Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ketuchup and Catsup Jr.

Team Location - Sheboygan

 Sheboygan may be a little better than Wausau in terms of small city supporting a franchise. Roughly 50,000 people, within an hour of high populated areas such as Milwaukee (and the greater metro area), Green Bay, Fond du lac, Manitowoc, and Appleton. It is outside of 150 miles that I think you need to be now outside of the Blackhawks territory without paying a fine. You get the Green Bay and Milwaukee TV audience.

Team Location - Whitewater


Whitewater, good distance between Madison and Milwaukee. It is also located around several smaller cities but when put together create a sizable population. Cities like Janesville, Beloit, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Oconomowoc, and Delavan. You may also get a sizable audience from Rockford, IL that don't feel like traveling to Chicago for the Blackhawks. It also has a great college population. The biggest knock would be size as Whitewater has the smallest population listed on here of around 13,000.

Team Location - Eau Claire


Eau Claire, I think it could be almost a reverse Madison, where you have their big college support the college hockey team and you could have the small college atmosphere support the NHL. I'm thinking Eau Claire a little more than when I started, it may be a close second to Wausau. Apparently there might be a (new) rule that NHL teams can't be within 80 miles of each other, which would also knock Milwaukee off. If it was, New Jersey, and the New York's would have had to be grandfathered in among others, and Eau Claire is in the 80-90 mile range from Minneapolis. Following that rule could work too because you could get just above the limit to create a better rivalry, and it is a pretty large college town...

Team Location- Green Bay


Green Bay seems too focused on football, but I think Packer fans could see room for one more. If the Packers are having a relatively poor season, December then onward could be great months. I think some owners would be scared by the Packer fans, but the misconception is always that they are focused to football. When instead they should just be considered great sports fans in general and are committed to their hometown teams no matter what.

Team Location - Wausau


Certainly the most important aspect when creating a franchise. Everything else can be built from this decision, but if you misinterpret your research and get it wrong your team is dead in the water unless they win the championship every year. Owners typically think go to a place with a ton of people, fulfill your TV audience as well and it's like shooting fish in a barrel. Tell that to the Florida Marlins, New Jersey Nets, Tampa Bay Rays, or NY Islanders that see their teams struggle during the regular season. No matter the size, if you don't have the interest you'll fail 9 times out of 10. It's easy to love a winner, but you are going to have bad stretches for the most part and you have to make sure the enjoyment of watching and following a team is there when you're on a 10 game losing streak.

Conversely look at the Green Bay Packers. In a city with a population a little over 100,000 and the largest by far in the immediate area, they sell out every weekend, have a huge national following and will for generations to come. Although it would be near impossible to recreate the situation of the Packers with the history and tradition, their franchise is the framework I would like to see this one built around.

Best Location so far - Wausau, WI

Wausau? Wausau?! How could they ever support an NHL in team with a population a smidge under 40,000? We believe Wausau would be a great city to host a franchise due to it's regional following, still relative proximately to major markets and in creating the cult of following of winning one for the little guy that sconnie embraces so well.

Northwest Wisconsin has a very rich hockey tradition that I think is hungry for the highest level of competition. This area has excellent youth programs, up through high school that create champion caliber hockey every year due to that passion. The region is pretty much left out of the major sports in Wisconsin and is more apt to contain Minnesota fans as a result. Southeast has the Bucks and Brewers, Northeast the Packers, southcentral/west the badgers. By putting a team there, places like Tomahawk, Merrill, Wisconsin Rapids, Eau Claire, and Superior would all have easy access to the team. All these cities among others in the area also support a total population of well over 100,000, quite a few within an hour of Wausau. It isn't so far out though like an Eau Claire or Superior that it wouldn't be somewhat accessible by the major markets of Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Madison every once in awhile. Hockey is a tough sport that is certainly not for the prima donna. It is full of tradition, strict codes that imbibe honor and respect so you need a region that fits that spirit and I think they do perfectly.

Wausau would also maintain that national appearance in similar light as Green Bay has of David v Goliath, but that David will always go to the whistle, the 15th round, the bottom of the 9th type mentality. Green Bay has a very specific taste where if you are an athlete that whines about contracts, doesn't hustle, doesn't have respect for the game that you won't have a place much longer in the organization. Putting in a place like Wausau over a Milwaukee would certainly help that image and mentality that we take pride in with our sports figures and teams.

To note, Wausau also has an airport for team travel.

Team Location - Madison


 Madison is still a big one we were tossing around for obvious reasons. Good hockey town, they have the facilities, and they are decent size. But we thought about the semi-pro teams that came and went over the last 20 years (Monsters, Kodiaks, Capitals, and the recently collapsed Madison Ice Muskies but that's a different topic all together) so that was a big knock. But were those more of a problem of situation rather than interest? Also somewhat in the middle between the Twin Cities and Chicago.

Who Qualifies as a Wisconsin Player?



If you haven't noticed already we have a section of the website devoted to the greatest players that Wisconsin has produced (http://www.nhlinwisconsin.com/greatness.html). But who should count as a Wisconsin player? Can it be anyone that played hockey in Wisconsin? Then should we look more towards the Badgers instead of the Admirals since they are defined more by what their NHL team does? Right now Chris Chelios is the only one that is borderline since he only played 2 years at UW. Brian Rafalski wasn't born here but spent a good deal of time here playing on the Capitols and Badgers (4 year player). But once a Badger always a Badger?

Dubbs1280
Need to be born in Wisconsin.
Yeah, I would say needs to be born in Wisconsin or born somewhere else and moved to Wisconsin at a fairly young age.

Wisconsin Travels


Wisconsin has a lot of great options for locations but the main thing to remember is that we travel very well to events at all levels. There are huge high school, college and professional followings more than the average state. Putting a team in Green Bay doesn't hurt them because a lot people that go to Lambeau on Sunday's are coming from Madison, Milwaukee, Fond Du Lac, Eau Claire, etc. Is a good guess for that number 40%? It is always laughable to hear that the reason people don't go to Rays games in Tampa or Coyotes games in Arizona is because of where the stadium is located...across town...30 miles away. This high level of state wide support would also help in playing schedule which we will discuss on a later page.

The Team Tour


This is where I think it would be fun for the whole state. Every year you rotate a city in Wisconsin that is capable and that city hosts the team for a 4-7 game home stretch. Wisconsin has wonderful facilities all over that could certainly house them for that length of time. It could also be an event for that area to help boost tourism dollars. I think it would be a great way to keep interest at a high level for most of the population as well. There could also be events similar to the Badger's winter classic, where they could play on Lambeau Field or Camp Randall.

Indoor Facilities to possibly host (capacity approximates): The Bradley Center (18,700), Kohl Center (15,300), Dane Co. Coliseum (9,500), Brown County Arena (5,200),

Would it be fun for an NHL team to play in a 5000 seat arena?
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Re: Team Tour

Postby FallsLlamas » Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:09 am
It's about $. If we only have the ability to hold 5000 people, there is no way we could have an NHL team. If I had to guess, the smallest NHL arena is 12,000 people. I am not saying we are going to sell out the BC every night, but we need a big arena to pay the salaries of our players. It might be cool to play in a small, intimate arena, but the players would rather play in a place with luxury boxes, $100 seats, and the most $ possible.
FallsLlamas
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:36 am

Do People Enjoy the Bradley Center?

