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The Business of Hockey Discuss the financial and business aspects of the NHL. Topics may include the CBA, work stoppages, broadcast contracts, franchise sales, NHL revenues, relocation and expansion.

Is the Sun Belt Expansion becoming a success? (Mod: or Non-traditional markets)

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Old
06-30-2010, 02:10 AM
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worstfaceoffmanever View Post

The big thing that has helped is the propagation of artificial ice. This is something new that has come along in the last two decades that made expansion into the Sun Belt viable in the first place. It's tough to maintain ice quality in the muggy summers down here, but as the technology becomes less expensive, more facilities will start popping up.

And that leads to the main sticking point for the growth of the sport, which is cost. Hockey gear, especially for growing teenagers, is not cheap. You might be able to get a good deal on a first set or something, but eventually, you'll have to plonk down for some good equipment if your kid is serious about the sport, and a lot of folks just don't have that kind of money, especially for goalies.
Its a little late now as the horse has fled the barn, however, I never understood how the NHL could have a philosophy & business plan of growing the game south of the Mason-Dixon without sponsoring financially & administratively arenas' & amateur minor leagues in Nashville, Phoenix, Tampa, Sunrise etc.
If indeed the goal is to "grow the game", seems you should re-invest some of the steep expansion fee's & or relocation fee's into the development of the sport & cultivate the market from the grass roots on up.

The NHLPA has an inner-city program that delivers equipment, ice time & coaching to kids that might otherwise never experience the sport (in fact they do this globally). Where is the NHL?. What kind of narrow minded arrogance decides that a rich expansion grab, demands on owners & municipalities for 10's of millions in infrastructure will give birth on its own?. I empathize with your frustrations over equipment costs, registration & team fees etc etc etc. Hockey should be affordable however, without league support it wont be, nor will it grow at the rate required to sustain the NHL franchises at, on or below the Mason-Dixon. The NHL should be ashamed for its Carpetbagging & insincerity.

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Old
06-30-2010, 02:15 AM
  #52
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Originally Posted by worstfaceoffmanever View Post
Ultimately, the sport may have to start contending with a growing interest in soccer, but if hometown talents like Blake Geoffrion and Emerson Etem can crack their clubs' rosters, it would definitely produce a spike in interest in the sport.
It is interesting that you mention Blake Geoffrion, son of Dan Geoffrion, former Winnipeg Jet. Dan Geoffrion is a former NHL player from Canada.

A simple observation: it appears a certain large percentage of USA born potential NHL players are sons of former Canadian NHL players that had offspring in the USA. What does that say or tell you? Former NHL players have the resources to commit to their sons compared to average citizens, I would suggest.

In terms of the Predators, for example, Colin Wilson selected by the Preds 7th in the first round a few years ago, and born in the USA, is the son of former NHL player, Carey Wilson, a Winnipegger. Indeed, Colin was raised in Winnipeg and played most of his minor hockey there.

Another example in the recent draft is Jarred Tinordi of the USA selected in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens, whose father Mark Tinordi is from Alberta, Canada and a former NHLer.

There are several additional example. Brett Hull, for example, who always played for the USA national team developed his skills in Winnipeg as a youth while his father, Bobby Hull, was in town.

GHOST


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06-30-2010, 02:18 AM
  #53
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Jeffrey93 got it... the cultural definition of "the south" is irrelevant in hockey. South when referring to the location of hockey teams is geographical.

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06-30-2010, 02:21 AM
  #54
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Originally Posted by GHOSTofMAROONSroad View Post
A simple observation: it appears a certain large percentage of USA born potential NHL players are sons of former Canadian NHL players that had offspring in the USA. What does that say or tell you? GHPOST
This is true Ghost, but equally true is the "Gretzky Factor" whereby "The Trade" from Edmonton to LA gave birth to this whole Southern Expansion strategy in the first place. Bloodlines will always play a prominent role, however, its' the "new blood" coming out of places like SoCal, Arizona & New Mexico thats intriguing. Population base of the US is 10X's greater than ours. God help us if the NHL does the right thing by these new markets & supports minor hockey the way it should. Say bye-bye to Olympic Golds & Canada Cups, the Spengler etc. We be good, but watch out!.

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06-30-2010, 04:08 AM
  #55
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Originally Posted by Commissioner View Post
What talent has come out of Arizona?

Dusty Collins... hey he is playing professional hockey!

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Old
06-30-2010, 04:38 AM
  #56
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Ghost - it tells me two things.

