I went to the Lowell-Portland game last night and I have to say, what a completely lackluster affair. I've been going to AHL games in Lowell for the past five years and always enjoyed the atmosphere when the Lock Monsters were there.
It seems all the energy has been sucked out of the building. Now granted, I know the Lock Monsters attendance was some of the smallest in the league, but I have never ever seen entirely empty section of the Tsongas. There were no in stand between period promotions like before and the crowd, for the most part, could really care less. The arena was 1/3 full and that's being generous. Half of the concessions were closed.
I think the new owners blew it by rebranding the team. For one thing, people in New England hate the NJ Devils for the years they kept beating the Bruins in the playoffs. For another, the Lock Monsters had built a bond with the community. Little kids in the area recognized Louie, the team's mascot. There was at least a cursory connection to Lowell with the old name.
Now it's nothing. They barely seem to be trying at the game. I predict two years and out for this team...but that's what I suspect the NJ wanted anyway when they bought the team. Sad to say but the AHL will be leaving Lowell in short order.
At least we have a strong Manchester franchise.
I was at that game as well (as a Portland fan), and talk about awkward. Yes, it's "different" to be cheering for the wrong team at every road game, but at that particular game we felt like people who suddenly started yelling in a library. In fact, you probably could remember us sitting behind Lowell's net for the first and third periods, as there really wasn't anyone else around us. We were in the second row, and could have stood up the entire game without blocking anyone's view. Seriously.
It's all such a shame, because I have always enjoyed the Lowell trips.