 Should it be replaced or should it constantly be updated? I think if championships start being won there people will start appreciating it. It's a pretty decent facility and represents the good work that the Bradley/Pettit family did for Milwaukee. How could it be improved?
 I hate it for basketball. I can't afford the expensive seats and the cheap seats for basketball are awful. It's a great building for hockey, which makes sense because it was donated by the Pettits to bring an NHL team here. The sight lines are great for hockey, even when you're in the top corner of the 400 level.

I remember my first Admirals game at the Bradley Center. It was in the mid 90s, my dad got free tickets from work. He didn't really like hockey and was debating whether or not to take us to the game. Nobody in the family was really a hockey fan at that point but last minute we decided to go. We got there, seats were in section 406 which is in the corner. Even though the Admirals lost to the hated Wolves, we all had a great time.

It could use some renovations but it's not a horrible building and with the proper renovations it could be a very good NHL building.

What NHL team do people from Wisconsin root for?





Or who should we root for? I've heard a lot that the Blackhawks are a favorite, not sure if that is represented by a lot of transplants or because it is somewhat easy to get to games from Milwaukee and Madison. I don't know of many Wild fans here, maybe as you go north towards Eau Claire and such they gain popularity. The Anaheim Ducks were fairly popular when I was kid, mostly due to the movies, but are they too far away? Detroit and St. Louis are the next closest after MN and Chicago.

by Dubbs1280

Minnesota Wild. How can you not love the "State of Hockey" and a fanbase that supports their team as well as we support the Packers.

by AdmiralsFan24 » Fri May 27, 2011 6:18 pm
Predators. I also watch the Wild since several of their games are on TV every season.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Team Name/Logo - Braves

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A couple months ago a forum user named "Erica" made the suggestion of the Milwaukee Braves as a team name. I loved it, I thought that team would be perfect, you tie into Milwaukee's sports history as well as Wisconsin's overall history. Many of us are too young to remember the effect the Braves had on the state, and the devastation of when they left. From what I hear they were fully beloved, and probably would rival the Packers for attention if they would have stuck around. Part of the reason for that was how successful they were. They didn't have a losing season for all 13 years they were in Milwaukee, also winning a world series and having players that rival the stature of the Yankees didn't hurt either. Maybe if you bring a team there with the same name you get a little kharma rubbed off, and perhaps a pavlovian response of happiness everytime you hear that name, "and introducing the MILWAUKEE BRAVES!". Ahhhhhhh.

by jwiii69
In this ridiculously PC culture, you want to start a team with the name Braves?!? I don't see that going anywhere...I doubt the league would even ALLOW a native name to come in now.

Love the Caps colors though, you'd never mistake it for anyone else's scheme.

Just my $0.02

jeff

by admin
I definitely failed to take that into consideration. I figured it would be okay given our history with the franchise of the Braves, but it probably is unlikely now if it would be a "new" expansion.

I didn't realize how serious it is, but to your point since 1990 when PC’ness came into full force these are your expansion/relocation teams in all the major sports – Wild, Lightning, Thunder (ironic), Panthers (NFL, NHL), Bobcats, Jaguars, Grizzlies, Raptors, Ravens, Nationals, Devil Rays (cut down to Rays even), Diamondbacks, Rockies, Thrashers, Hurricanes, Sharks, Blue Jackets, Predators, Avalanche, and Ducks. I was only half ass joking when I said you are basically giving up naming your team after a jungle cat but it looks like that is what you have to do these days so as not to offend anyone. It does seem you almost have to be grandfathered into it.

Maybe if we had the full backing of the native population of Wisconsin. I know when Miller Park was going to be built there was a bid by a tribe to build the stadium but it was rejected. If that comes up again if a new arena needs to be built maybe Braves could be approved. To me Braves always came off as a positive connotation of Native American culture, but then again I'm white. Or perhaps we could take Braves to mean something more general.

Team Name - Union



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We finally have an idea to tie ourselves to at least something going on. A proposed team name of the Wisconsin Union. Before I get into reasons of why I think it may work, let me just say we are not trying side with anyone completely from a site standpoint, people who know me personally know what side I'm on but I don't think it's appropriate to leak it through a hockey website. We will remain as much as we can a sports website. I abhor those that try to step back and forth between many different lines. There is enough politics in the media enough as it is with talking heads babbling incoherently non stop, it might be nice to have some places that are void of that and just try to focus at the topic at hand. Not to mention I think it alienates readers when there is no need to. Unless it is politics in relation to the NHL or hockey we'll leave it to those sites that you expect it from and ones you probably read on your own already. Or I could just be avoiding the inevitable.

But for the most part which ever side you are on, it is hard no to appreciate the dedication the protesters have show to a cause they believe so strongly about. Isn't that what America was founded on? I've never been more proud to be from Wisconsin than during this time.

Great Things About the Name Union/logo:

We'd instantly become a trivia question on what sports teams don't end in the word "S". Most are from the NHL anyway.

Used a hammer which is symbolized in the Wisconsin flag to represent our recognized manufacturing industry.

It would connect with Wisconsin's history as a major force in the Union army during the Civil War.

The significance of the Memorial Union, boom.

And yes it would tie back to the storied tradition of Unions in Wisconsin and as they exist today.

Team Name/Logo - Bavarians


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League Insertion

How are teams added to any league? Can anyone just say " I have the money I want a team and they do it". It seems a lot more people would be buying and starting teams then, yet Mark Cuban is always having problems with it. Is it like a fraternity and you have to get hazed with paddles?

Once we figure out that portion then we would need to insert somewhere between the conferences most likely. If we would expand the league it may water down talent too much. Currently there are 30 NHL teams. 15 per conference. Each conference is made up of 3 divisions which have 5 teams. If we would adopt Phoenix, the West would still work out well, they would just have to shift some teams around but we could build some interesting rivalries. One idea would be to go into the Northwest division of the Western with Minnesota. That way you could move Vancouver to the Pacific. I think there would still be a decent rivalry between WI, IL, MI.

An argument for getting a team in Wisconsin would be to look at how the league is set up now. Below is a map showing what states and provinces currently have hockey. Blue are the Canadian teams and red US.

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It seems a little disjointed. Very few border states unless you are on the east coast or Canada. Not a lot of teams within a days travel by car as well. If you look at football, it comes out a little differently.
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I added a few more states for New England since that is a regionally named team, and New Jersey since technically the football is played in the state. The NFL is leaps and bounds ahead of the NHL in terms of popularity and revenue so it isn't just as simple as saying where teams are located is the reason but one has to consider the factor of how having border states helps pique interest in something. That is in essence where college sports is coming from. Sure I hate Penn State when UW plays them but I'm not sweating it if they lose to them as much as I would Illinois or Minnesota. Nowadays rivalries can be created in any fashion but one of the quickest is to pit two states with history against each other in something.