One, it tells me that to excel in hockey is expensive. Sons of NHL player and execs have access to a lot of family disposable income. Hockey is friggin' expensive. A youth house team costs north of $1,000 a season and a good travel team $3,000 before you factor in travel costs.

But what it really tells me is that these guys know the system, they are able to recognize good coaches and good programs and give their kids the type of one-on-one instruction that is invaluable to player development. It's not that they are from Canada or played for a team there; it's that they were NHL players in the first place. They know which skills are really valuable or will set a kid apart and what is all flash but not substance. A lot of parents, from Toronto or Tulsa, can't recognize that that. They put their trust in the youth coaches of the program they latch on to, and that can work out great or it can be a total bust.

That's something kids of pro (or at least high-level) athletes will always have. It's not surprising that you're seeing them as the first kids to come out of these states because it's ideal circumstances. As the coaching and youth systems improve, and trust me, they are a very big deal in Dallas, you'll see more and more kids who came only through youth systems in "nontraditional" markets and didn't have the advantage of a relative inside the sport.

A note - using your criteria, Tyler Myers was born in and developed his hockey skills in Houston (well, Katy) Texas before his family moved to Calgary when he was 10, and he was good enough when he moved to immediately jump onto the top youth teams of his area. But I don't see you scrambling to credit Katy for developing the league's top rookie.

BTW, Brett Hull's youth development came outside of Vancouver (it's why he ended up in the BCJHL). His parents divorced while his dad played in Winnipeg and he really grew up on the rinks of BC while spending limited time in Winnipeg. And he was not considered a great player until well after he was drafted. It's not like he was a prodigy - he was a fat kid with a cannon for the vast majority of his youth, junior and early NHL career.

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06-30-2010, 04:46 AM
  #57
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Wow I've never seen so much debate over the definition of what is 'south'! I think an easy solution is just to replace south/southern/sunbelt with "untraditional hockey markets". The title would read:

Is the NHL's Expansion into Untraditional Markets Becoming a Success?

I think this would lead to the debate we all expected.

If you ask me it is paying off. I remember someone posting numbers of US hockey registration since 1990, where the south-eastern US saw a 700% increase (small to begin with, but growth is growth). We're already seeing players come from places like California and Tennessee, and given the fact we're seeing more and more players starting to play (in those areas and beyond) I'd say it will only get better with time.

It's unfortunate for places like Winnipeg and other small traditional markets, but I believe it's what's best for the game.

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06-30-2010, 04:52 AM
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritter471 View Post
A note - using your criteria, Tyler Myers was born in and developed his hockey skills in Houston (well, Katy) Texas before his family moved to Calgary when he was 10, and he was good enough when he moved to immediately jump onto the top youth teams of his area. But I don't see you scrambling to credit Katy for developing the league's top rookie.

BTW, Brett Hull's youth development came outside of Vancouver (it's why he ended up in the BCJHL). His parents divorced while his dad played in Winnipeg and he really grew up on the rinks of BC while spending limited time in Winnipeg. And he was not considered a great player until well after he was drafted. It's not like he was a prodigy - he was a fat kid with a cannon for the vast majority of his youth, junior and early NHL career.
Wrong about Tyler Myers who decided to play for Canada based on his experience/training growing up in Calgary and wrong about Brett. I personally played hockey and went to school with Brett Hull in Winnipeg. You were not there. I was. Enough said, Kritter.

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06-30-2010, 04:58 AM
  #59
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Jeffrey - That'd be like me lumping Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto together and calling it "southern Canada." Although it's geographically valid, it's not the way those cities/areas are really referred to. After all, a city/region can be north, south, east and west depending on where you're coming from.

Americans generally draw lines of the South (which really means Southeast), Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest (northern and southern), Rockies, Northwest, West and Southwest. Those are cultural lines as much as they are geographic lines, and it's why Texas exists as a little bit of an enigma - it's definitely not Southeast, but it's not fully Southwest. It's why Tennessee, even though it's not a Sunbelt state, technically, is considered part of the South.

You can almost use provinces as the equivalent borders in Canada because they're so vast but tend to have only 1-2 major cities in them (and because there are relatively few provinces in comparison).

As far as are they becoming a success, I think you're seeing the natural growth of the sport in cities where there's been investment in the infrastructure. There's been several talented players who've come through the Dallas-area youth system, and even one from Houston (Myers, though he moved after four years in in). There are a ton of good California kids starting to come through, again, because the infrastructure has been their for their entire youth and the coaching at the top levels has gradually improved as its gone along. The teams that invested the most in the area's youth system (Ducks, Sharks, Stars) are starting to see the best results in terms of producing kids who will go on to play at higher levels. The best youth travel teams already do respectable jobs at national/limited international tournaments, and some of the kids are being selected to the US development program or being recruited by the big DI colleges or major junior teams.

