCleveland" in the linked discussion.

EDIT: NOTE: The OKC/AHL/CHL discussion continues on the page after the one I linked to.


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11-06-2013, 03:33 PM
  #89
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Originally Posted by Jackets Woodchuck View Post
Yes, this is from a soccer board, but much of this page is about the OKC AHL team. Pay particular attention to ManUSooner, as he is the one arguing for wanting the CHL back.
ManUSooner needs to stop living in 2006. He needs to realize the CHL he watched back then no longer exists in today's world. Even if Funk wanted to bring the Blazers back (I doubt he does now) it would be a huge disaster-in-the-making.

The talent level in the CHL has dropped even from when my market (Quad Cities) joined it in 2010. That was just three years ago. As the average operating income for each CHL franchise continues to sink, the talent level is naturally going to sink with it. Oklahoma City hockey fans would be leaping from one burning building to another.

That sounds like a bad idea to me. If Funk is willing to eat big losses in the AHL, fans should be grateful for that. The QC had AHL hockey for two wonderful seasons. I wish our owners had stuck with it longer. Things may not have changed financially, but perhaps we could have avoided being sucked into this CHL vortex.

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, OKC.

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11-06-2013, 08:28 PM
  #90
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I'm sure the CHL would gladly take OKC back but... I don't think people wanting the Blazers back is the leading cause in their low attendance. And while the NBA might take away from the Barons a bit that's not enough to justify the attendance figures either.

Personally I think OKC is just a city that unfortunately has lost interest in hockey over the years. There is still some interest left but certainly not enough to bring in anything like the 6-9k figures the Blazers had in the past.

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11-06-2013, 09:23 PM
  #91
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Personally I think OKC is just a city that unfortunately has lost interest in hockey over the years. There is still some interest left but certainly not enough to bring in anything like the 6-9k figures the Blazers had in the past.
Even if the Blazers could get 6000, 7000, 8000 people to show up for the first few games, those numbers would be quickly halved (or quartered) once they see the crushing disappointment that is CHL hockey these days. It's not just the player talent that has declined since 2007, but the officiating as well.

They'd be screaming to bring the AHL back ten home games into the season.

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11-07-2013, 12:37 AM
  #92
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Originally Posted by mk80 View Post
I'm sure the CHL would gladly take OKC back but... I don't think people wanting the Blazers back is the leading cause in their low attendance. And while the NBA might take away from the Barons a bit that's not enough to justify the attendance figures either.

Personally I think OKC is just a city that unfortunately has lost interest in hockey over the years. There is still some interest left but certainly not enough to bring in anything like the 6-9k figures the Blazers had in the past.
Edmonton was threatened with revocation of their AHL Franchise had they not selected Prodigal to operate their franchise and base it in OKC, be glad OKC Has two arenas to serve its pro markets, mk80, if Cox Convention Center aka the Myriad didn't exist when the Thunder arrived from Seattle and took over the primary OKC Arena tenancy.

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11-07-2013, 09:10 PM
  #93
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Here's a CHL "Fun Fact" for anyone interested...

As of late Thursday night, the CHL's three newest franchises (Denver, Saint Charles, Brampton) are averaging 1,778 per game this season. Through 14 home dates, those three teams have combined to draw 24,896 fans.

Why anyone would chose to expand into this league is puzzling to me.

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11-08-2013, 01:23 AM
  #94
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Just seems to me like if you're going to expand in the CHL, it should be in a secondary or tertiary market where you're not competing with a top level professional team or an already saturated market. Denver and Saint Charles are competing with the NHL, while Brampton is oversaturated. Meanwhile you have teams like Missouri, Allen, Quad City, Tulsa, Wichita, etc who are secondary or tertiary markets without huge competition or oversaturation.

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11-08-2013, 07:21 AM
  #95
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Meanwhile you have teams like Missouri, Allen, Quad City, Tulsa, Wichita, etc who are secondary or tertiary markets without huge competition or oversaturation.
Allen is within the Dallas, TX metropolitan area...so they compete with the Stars to some degree. I also wouldn't label the Dallas area as a secondary market. It ranks fourth among all metropolitan areas in the US in terms of size.

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11-08-2013, 08:11 AM
  #96
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Originally Posted by mfrerkes View Post
Here's a CHL "Fun Fact" for anyone interested...

As of late Thursday night, the CHL's three newest franchises (Denver, Saint Charles, Brampton) are averaging 1,778 per game this season. Through 14 home dates, those three teams have combined to draw 24,896 fans.

Why anyone would chose to expand into this league is puzzling to me.
For emphasis:

Last 3 teams gained - 24,896 in 14 games (1,778 ave.)
Last 3 teams lost - 76,224 in 13 games (5,863 ave.)

They are most certainly going in the wrong direction.

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11-08-2013, 08:44 AM
  #97
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Originally Posted by LippinOff View Post
For emphasis:

Last 3 teams gained - 24,896 in 14 games (1,778 ave.)
Last 3 teams lost - 76,224 in 13 games (5,863 ave.)

They are most certainly going in the wrong direction.
The CHL went from an 18-team league averaging 3784 per game in 2010-11 to a ten-team league (with three owners comprising 50% of that membership) averaging 3237 per game so far this season. That's a 14.4% drop in attendance and a 44% drop in league membership.

During 2010-11 just 22% of the league was averaging attendance below 2500. That percentage has grown to 40% this season, including two teams that are below 1700 per game right now.

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11-08-2013, 09:12 AM
  #98
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Just seems to me like if you're going to expand in the CHL, it should be in a secondary or tertiary market where you're not competing with a top level professional team or an already saturated market. Denver and Saint Charles are competing with the NHL, while Brampton is oversaturated. Meanwhile you have teams like Missouri, Allen, Quad City, Tulsa, Wichita, etc who are secondary or tertiary markets without huge competition or oversaturation.
Thanks for the correction! For some reason I didn't realize Allen was that close to Dallas/FW.

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11-08-2013, 10:09 AM
  #99
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Allen is rather successful in that market, but on the other end of the Dallas/FW spectrum you have the Brahmas.

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11-08-2013, 01:18 PM
  #100
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Allen is rather successful in that market, but on the other end of the Dallas/FW spectrum you have the Brahmas.
Yes and no. The Brahmas played in a facility whose dimensions all but guaranteed they would struggle. NYTEX Arena is a glorified rec rink with seating capacity well below the league's average.

It's possible the Brahmas could have flourished in a larger facility with better amenities. Fort Worth by itself is a huge chunk of the DFW Metroplex. There's a considerable amount of corporate money in that area. But, if you're playing in something affectionately dubbed "The Shoebox" the ability to attract large crowds (and by proxy, large corporate sponsorships) is severely limited from the get-go.

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