The best situation so far - Buying the Phoenix Coyotes and moving them to Wisconsin. Moving teams is somewhat easier than adding them since there usually isn't a lot of reshuffling of divisions. Also for those not aware Phoenix has a few bad seasons and are seeing ticket sales plummet. Since the begininng of the season there have been talks that they will need to be bought by the league. But for some reason they want to keep them in Phoenix??

Team Name/Logo - Lumberjacks





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A couple close seconds: The Lumberjacks. Wisconsin does have a rich logging tradition and it is the reason many settlers came here, not to mention our relation to the Paul Bunyan tall tale. They could also spin them off into the Axe Men, or the The Jacks. We could also make foam axes as merchandise.

Team Location - Milwaukee



 Milwaukee, they already have the Admirals, the Bucks and Brewers all during crucial hockey months. I am also weary of the big cities and sports. Take New York, biggest city in the US, but if you are not the Yankees or winning a championship New Yorkers in general don't care about you. Granted, Milwaukee isn't New York, unless you look at the example of the Bucks. They don't sell out without being championship caliber. The same percentage of people are probably die hard in both cities, New York just has the benefit of having 1000% more people than Milwaukee so even mediocre seasons will see healthy ticket sales. Think of the Nets and Knicks, you saw how many die hard fans there really are last couple years when they were on pace to win 10-20 games for much of the season. Some of that had to do with poor ownership and it's hard to justify shelling out hard earned money to support inferior products. But you want to know how much interest you really have start losing, be the worst team in the league for one year. That's an expensive way to do market research as you fail, but that is how big, metropolitan, Neapolitan, financial center cities are with a good portion of franchises.

That isn't to say that Milwaukee isn't a great sports town, there just has to be a certain level of support even during rough patches. With all the dozens of other things to do in cities not to mention the ratio of people transplanted there it seems like a crapshoot if new big city franchises will succeed or not. Remember when the Brewers were in danger of being moved in the late 90's? It may have been a perfect storm of things happening, and luckily they didn't but when thinking about a franchise always plan for worse case scenarios. Milwaukee would be a great choice for a lot of reasons but if I wanted to bet my money I'd rather go to a smaller city with 70-80% interest rather than a huge city with 20% interest

by AdmiralsFan24 » Fri May 27, 2011 6:26 pm
Milwaukee is the only city that's big enough to work. Still could draw a few fans from Madison and the Fox Cities.

I think the support in Milwaukee is fine. The Brewers have been supported for years even if they haven't always deserved it. The Bucks haven't been supported but they've been awful for the better part of 20 years. All an NHL team would have to do is make it to the 2nd round of the playoffs twice and 20 years and that would be an improvement over what the Bucks have done in the same time frame.

Team Name - Muskies


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by AdmiralsFan24 » Fri May 27, 2011 6:22 pm
By far my favorite. The logo, the color scheme. Everything about it is perfect.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Greatest Hockey Movies?


1. Miracle (2004) - 9.17
2. Rocket, The (2005) - 9.12
3. Slap Shot (1977) - 8.88
4. Net Worth (1995) - 8.37
5. Mighty Ducks, The (1992) - 8.14
6. Mystery, Alaska (1999) - 8.12
7. Youngblood (1986) - 8.10
8. D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994) - 7.57
9. D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996) - 7.42
10. Waking Up Wally: The Walter Gretzky Story (2005) - 7.38
11. MVP: Most Valuable Primate (2000) - 6.79
12. Boys, Les (1997) - 6.61
13. Rhino Brothers, The (1995) - 6.08
14. Sudden Death (1995) - 5.73
15. Love Guru, The (2008) - 5.40
16. Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2002) - 5.12

this poll is from Sports in Movieshttp://www.sportsinmovies.com/best-movies/hockey.asp I'm not sure but that might be every hockey movie ever made if MVP is up near the top (it is top 30 maybe if there were 30 but I wouldn't even rate if there were only 10) and Love Guru is even on there. I love how they blatantly make the call that D2 is better than D3, but D3 is still up there, that's stupid. I guess a new one would be Tooth Fairy, it was the only movie on a flight back from Brussels. Does Senseless or the Dead Zone count at all? The only ones I've seen are Miracle, Slap Shot, D1, D2, Mystery Alaska, and 40% of MVP. I kind of want to see the Walter Gretzky Story now that I saw it exists.

I feel like I'm betraying something but I have to go with MIghty Ducks. I think as many adults like the movie as us kids did, and I'm sorry but this then Sandlot are you kidding me, and you wonder why our generation is jacked up for the cake. It has everything you want in a movie, betrayal, tenacity, redemption, fall from grace, good prevailing, what else do you want? The thing that killed Might Ducks 2 was what are the goodwill games and when has anyone ever cared about the goodwill games like they do the goodwill games in the movie. Otherwise it was the same as the first but took it global, made it a world war.

Update:  Nope, it's slap shot



Team Name - Railers


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AJ Hawk Sucks



 by CVSrules
The world champion Green Bay Packers got better for about 12 hours when the cut AJ Hawk before a contract deadline. Unfortunately, they re-signed him, which (1) makes their defense worse (2) robs a roster spot from somebody who could play special teams. Obviously AJ Hawk was no Tony Mandarich, but seriously-- why would you resign Hawk when you have Bishop and Barnett and Chillar? They have 4 middle linebackers and probably only Chillar would be a special teamer. Thompson has gone off the reservation with this one.

Team Name/Jersey - Milwaukee Gulls


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Is Ron Dayne Still a Bust





I think we can safely close the book on the NFL career of Ron Dayne. Here is the final stat line:

Some Background-
Ron Dayne played 7 seasons in his NFL Career. He was with the Giants, Broncos and Texans. He was released by Houston following the 2007 season. He did not play in the 2003 season due to a kind of a weird situation. He was taken with the 11th pick by the New York Giants in the 2000 draft, leaving after his senior season with UW (only Shaun Alexander, Mike Anderson, and Jamal Lewis were taken after Dayne and had more rushing yardage than him to have a somewhat relative comparison to the class). He played in a Super Bowl his rookie season. His most popular fan nickname was Thunder (to Tiki Barber’s lightning). He thought he had a couple more years in him after 2007, but he never got the call.

Stats (all regular season numbers)-
Total Rushing Yards = 3722 Rushing (good for #203 on the all time, some below him are Kevin Faulk, DeShaun Foster, LaMont Jordon just passed him by 12 yards)
Total Attempts = 983 (good for #182 on all time, Kevin Faulk is at 847, Alan Ameche 964)
Games Play = 96 (Julius Jones is at 94)
Games Started = 28
Rushing TD’s = 28
Yards Per Att = 3.8 (most 5.1 in his season with Denver)
Attempts Per Game = 10.2 over career (14.9 was his most in a season and that was in his last year with Houston. Brandon Jacobs has a career of 10.8 attempts per game, and last year in 2010 managed 9.2)
Avg Yards/game = 38.8 (highest in a season was 59.5 in his last year)
Avg Yards/season = 532
Total Reception = 57
Total Receiving Yards = 340 (nothing to write your drunk uncle about)
Yards per Catch = 5.96
Total Yards from Scrimmage = 4062
Career Fumbles = 7 (1 per year)
Longest Run 61 Yards
2 Successful 2 point conversions
Won All Iron Award in 2005 for Thanksgiving Game
*A couple of other notes, he was improving as the years went on. His YPA started in the 3’s but never got below 4 again after he left NYG. He scored 11 TD’s in his final 2 years.