So to the original question, there are definitely examples of these areas starting to produce more professional-level talent, though making the NHL even with talent is always a gamble. I think it's most telling that the best results have come from areas where the NHL team did the most work with the local youth hockey infrastructure.

Artificial ice has not been a big factor in the Dallas area, honestly, and that's because they went through a rink-building frenzy in the late 1990s and have plenty of ice up year round.

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06-30-2010, 05:05 AM
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GHOSTofMAROONSroad View Post
Wrong about Tyler Myers who decided to play for Canada based on his experience/training growing up in Calgary and wrong about Brett. I personally played hockey and went to school with Brett Hull in Winnipeg. You were not there. I was. Enough said, Kritter.

GHOST
I was going on what I read in his biography. You may have had a different experience. He credits his BC days are the biggest part of his hockey development, not Winnipeg. Argue with his book, not me. I did get the timeline wrong, though. He played about six seasons of youth hockey in Winnipeg before his mom moved the family to BC in 1979.

As far as Myers, here's a few quotes from him.

Quote:
"I had never really seen hockey until my dad took me to an (International Hockey League) game with the Houston Aeros when I was 6-years-old," Myers said. "By the second period, I was bugging my dad to let me play. The next day we went to buy hockey equipment at the local pro shop."

...

The looks folks gave him because of his size he grew three inches in grade 10 alone plus the Texas background made some hockey coaches look askance at him. But not for long.

"I guess, because I was from Texas, they started me out skating in Division VII, thinking it would be too tough for me," he said. "But there I was, still on the ice four or five hours later. Only this time, it was with the Division I players.

"It was a long day ... but it was one of the most rewarding days of my hockey-playing career."
http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=372060

Sounds like he'd gotten hooked on the sport in Texas and was developed plenty well in Katy. I have no doubt at all that his experience in Canada played a huge part in turning him into the player he is now, but to discount the first four years he played is absurdly myopic.

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06-30-2010, 05:10 AM
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritter471 View Post

Sounds like he'd gotten hooked on the sport in Texas and was developed plenty well in Katy. I have no doubt at all that his experience in Canada played a huge part in turning him into the player he is now, but to discount the first four years he played is absurdly myopic.
The only problem with your post is there isn't a single "ice hockey" rink in Katy, TX, a western suburb of Houston. What do you say about that? The Houston metro area has maybe 9 rinks total? Mod: deleted.

GHOST


Last edited by Fugu: 06-30-2010 at 09:56 AM. Reason: strong accusation there
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06-30-2010, 05:22 AM
  #62
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Here are the total "ice hockey" arenas/rinks in the Houston metro of over 5 MM people:

Quote:
Your search returned 7 records.
Displaying 1 through 7.

1. Aerodrome - Willowbrook,Houston,TX,USA
2. Ice Skate USA,Houston,TX,USA
3. Polar Ice,Houston,TX,USA
4. Sharpstown Ice Center,Houston,TX,USA
5. Space City Ice Station,Houston (Friendswood),TX,USA
6. Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center,Sugar Land,TX,USA
7. Toyota Center,Houston,TX,USA
There is not a single arena anywhere near Katy, TX.

Link:

http://www.arenamaps.com/search.php?...eld=arena_name

GHOST

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06-30-2010, 08:04 AM
  #63
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lmao! Maybe intentionally left out this part eh?
Quote:
Myers’ hockey career struggled in the non-hockey Houston area. But when the family relocated againthis time to Calgaryhockey and Myers took off.
Quote:
"Talk about a culture shock," Myers said about the move to Canada as a 10-year-old. "When I was playing hockey in Houston, there were three teams in my age bracket in a city of about 3 million people. When I got to Alberta, there were 13 teams I could play on in my community alone."


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Old
06-30-2010, 08:47 AM
  #64
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Huh?

Exactly what did you think I was trying to say? Do you think I was actually agreeing with any point made by those who even try to make a north/south distinction?

BTW, I have a pretty good idea of north/south. Try not to generalize. Some of us canucks actually have done a substantial amount of business in the US, and have many US acquaintances/business partners.
I was referring to the people who posted in the thread up that point

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06-30-2010, 09:03 AM
  #65
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To answer the OPs question I dont think it is
Most of the southern teams have a hard time making money, and to me, it just seems like no one is showing an interest.

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Old
06-30-2010, 09:52 AM
  #66
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I have mixed feelings about the project as a whole.