To the Point, from 2002 until about 2006, and some say continually depending on how late you watch ESPN, Ron Dayne was thrown on just about every conceivable list of draft busts. This is of all time now. Not just running backs, not just Heisman winners, not just players selected from a certain state of birth, everyone who has ever been drafted in history of the draft. A relatively small city kid, phenomenal college player, with disciplined professional skills in a longer than average career and you are going to put him in what is essentially the Top 99 percentile of players you did not want on your team after the year 1980. How is a running back from the Big Ten (12) that you draft from middle first of the 2000 draft a Top 50 draft bust of all time? Does he deserve to still be a member even considering the most recent draft classes and the rest of his career extending passed the production dates of many of these polls/lists?

Taking everything into consideration I think he was a serviceable back that needed to fit into certain systems, but turned out a respectable career. He altered his style and began to show signs of improvement when his career was arguably cut short by a couple years. Not an All-Pro by any means, or someone who would even be to consecutive pro bowls but I’d be willing to put him on a Top 50 of something of the NFL other than draft busts. Knowing what we know now about running backs in the post 2000 era (i.e nary a few will play passed the age of a lord any savior in the league, Bettis might the last modern one inducted). To me it comes down to that he earned his paycheck, not too much, but didn’t get robbed. I thought his total attempts and att/game really stood out and illustrates he was just a workhorse for the Giants. These were teams that had Tiki Barber as the main back. They weren’t going to run formations with him catching passes in the flat, and he wasn’t going to break 60 yarders like he did in college and he was never meant to in that system. He was brought on as a 3rd down back, get short yardage, bruise defenders. He was like Sonny in the Godfather. I think he accomplished that well, well until he got shot up. After he slimmed down a few seasons in, he showed flashes of the break tackle, then speed off he did so well at UW. This may have led to the success he had with Houston. If the Texans would have brought him back for at least 2 more years he could have helped them out significantly and probably hit at least 5000 rushing yards. They had struggled with consistent backs since that and up until they found the gold mine, Arian Foster.
I would label Ron Dayne as a bust. However, he is not one of the biggest busts of all time. When you consider how high he was drafted, he should have been a more productive back. He was not a speed back, and wasn't really a great NFL-type RB. He was a good, solid backup, worthy of a 2nd or 3rd round pick, but not that high. Yes he left as the NCAA career yardage leader, and Heisman trophy winner, but with the UW system, O-line, and situation, his draft stock was overrated. I would say he is a minor bust, but no Ryan Leaf.


Fallsllama doesn't know what he's talking about. Ron Dayne is a Joey Harrington-esque bust. Does anybody else remember that All Iron game? He broke away from everybody on the field, was running as fast as he could, and somebody caught him.

The Arena Itself



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You can't just throw a lot of money at a building, put in millions of bells and whistles and expect people to love your new monstrosity (see New Meadowlands, or previous Metrodome). Using principles of Frank Lloyd Wright it needs to be adapted into the surrounding areas not on top of it, and not to mention be embraced by the city that has to see it almost every day.

A positive of starting a hockey franchise over football is certainly facility costs. It won't be cheap, but we won't approach the $1 Billion level that NFL stadiums are costing now. NHL arenas hold typically about 15,000 people, the Bradley center and Kohl center hold 18,700 and 15,300 respectively for hockey. If we go with a smaller district, having it around 14,000 to start with would fit nicely, but have areas where we can expand easily already built in. Another positive is that many areas in Wisconsin already have an ice arena in place. Would it be possible to build around the existing one some way or add extensive improvements to help save money?

One likely obstacle is will major tax dollars have to go in building and maintaining it. Let's not touch that one yet, should a referendum like that have to pass with 80% approval? Any city that this would go into, a vast majority should want to have it.

Features:

The Barn/Ice Rink - I kind of like the ring that the name "The Barn" exudes as a place to go watch hockey. A possible sponsorship to the facility could be Leinenkugel. Different from Miller in that they don't have to pretend they are from Wisconsin anymore.

The Crows Nest - Seats high up in the rafters to watch the game. It could be used for parties or events, with full bar, multiple/gigantic TV's, etc, but you watch the game from a balcony or if it is over the center through glass in the floor. What not possible?

Hall of Pioneers - One of my favorite features of Lambeau Field are the Packer museums and hall of fame that border the stadium. If we run with the team name of Pioneers one of the things we would like to see as part of the complex is a kind of hall fame that not only showcases Pioneers of Hockey and the franchise but Pioneers of Wisconsin in general. People like Bob La Follette, Harry Houdini, William Sylvester Harley (Harley Davidson), Orson Welles, Hank Aaron, Louis Jolliet, Jacques Marquette, among others. Essentially it would become a great museum of Wisconsin's rich history that could operate within the systems of the local education districts.

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Community Therapy pool/Fitness center/Rehabilitation Center- Operating at different schedules than when the team uses it, this area would hold classes for the community promoting physical strength and exercise. We don't see it operating as a come-when-you-like gym but rather as set times for certain activities. Not only does this prevent conflicts with team exercises but when you have a gym you can go anytime, you have excuses not to go, but if you have a set schedule, it helps you focus a little more. It also would have a rehabilitation center for physical therapy. When not in use by the team this could be a very valuable asset for the community. These centers are normally few and are between but with the help of the arena a state of the art facility could be achieved for the region to help people after debilitating injuries. Fingers crossed on this place having rope and rock climbing.

Outdoor Skate Rink - I love hockey that is played outdoors. Not only could this be used by the community for open skates but could also hold practices every once and awhile to keep the team on their toes.

Team Names - Pioneers, Our First Attempt

You want something simple, to the point, and can stand the test of time. They recently did a survey of best helmet logos of the NFL. The Packers, Steelers, and Colts were up near the top and they haven't changed in decades and probably never will for good reason. Yet you have teams that are trying to capitalize on current trends and try to make it too creative that they end up having to re-design it every few years. The Brewers have been around since 1970 and have changed their logo 5-6 times depending on who you ask even when the fans love the ball and glove.
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Next to location, this is another top variable that needs a solid thought out process. It's a lot like naming your children, you have to plan every step of their future as a reflection of their names. It's hard to imagine someone actually approved the name Marquette Gold.

I remember awhile back SI for Kids had a contest where you would design the expansion team's logos for the NFL along with picking their names. Being in 3rd grade I was so jacked for this project, I must have done 30 different designs over the weekend. I thought at least one of mine would get looked at. They ended up going with the Jaguars and Panthers. I'm not sure if they even considered using the SI submissions, or if it was just a way to boost subscriptions and readership with kids. Naming a team after a jungle cat anymore just means you're not trying, and they did it twice to the same expansion set. Fast forward a few years later and a during a project where we wrote out what we wanted to be when we grow up, I dreamt of running a sports franchise. It was a baseball team that I aptly named the New Orleans Hurricanes. Cheap lesson learned, it's also probably not a good idea to name a team something that could potentially devastate that region down the line.

I liked the term Pioneers because it is rarely seen in sports. There are several colleges that use it though (UW Platteville). It also fits Wisconsin as it embodies the nature with which our state was settled along with our independent spirit.

A Pioneer can be anything, it doesn't have to be a guy in a covered wagon. Pioneers are innovators, tenacious, and risk takers which I think fits our state pretty well when thinking of our settlers and Native American heritage. Wisconsin had always been great about naming teams based off state institutions and I was trying to think of others. Miners was a possibility, but it didn't roll off the tongue nicely. Another was related to how great the fishing is up north, so maybe the Wausau Muskies (ode to another legendary team of Wisconsin), or Bullheads. If you like the alliteration there is always Wausau Warhawks or Warriors.

by Erika While I do like the Pioneers name, I don't see a team forming in Wausau. I really think it has to be Milwaukee or Madison, regardless of what everyone else seems to think about places being a college hockey town. I don't think Milwaukee is a college hockey town, I think at the time we were voted down before, they looked at us as not bringing enough money and fans compared to other cities. That however, is another rant, for another topic!

Let's just say Milwaukee, for travel purposes. (You know you'd get chicago/IL visitors coming up here to watch NHL games because it would be much less expensive to see a game here than it would be there! Plus it's easy from all freeways) What is Milwaukee? I don't even know our slogan anymore, but it used to be "A great Place by a great Lake". We can't be called the Milwaukee Lakes, although maybe the goalie of the other team would be trying to figure that one out and we could score a few. I thought about the history of Milwaukee and while there is German, Polish, and Beer history in Milwaukee, I find other teams easily making fun of us for names like Milwaukee Brats & Milwaukee Ice-Poles. I did think Milwaukee Millers had a nice ring to it, but I imagine the gold and red jerseys to look terrible, like the beer cans. If we went with the Milwaukee Bocks, I imagined waves of mass confusion when trying to order tickets to games over the phone.. when someone on the other line thinks you're ordering Bucks tickets. Bocks and Bucks are just too close. "Hey did you see the Bocks game last night?" "The Bucks were on? I didn't know they were playing" "Yeah, they won, 3 - 2" "wait..... what?"

I guess we'll have to go with the last resort. The Milwaukee Braves.

Erika

Postby admin I think you bring up a lot of great points, and I love the idea of calling them the Milwaukee Braves. I started to work on a logo for that even. I like how some teams do that now a days where they name it after a historical team that has already dissipated. Even the Milwaukee Brewers technically fall under that.

It definitely would increase traveling between the cities bringing in more people from Chicago to see games and vice versa. Let's face it you probably don't get many people traveling to Minnesota from Chicago to games, but if there was a closer option it would boost it.

There may be some confusion between the Bocks and the Bucks especially if games are around the same dates and sharing the Bradley Center. What if we used the full term Einbocks, does that sound good? What about putting a color in front of them like the Gold Bocks, Green Bocks, Brown Bocks. Maybe if they were located in Green Bay or Madison it could work.

Jersey Template


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nest Fest Is This WEekend

Even though it is summer, that doesn't mean hockey takes break. If you are looking for something to do ice related this weekend check out Nest Fest in Verona. It's a 3 day long event (August 19-21) to help raise support for the Eagles Nest Ice Arena, and Verona area youth hockey teams. There is a beer/music tent, 3 v 3 youth tournament, and silent auction among others. For more information and details on the events check out their website http://www.nestfest.org

Friday, June 17, 2011

Boston Bruins Win Stanley Cup, Vancouver Promptly Begins The End of the World


The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks.  Congratulations?  I don't know, I guess I'm kind of torn.  Not just because it apparently started the zombie apocalypse in Vancouver, but because I in general hate Boston sports teams.  I'm a Jets fan so obviously the Patriots are out.  I hate the Red Sox mostly because they pretend they aren't as evil as the Yankees, yet they spend $50 million just to talk to a guy, not to mention Papelbon's state of perpetual constipation. Tie that in with that fact that how you can respect any fan base that blames their winning woes on a curse.  No, you choked.  The Celtics:  can't stand Paul Pierce and then they had to add Garnett, but I think I get the Bruins.  Cam Neely for some reason was one of my favorite players as a kid.  Sea Bass, his Foundation, can't go wrong with that guy.  Also my first floor hockey stick was a B's one that my parents got me as a birthday present, that led me to dominate matches at hotels during hockey tournaments for years to follow. But it also seems like the Bruins are the Boston team that actually defines what Boston sports wants to be, especially with what Tom Brady has been up to...



 Also did anyone see this picture?  I guess the story behind it was that the girl was knocked down and somewhat injured by a mob shield.  The guy came to take her to safety and moved in for a brief smooch.  They had been seeing each other for a little bit, but this is like a dating decathlon rolled into a couple minutes.  Relationship now to phase 2 after this, like spending a weekend in Vermont.

More Excuses for Wisconsin Not Having a Team-


Finally we have some real detractors and now I've realized how necessary they are because they actually make you go out research your arguments. Not to mention they bring more excuses that I originally hadn't thought of so thanks. More fuel to the fire. Figured I'd write this all out so I have a place to send people in case any of these issues come up again.

The success of some southern teams pretty much negates all these arguments anyway, because compared to Wisconsin what did they have before to base anything on? But I digress, here are some comments and messages I've received that the rebuttal just makes a case for getting a team even stronger.

Too close to Minneapolis and Chicago, the market is too saturated

Hockey is the 4th or 5th most popular sport in WI

Admirals can't even sell 5,000 tickets

Can't use badgers as example for hockey passion because without students it doesn't matter

Badger Hockey Loses Money

Badgers get bad TV Ratings and have a bad TV deal

More people show up for MN high school games than Admirals games

MN has far more passion for hockey than WI

Milwaukee doesn't care about hockey, then don't have enough rinks

Compared to the Admirals, NHL tickets would be too expensive and no one would go

Wisconsin's media is too fractured

Not enough statewide tradition
First, I don't even know why people bring MN into the fray when discussing WI. If the NHL were to base planting a team on passion compared to MN then no city in the US would have one. As much of a rival as MN is, I can respect that they hold hockey far above just about everyone in the contiguous US and probably the other 2 states(even though Wisconsin's U18 continually holds their own and beats them).

Their high school state tournament is unlike any other. They sell out the Xcel Energy Center to the tune of 18,000 fans every year. I couldn't find anything about regular season hockey games, but I'm sure the big schools probably draw a couple thousand at least considering big high schools have that many kids. Again though, how many high school games are there in Texas or California that rival Minnesota?