Administratively, much of the effort has been wasted. Poor leadership in Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, Nashville and Phoenix have nearly torpedoed those franchises at various points in their history.

Culturally, I think people need to make a distinction between "participation sports" and "spectator sports".

We have been hearing for decades now that soccer is the Next Big Thing in the American sports scene. More kids play soccer than any other sport on an organized, official level. You can buy a soccer ball for $5 at a discount store and play for free in your back yard.

Anybody see people talking MLS by the water cooler? Nope. The World Cup had our attention for about a week, then the USA got eliminated and all the news coverage is about people who stopped watching. That's because soccer is not a spectator sport, and never will be regardless of how culturally pervasive it becomes.

Hockey is in the opposite position. Very few people play it, but it sells. Regardless of whether you look at Tampa, Carolina, Dallas or San Jose, when the playoffs roll around and media attention ramps up, the Sun Belt cities go ape for hockey. In the very few locations where that has occurred consistently, a hockey culture has developed and then you start to see participation on the back end.

IMO, this phenomenon is just fine for the purposes of league expansion. It proves that the markets will support the product. The key is going to be installing proper franchise leadership and keeping the teams consistent enough to build real momentum and not just aberrations of high support.

Overall, I'd give the effort a C+ so far. No markets have been lost, yet, and a few strong ones have been developed.

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06-30-2010, 10:29 AM
  #67
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I have mixed feelings about the project as a whole.

Administratively, much of the effort has been wasted. Poor leadership in Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, Nashville and Phoenix have nearly torpedoed those franchises at various points in their history.

Culturally, I think people need to make a distinction between "participation sports" and "spectator sports".

We have been hearing for decades now that soccer is the Next Big Thing in the American sports scene. More kids play soccer than any other sport on an organized, official level. You can buy a soccer ball for $5 at a discount store and play for free in your back yard.

Anybody see people talking MLS by the water cooler? Nope. The World Cup had our attention for about a week, then the USA got eliminated and all the news coverage is about people who stopped watching. That's because soccer is not a spectator sport, and never will be regardless of how culturally pervasive it becomes.

Hockey is in the opposite position. Very few people play it, but it sells. Regardless of whether you look at Tampa, Carolina, Dallas or San Jose, when the playoffs roll around and media attention ramps up, the Sun Belt cities go ape for hockey. In the very few locations where that has occurred consistently, a hockey culture has developed and then you start to see participation on the back end.

IMO, this phenomenon is just fine for the purposes of league expansion. It proves that the markets will support the product. The key is going to be installing proper franchise leadership and keeping the teams consistent enough to build real momentum and not just aberrations of high support.

Overall, I'd give the effort a C+ so far. No markets have been lost, yet, and a few strong ones have been developed.
Why does San Jose get lumped in there?

Have you seen their attendance?
17,558 100.4 09-10
17,488 100.0 08-09
17,411 99.5
17,422 99.6

San Jose has proven itself as a market and not just fans who show up for the playoffs.


Phoenix's problems are very much bad management. Phoenix's other big problem was that Arizona was one of the bigger housing boom areas and Phoenix is getting hit harder than most of the country (not knows as Detroit)


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06-30-2010, 10:33 AM
  #68
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Originally Posted by Little Bunny Foo Foo View Post
Why does San Jose get lumped in there?

Have you seen their attendance?
17,558 100.4 09-10
17,488 100.0 08-09
17,411 99.5
17,422 99.6

San Jose has proven itself as a market and not just fans hwo show up for the playoffs.
Where did I say they only show up for the playoffs?

San Jose has been fortunate to have memorable playoff games since very early in their history. That has been a huge factor in their off-ice success, as it is with nearly every other franchise in the league.

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06-30-2010, 10:38 AM
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Where did I say they only show up for the playoffs?

San Jose has been fortunate to have memorable playoff games since very early in their history. That has been a huge factor in their off-ice success, as it is with nearly every other franchise in the league.
Maybe I misunderstood you but
Quote:
Hockey is in the opposite position. Very few people play it, but it sells. Regardless of whether you look at Tampa, Carolina, Dallas or San Jose, when the playoffs roll around and media attention ramps up, the Sun Belt cities go ape for hockey
San Jose more than the early playoff success did a great job of selling themselves to the Bay Area. The Gretzky effect would also be weakest there because people from the Bay hate LA.

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06-30-2010, 10:48 AM
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San Jose more than the early playoff success did a great job of selling themselves to the Bay Area. The Gretzky effect would also be weakest there because people from the Bay hate LA.
It's true, the Sharks are one of the better-marketed teams in the league (not just the Sun Belt). But if they had been a Thrasher-like team for the past 15 years I doubt it would have translated to 100% attendance, don't you agree?

From what I have heard on these boards, the Sharks aren't nearly as big a deal in the SJ area during October as they are during March, which is perfectly natural for anywhere south of Canada.

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06-30-2010, 10:58 AM
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It's true, the Sharks are one of the better-marketed teams in the league (not just the Sun Belt). But if they had been a Thrasher-like team for the past 15 years I doubt it would have translated to 100% attendance, don't you agree?

From what I have heard on these boards, the Sharks aren't nearly as big a deal in the SJ area during October as they are during March, which is perfectly natural for anywhere south of Canada.
The same is true for the Kings down in LA.
LA and SF are huge baseball towns and a good portion of the fan base does switch it's eyes over once baseball ends. Sharks and Kings fans still show up for the games though. They are just temporarily overshadowed if the Giants or Dodgers are doing well.

LA and SF are similar (LA much more than SF) that franchises have to earn the respect of the fans.
In LA in particular once a team has earned that respect they are an institution. The Lakers and Dodgers have unquestionably reached this because of their past. The Dodgers didn't make the playoffs from 1996-2004 but still had amongst the best attendance in baseball.


The Kings aren't close to where The Dodgers and Lakers are but, averaging 16K attendance while not making the playoffs for 7 years is a pretty good accomplishment IMO.

Your hypothetical about the Sharks: Remember outside of shocking Detroit early on, The Sharks did have a pretty big hiccup after their initial success, not nearly what the Trash has had , but SJ wasn't a perennial playoff team at first and I can tell you the Sharks are in the news up there and SJ fans are pretty freaking diehard.

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06-30-2010, 11:40 AM
  #72
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What talent has come out of Arizona?
Luke Moffatt

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=123369

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06-30-2010, 12:01 PM
  #73
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Originally Posted by Little Bunny Foo Foo View Post
The same is true for the Kings down in LA.
...
The Kings aren't close to where The Dodgers and Lakers are but, averaging 16K attendance while not making the playoffs for 7 years is a pretty good accomplishment IMO.

Your hypothetical about the Sharks: Remember outside of shocking Detroit early on, The Sharks did have a pretty big hiccup after their initial success, not nearly what the Trash has had , but SJ wasn't a perennial playoff team at first and I can tell you the Sharks are in the news up there and SJ fans are pretty freaking diehard.
I don't think we're disagreeing. San Jose is a successful Sun Belt market in large part because, after their "honeymoon" period ended, they made the playoffs 13 out of 16 years and won 11 playoff series in the process (which is pretty damn impressive for a team mostly known for not getting anywhere in the postseason).

For comparison's sake, that means San Jose has won 4 more playoff series than the Lightning, Panthers and Thrashers franchises combined, in 24 fewer cumulative seasons.

What I'm saying is that San Jose is the model. They took a good marketing concept (cool name, cool colors, nice arena, likable players) and combined it with a quality product on the ice, and now they are basically exempt from most "Does hockey work in the Sunbelt?" discussions.

Granted, not every team can be as successful as the Sharks. But they can at least be like the Stars or Hurricanes, competitive most years and capable of surviving the occasional down season. Only when things completely bottom out, as they have in the lower part of the Southeast Division, do you see really serious problems with sustainability. And I would argue that 'market failure' occurs under those circumstances in any American market.

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06-30-2010, 12:38 PM
  #74
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It is pretty simple the argument you are all having

South = Any state that seceded from the Union in the war

That is my definition of South

American Old West = California , Colorado , etc

Basically any territory acq from war with Mexico , Manifest Destiny , Purchases from Russia , etc

So the Southern teams would be Preds , Hurricanes , Thrashers , Lightning , Panthers and Stars

Old West teams = Cali teams , Coyotes and Avs

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06-30-2010, 12:39 PM
  #75
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Country: United States
Posts: 53,793
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackhawkswincup View Post
It is pretty simple the argument you are all having

South = Any state that succeeded from the Union in the war

That is my defenition of South

American Old West = California , Colorado , etc

Basically any terroritory acq from war with Mexico , Manifest Destiny , Purchases from Russia , etc

So the Southern teams would be Preds , Hurricanes , Thrashers , Lightning , Panthers and Stars

Old West teams = Cali teams , Coyotes and Avs
All of that is irrelevant to the topic. We are talking about the southern expansion of the 1990s. Let's move on from the regional trivia.

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