Let's start with a couple easy ones (they all are).

"The Admirals can't even sell 5,000 tickets". To be fair I also thought the number was around 5000. However this past season the Ad's averaged about 5800 fans good for 11th out of the 30 teams in the AHL. They actually averaged just above 6000 last year which was good for 8th. Not sure the reason for the drop, I thought it may have been that the Packers made it further in the playoffs this year but there weren't any Ad's home games during their Super Bowl run. The average is better than Toronto, Hamilton, and Connecticut. Hamilton is another frontrunner for a franchise.

"Hockey is 4th or 5th most popular sport in WI" - I don't know what the 4th sport would be. NASCAR? Golf? Is there a major sport coming up that I'm not aware of in Wisconsin. Lumberjack competitions? Hands down Packers occupy #1, but then I see a free for all for number 2, as far as professional sports go, but does that really matter? Hockey is probably 4th most popular in Boston, 4th or 5th most popular in Chicago. The only sport it would have to contend with on a regular nightly basis is basketball. As much as I love the Bucks, I think a hockey team would be more popular from the stand point of attendance and TV Ratings. According to the RSN ratings Bucks average 13,000 households which sadly is in the bottom 6 of the NBA.

"The Badgers lose money, don't get TV ratings, wouldn't sell out without students, etc, etc" - Oh my. Doing a little bit of digging found out the Badger Men generate about $5 mil in revenue at a cost $4 million, and the women $575,000 at a cost of $2.5 million. So yes, overall there is a loss but from what I hear college athletics is a little funny when it comes to accounting and what can be written off as expense or added as revenue. The women's program loses money, not much in the Badger Athletics as a whole. Maybe it costs money to win 4 National Championships and create the best program in the country.

I wasn't able to find anything on TV ratings on a nightly basis and I agree the contract probably isn't great. In Madison I think the only way to watch it live is on PBS. But there is this little thing called the Big 10, they have their network, and the Badgers are helping to create the league for hockey in 2012 which will be shown on the network. The conference should exponentially help TV ratings and revenue around the area with familiar matchups to people in the area. Are more people going to watch Wisconsin vs. Michigan than a Wisconsin vs. Bemidji St on a channel that is more easily accessible, probably. No offense to Bemidji, it's just not as familiar to people that follow the Big Ten in all the other sports. I have a reason to hate Michigan, OSU, Illinois all the time, Colorado College just on the nights they play UW.

The student tickets represent 2,700 out of the 15,300 tickets for hockey. It is a similar percentage to football. But why not count students? Would students not go to NHL games? Even so 15,300 - 2,700 = 12,600, still more people that go to the Phoenix Coyotes game.

Expensive NHL Tickets - The Admirals charge between $16-23 for a ticket. How much more are NHL tickets? Not much apparently. The St. Louis Blues charge between $20 - $68 for a majority of their tickets and the Nashville Predators range between $19-$43 for most of their seats. Both markets similar sizes and scopes to a Milwaukee, and both pretty reasonable for going to an NHL game. As long as a team would be equivalent to Bucks or Brewers prices it shouldn't be a problem.

Not Enough Statewide tradition - The Admirals have been around for 40+ years, the Badgers have been playing for almost 50 years straight (the varsity sport started in 1921 but they discontinued it from 1935-1963), and Lake Superior has been playing organized hockey since the 1920's and offer one of the best high school programs dominating the state tourney when it started in the 1970's. 41,000 fans filled Lambeau field in February to watch the Ohio State and Wisconsin play in a winter classic (more than the amount at Ford Field for the National Championship in 2010). There are probably more examples, but that covers the state pretty well.

UPDATE: I had some time to kill so I made this map. Since 2000, each red dot is a school that has won the State Championship. How is that display not only for State wide tradition, but State wide quality.



Wisconsin Media Too Fractured - Not sure what this meant. I guess Green Bay has a station, Madison has one, Milwaukee does, and Eau Claire (?). But how often are games televised on local channels anymore. It's all FS Midwest. All the NHL needs to know is that their bottom 3 TV markets (FL, PHX, ATL) have a combined viewership of 18,000 households. I think Wisconsin does that without any teams here. In 2006 though the Frozen Four game between Wisconsin and Maine averaged just above 1 million households, an 11% increase over the year before that and a new record for the time. For the Gold Medal game between US and Canada last year, Milwaukee (who apparently doesn't care about hockey and doesn't have enough rinks) was the 5th highest city of viewership in the US (site) above cities such as Boston, Chicago, Denver, and Philly.

Milwaukee Ice Rinks - This is all within a 3 mile radius, but it includes the Petit, Bradley, Red Arrow, Jacobus, Humboldt, Wilson Rec Center and just outside of the radius is Lake Park. I may have missed some, or included one that shouldn't be, but I'm not that familiar with the area, let me know. Blue is indoor, Red outdoor. Anyway, this guy vehemently believes there is no outdoor rink in the entire Milwaukee Metro area, the map below barely covers the city let alone all of the suburbs. What are they on?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wisconsin Bars

The year was 2005.  It was my first trip to Vegas.  We were taking the red eye back that night so we pretty much just had a day to kill, with no place to stay. My brother, who lives there, is taking us around that week and decides this would be the best time to go to this place known as Rum Runner, (I call it Rum Runner's, not sure if that's cosher).  It's a few miles off the strip.  As omen to what entire day became, later on into the night my brother decides it would be a great idea to take us to an authentic mexican food cart type cuisine.  It was excellent but not the best idea to mix a uniquely spiced pulled pork and a half gallon of horchata before a 4 hour flight at midnight.  Not to get too far off topic, on the way to it he mentions it is a Wisconsin bar, I have no idea what this means but when we walk in we find out quickly. Packer and Badger banners plastered everywhere and memorabilia strewn about.  I even see signs of the Brewers and Bucks, maybe Marquette, my memory is fuzzy. There are few bars in Wisconsin that are decked out this much, but I guess when you have to convince guests of where they are, and what kind of bar it is, you over-do it.  There is not one thing that didn't remind me of a main street bar in Verona apart from the open space inside. My brother said the place is usually full with Packer fans on Sundays. Needless to say they have good specials before noon. It's a good thing when we move, we take our bars with us. 

The initial thought of this came this past weekend where I was down in Chicago. We watched the Badgers lose to Penn State in what is on out of about a half dozen Wisconsin bars I know of in the Chicago, just in the area we were staying. But when you think about it, where else is this the norm? I'm not aware of Chicago bars in Milwaukee or Madison, Detroit Bars in Columbus, or a Dodgers bar in Philli?  I suppose there are a few cases of this especially with major franchises like a Steeler bar in LA or a Red Sox bar in Seattle. But not to mention the idea of a big rivals bar in a downtown location give me a flashes of street mob justice.  With the Wisconsin ones there seems to be enough people in the area to support it for a long term though.

Where are some other Wisconsin bars located?  Is this common with other franchises, or does it add to the notion of how we travel with sports and spirits?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wisconsin Born NHL'ers

One of the statistics I was going to pull as a major case for professional hockey was the amount of players that Wisconsin has sent to the NHL. This was originally based on just the assumption that we produced dozens of them. However, when I looked it up and saw it was only 25, I was a tad disappointed considering that 39 players in the NBA were born here. I left it at that, but I failed to put it into context of the rest of the country, so here it is:
State # of Players
Alabama
2
Alaska
11
Arizona
1
Arkansas
0
California
24
Colorado
7
Connecticut
25
Delaware
1
DC
2
Florida
3
Georgia
3
Hawaii
0
Idaho
2
Illinois
44
Indiana
7
Iowa
1
Kansas
0
Kentucky
0
Louisiana
0
Maine
5
Maryland
4
Mass.
166
Michigan
122
Minnesota
206
Mississippi
0
Missouri
7
Montana
0
Nebraska
2
Nevada
0
New Hamp.
7
New Jersey
10
New Mexico
0
New York
85
North Carolina
1
North Dakota
13
Ohio
20
Oklahoma
3
Oregon
5
Pennsylvania
24
Rhode Island
18
So. Carolina
0
South Dakota
0
Tennessee
0
Texas
3
Utah
2
Vermont
2
Virginia
4
Washington
9
West Virginia
0
Wisconsin
25
Wyoming
0
Total
876

All these figures are from Hockey Reference (site). Obviously it doesn’t cover transplants.  If someone was born in Lithuania and moved to New York when they were 2 it wouldn't count for NY, which could work for either side.  It is also only NHL, and not one of the many semi-pro teams that one could play for. Some of these are just hard to believe for the 0 states: Kansas, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Tenessee, Nevada, really none of those states ever produced an NHL hockey player (ever?). The other aspect this points out is just how big of an international sport hockey really is, that in the history of the league less than 900 players were born in the US. 

Wisconsin ranks sixth, tied with Connecticut with 25. Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York are the only states ahead of us. Also 11 of the 25 were born after 1980, so it will be something on the rise since it wasn't until the late 1970's that highly organized hockey really came into fruition in our state. It was during these years that UW became a national college powerhouse, the Madison Capitol Jr team was formed, and high schools started adding teams as a varsity sport. I don't really see this as a big bragging point since just about every state around here can crap on us, but considering that we are one of the top states for NHL'ers lends to the notion of how much passion is brewing for the sport as kids grow up with it.

NHL Camera System

NHL camera
All the rage right now is the talk about the Phoenix Coyotes and everything Gary Bettman is trying to do to keep them there. Something about bonds expiring, lawsuits, I don't know. One of the big reasons for keeping them there is that the Phoenix/Glendale/Tempe/etc area is reportedly the 14th largest American TV market and you would be giving that up to move the team to Winnipeg which is the 8th largest in Canada (or 110th or something in America numbers). The problem is it doesn't matter how big something is, if it's not being used then it's pointless. According to this, LA and Anaheim are in the bottom 5 for TV ratings, but have one of the biggest markets in North America, maybe they get away with that by charging $100 a ticket. Hockey is one of the greatest sports to watch live but for some reason it hasn't translated well to watching at home.

 On that note, I can't figure out why NFL is so watchable. On paper it should be horrendous. Commercials every few minutes, most snaps go absolutely nowhere, constant replays, annoying banter but there I am for 9 hours a Sunday watching it even when I am getting updates on my laptop for fantasy. Part of it can be attributed to that circus I discussed used to surround each play, which the NHL should look at adopted but to a much lesser extent. There are a million things people could be doing at any given moment, give them a good reason to stay tuned in, or else why am I wasting my 2 hours watching this. 

Aficionados will tell you it is selling out the sport to try to cater to TV audiences (aka casual fans). Look what Fox did with the joke that is the glowing puck to try to ramp up viewers and help them keep track of what was going on.
Glowing Puck
(would this make George Lucas cream in his pants?)
It was at least something to help though. If the sport is to prosper in this day and age it needs to hit that virtual audience, and when your best market is Pittsburgh at 105,000 homes that's saying it needs another "glowing puck" type jump start but this time maybe think of something successful, and not just for the advantage of a new idea but incorporating things that actually work in the real world. 

One simple way to do this is change the camera angle setup. Something relatively small that even the purists could approve that would revolutionize the way it is watched from home. Right now you have a fixed camera at mid point panning back and forth with a couple quick cuts every once in awhile in one of the corners. The cuts do nothing for me but disorient since they only last a split second, and the fixed position keeps the viewer removed from the action in other areas. Have you ever seen an exciting hockey movie where it was just filmed from one spot the entire time? 

Well how does this differ from actually being there in that spot where the camera is if it is so good to watch live? The biggest difference is field of view controlled by you. Not only do you have a wider field actually being there but you are drawn to things that get your attention: Line changes, off puck hits, coaches yelling, women, score board shenanigans, Boston music blaring, etc, so you are constantly entertained by at least something in your chosen field of view. Right now watching from home is like having so-so tickets, wearing a dog cone on your head and having someone control your neck for you. It tries to emulate what basketball does, but the problem with that is the players and puck are in constant motion around a much larger area of play. 

Why not put a camera right above the ice. Invest in that zip line technology the NFL uses on kickoffs and sometimes replays, or have it follow a track from the ceiling/scoreboard. Make it reminiscent of one of the greatest hockey video games ever.
NHL 94
I know I could watch that game for hours and sometimes had to if there were 3 of us playing with time at full length periods. But think about every virtual hockey experience you have enjoyed, hasn't it always been from an angle right above the action looking vertically? You have bubble hockey, that magnet hockey game, and console hockey. Horizontal games like Ice Hockey and Blades of Steel still were looking at it from above but they still pale in comparison to NHL 94 and 95. 

Why hasn't the NHL at least tried something like this, the idea, the setup as been around for 20 years? You get to see the puck, you get to see all the movements by the goalie, and you get to see plays developing. Create an experience for the fan at home that you wouldn't get in the arena, shouldn't that be the goal?
Football/Basketball/Soccer, et al, get a pass on this since they move at slower paces, with larger tools of scoring so it's a little easier to film it from the side. But with something as fast as hockey you need a system that can focus on where the puck is with good contrast but also keep you in tuned to what else is going on.
You could even just stick a camera on a guy suspended from the rafters, that might be additional entertainment. See how it looks in a couple extended cut shots mixed in with what you are already doing. If people don't like it stop it, it wouldn't cost that much to do. It's just an idea. Maybe the complete whiteness of ice wouldn't look good on TV, would it be good for 3D? 

I could also be pulling this for this because my parents season tickets for UW hockey when I was growing up were right at one end of the coliseum, the very top row, so that is how I had to always watch the game. But it always made it entertaining.

An Argument for Janesville

nhl in wisconsin screenshot
I have to admit I was slightly askew in my original recommendation of Wausau as the #1 host city. Although it would be great to have one there, from a business stand point it probably wouldn't be the best place in Wisconsin if we want it to have the best chance to succeed. Even though it is looking less and less likely, a part of me would still like to see it in a smaller metro area to give something new to the NHL. The best of those types of cities may be Janesville (Let us know what you think in our Forum

Janesville has fallen on extremely hard times recently. GM closed a plant there which left a significant vacuum in employment. Could a team be a way to rejuvenate their economy? It certainly would bring jobs back, and boost sales at hotels/restaurants/bars with extra tourism dollars. 

Other Points -
Immediate City/Population: Janesville has a population of about 60,000 people. They have an ice arena, obviously without NHL capacity but could it be remodeled? There is easy access to major cities like Rockford, Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago. 

Surrounding Area Population: I was somewhat suprised to find out that within a 50 mile radius of Janesville (above picture) is a population of roughly 1 million people (not including the city itself). It is nowhere near the top of metropolitan areas of the NHL but at the same time nothing to look down on either. Here is a list of some of the major ones and their distance by driving. Most are based off 2000 census.
City Pop. Mileage
Rockford, IL
157,000
34.1
Madison
236,000
40.2
Belvidere, IL
21,000
37.4
Brookfield
39,000
73.9
Waukesha
65,000
61.2
Whitewater
13,500
20.1
Franklin
30,000
68.4
New Berlin
38,000
61.7
Beloit
38,000
16.3
Crystal Lake, IL
42,000
47.5
Sun Prairie
26,000
47.5
Fitchburg
21,000
36.5
Totals
726,000


IL Residents: Look at cities like Rockford, Crystal Lake, and Elgin. You would get a pretty signficant influx of fans from those cities and other Chicago suburbs, especially people that don't feel like driving down through Chicago to get to a Blackhawks game. 

Proximity to Other NHL Cities: Not only are you about as close to Chicago as Milwaukee, but St. Paul (293 miles) and St. Louis (323 miles) are still somewhat accessible for road games. 

Hockey Base is Growing: In 2009 Janesville became home to the North American Hockey League team the Jets. It could be a nice litmus test to see how they succeed. They also have a solid youth program, with decent high school teams in Parker/Craig and Beloit Memorial.

Is Yahoo Kidding With Their College Hockey Site

nhl in wisconsin screenshot
(Check it out for yourself) When I first started up this site I was looking around for some quick access hockey pages to get up to the minute stories, interesting fluff pieces, and scores. Yahoo was one of the first I looked to since I frequent there often. Sure they have many faults, and uneven/redundent/slow reporting, but I don't see how you couldn't be happy with the amount of topics they cover over a wide variety of sports. Given that, there really is no excuse for how poor their college hockey coverage is. 

If you can make out that story above it is about the annual Beanpot tourney in Boston. Which would be great story to have on the front page, if it didn't happen a few days ago...and wasn't written by the AP instead of a staff writer. There are never any scores up, no standings to speak of, and above all else you can't get to it unless you google it. I get it is college hockey.  With only around 58 D1 teams it pales in comparison to college football and basketball.  However, it is 58 top tier, big school teams that you are missing out on. Is it too much to put an intern up to the task, a bottom of the ladder lackey trying to make a name for themself, trying to get experience? Yahoo could say that the reason they don't support it is because there isn't enough nationwide support for it. i say that's a chicken and egg thing, it's not popular so you don't put much time towards it, maybe if you put time towards it you could make it popular. 

It's time to write a formal letter...

The Unfortunate Case of the Madison Ice Muskies

nhl in wisconsin equalizer
This article does an excellent job of summarizing what happened to this doomed from the start franchise. It was written by Adam Hoge, who was also a broadcaster for the team and had a first hand account of the behind the scenes management, or lack thereof of the team. 

I'm not sure what it is about minor league hockey and Madison. You had the Capitols, the Monsters, the Kodiaks, and now the Ice Muskies all folding or moving, each one quicker than the previous. The Madison Capitols, although amateur, had relative success running for around 11 years during the 80's and 90's and producing NHL players like Brian Rafalski and Derek Plante. I remember going to a couple of Monster games, they seem to sell a decent amount of tickets and had some loyal fans. Maybe it was the cost of the facilities playing at the Coliseum, but they moved to Knoxville becoming the Speed. The Madison Kodiaks moved to Kalamazoo after 1 season of playing here in 2000. The Ice Muskies seem to be a different animal altogether though. Father and son "owners", Gene and John Rudolph from Chicago (go figure) somehow got $150,000 to start the team back in 2009.  It seems no one knows where this money went or if it even existed. None of the players got paid, the coach Rod Davidson was never paid and only got reimbursed for some expenses, and Hoge had a his checks bounce whenever he was able to get a hold of them and request them. Hoge and Davidson ended up taking on multiple positions to try and keep the team afloat, along with several people volunteering their time but the owners abandoned everyone and within its first season the team folded. The players were evicted from their apartments at the Regent when their promised rent checks from the Rudolphs stopped coming in. 

It's easy to focus on this apparent scam these owners were running if they really did have the money and the complete lack of professionalism on their part, but the most interesting aspect is without any real marketing to speak of people still went to the games. It may have been only a few hundred at the time, but if you would have had management with a brain what could have happened with the team? I, like a lot of other citizens in Madison, had no idea the team existed. There are people that are still trying to get the team running again, passionate fans who want to see another form of hockey in Madison. I haven't heard of any results this season, or if they were successful.  Even though it was the players that were hurt the most out of this, they still played the game with the dedication a lot of athletes say they would, but they proved that they would play for free. 

I hope those players find a way to continue to play the sport professionally and good luck to them in the future. Maybe someday semi pro hockey can be brought back to Madison with a decent management plan to give players like these a chance to reach the IHL or NHL.

Our State as Mileage Equilizer

nhl in wisconsin equalizer
One more reason to get a team into Wisconsin is how it impacts traveling on a team's budget. It may seem like a silly thing to use in a debate but you have to account for every kind of variable when considering this and travel adds up very quickly, with little stability. There are 41 away games in a NHL season, what could shaving a few hundred miles off the average trip save to a team's budget/energy? It may mean tens of thousands of dollars and dozens of hours, which could give you an extra a fan giveaway or two, an extra exmployee, better facilities.
AVG Distance to NHL City
Location Miles
Wisconsin 1050
Phoenix 1825
That's 41 times you'll be traveling that extra amount. Granted you will play a majority of those games within a closer radius for your division and conference, but you could also take into account that LA is about 350 miles from Phoenix, similar for us going to St. Louis, and that's their closest. I did a hypothetical center of the state since there is only speculation where it could be taking into account where it is favored along with major interstate access. But even if we altered it for Milwaukee, it would reduce our figure above of 1050 miles. At today's gas and jet prices, not to mention the all important time, being closer would allow a little more wiggle room in budgets.  It also ensures that the teams that play us travel fewer miles and therefore their budgets would decrease too. It has gotten to that point where it is a noticeable factor. There were stories about how Green Bay Packers loses money on road trips relatively speaking.