Here is a article written by Matt Caputo of the New York Times. Look for it in the paper Sunday, February 27, 2011.
Here is a article written by Matt Caputo of the New York Times. Look for it in the paper Sunday, February 27, 2011.
good article jon. i miss those old neumann - hofstra games
Thanks, I think it turned out well. I miss those battles too. It was also great hockey
Really honest article. Didn't really sugar coat anything, either, which is good. I agree with Itan, nobody really knows exactly how to run a league here, and how to make it successful. We all have a lot of ideas on what could be done to make it better, but the fact of the matter is that money is always going to be the deciding factor in why something does or doesn't succeed.
To me, it boils down to three things:
On rink appearance
I'll be very honest here, and I'm going to explain this in an example where we're not wearing the rose glasses.
I play the game and love the sport, there is no way in hell you're going to get me to pay 5 bucks to sit on cold metal bleachers to watch people play hockey.
Minor league baseball has a very unique way of making itself work. The Long Island Ducks, a pretty low level baseball team that is made up completely of guys you've never heard of and complete retreads (John Rocker, anyone?) and that is completely unaffiliated with a MLB team is incredibly successful. This is in an area that boasts two of the highest attendance teams in the majors. Why would that be the case?
The facility itself is pretty nice. Ditto for the Brooklyn Cyclones, a single-A short season team located right on Coney Island. Nice, fun places to watch a game. This year in the AIHL, I've played in what are mostly abandoned warehouses, one directly next to a cemetery. Seating has been metal bleachers, folding chairs, and a bunch of 2x4s nailed together. Concessions are available... sometimes. Alcohol is available almost never. Heat is available from time to time as well. Locker rooms are generally shared with the ball hockey team that is coming on next.
Game presentation is sometimes good. Other times they don't know who the starting lineup is, which team is playing, what players names are. The officials are there... usually. Sometimes even on time. The music is pretty good, at least when they remember to play the censored versions of songs. It's a little tough for the crowd to get into it, I guess, when there's not really anyone there to get it going.
And on rink appearance is big. For the most part, teams are good. But the occasional mismatched jerseys, mismatched pants, mismatched helmets, that kind of stuff. That just makes it look amateur (which yes, I understand that it is, but that's not the point). After that, the pushing, shoving, all that stuff that not only doesn't prove anything except for the fact that your PK is going to be on for half of the game and makes these games go on FOREVER really needs to stop. Believe me, nobody wants to watch it, you're not really that tough (especially the guys that wear cages- I understand that you don't want to lose teeth, but then don't go back and tell someone how you're going to physically harm them from behind all that protection).
Take a look at this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55wymbuLsb0 especially at the 2:20 and 4:55 marks. Then come back to this.
Good. I had that sent to me today by a guy that I knew back in college who's playing second level pro basketball. In Israel. That's 5,000 people going nuts for it. That COULD be what "pro" roller hockey could be. While the places that they're playing aren't Madison Square Garden, they aren't a junior high gym either. They found the happy medium that makes it successful.
I'm not saying that the days of RHI can or should happen again. I don't think we could get 10,000 people on a regular basis. But at this point I'd be happy with 100 regular, loud, fun people at the game, instead of just our parents and girlfriends. And I don't think we need the Nassau Coliseum or The Pond in Anaheim or anything like that, but something like Tour Arena, or some smaller college hockey rinks (think Harvard's Bright Center, or BU's Walter Brown Arena, or the Gutterson Fieldhouse in Vermont) would work, and get people out there. Get a few hundred die-hards, sell some beers, let people tailgate beforehand, and all of a sudden you have your own version of Major League Lacrosse.
The failure of the first round of women's pro soccer came from them expecting everything and not having the base to build it off of. First class flights, singles in hotels, and all the top luxuries were given before they had a fan base. They went too big and crashed down to almost nothing. That's not what this can be, but the small steps to legitimacy can be taken to get there, if the people do it right.
Great Post GoRangrHky
No joke there needs to be a single governing body for ALL players and a single governing body for ALL teams.
Otherwise this sport will never grow.
the top players all get free rides and free stuff so what incentive do they have to stay with a team when a better offer comes along?
you need a way to keep players, teams, and rinks to hold commitments. You cannot have players playing in all three 'pro' leagues and NCHRA at the same time showing up to whatever event catches their fancy that particular day. You need to have all leagues and tourneys have the same rules and costs and make the system like european soccer.
Right now everyone is a big fish in a small pond and thinks that they exist outside the bounds of everyone else in this sport. you cant get owners or players to agree on a format so there are 3 leagues which spread the talent out and require low level players to fill the rosters so no one benefits.
Guys in this for the love of the sport can only take it so long and eventually give in to the guys who are only in it for the money and after over ten years in the sport, you will learn pretty quickly there aint alot of money in it.
1. Since 1987, I have had the good fortune to work with (almost) everybody in this show, Gary DV., Jeremy K. Keith N...and on down, from USACRS, AHAUS, NIHA, NNHA, USAHI, blah, blah, blah...
I have participated as both a coach and a player in a couple of dozen national events. Please allow me to posit that only ONE of these organizations has done it the right way, for the right reasons, all along...the others, while fine groups of people, were neither original, nor concerned with the development of the sport as a whole. They only made decisions with consideration to their bottom line. They cheapened the national experience(made it less in value), overall provided a lesser quality service, and actually have harmed the sport for the past fifteen years. They are not only still in business, they are the organization that everyone (it seems) has decided to support.
2. If you look at the past 165 years, at the growth of any national, professional sports organization, in any sport, it was not a national governing organization that was key to the development of the pro component of the sport as general public entertainment. Regional league/organizations started play, less expensively, with a good eye toward consumer quality. A national assoc grew after the regional efforts were well established. The PIHA and then AIHA have tried to mimic this developmental cuve, without really having the regional-only time period of development. MLRH has only been a national-effort, with varied up-down successes and failures.
I'm on record at least seven years ago on this very forum listing this regional-into-national, step-by-step process that must be undergone in order to make this work.
I've also not heard anything on this forum about how the NHL systematically quashed the ability of RHI to do business, exactly the same way that the XFL, and other supposed football wanna-be's have been quashed by the NFL.
Last edited by DannyG; 03-04-2011 at 05:44 PM. Reason: spell check
Obviously the jumbo tron thing is a dream, but making a game experience interactive and fun for the people in attendance can be accomplished.
What we need:
- Owners/investors with deep pockets. (The MLS has this)
- Games to be fun for the people in attendance. (Even if it's just your mom and GF)
- A storyline of some sorts.
I think the NHL and RHI are much more linked than people realize. The RHI was initially successful because of a hockey revival in general. Gretzky coming to LA, the Kings 92-93 Cup run, the Mighty Ducks movies & expansion team (1993), and amazing 93-94 NHL season in which the Rangers won the cup.
The RHI declined as interest in the NHL declined after the 93-94 NHL season; the lock-out, the NJ Devils boring trap hockey, and all out clutch and grab era.
1988 - Gretzky traded to LA. Hockey gains much more notoriety in SoCal.
1992 - Mighty Ducks movie a smash hit for Kids.
92/93 - Gretzky and the Kings go to the Stanley Cup Finals. Creating even more hockey buzz in Socal.
1993 - Mighty Ducks of Anaheim expansion team founded.
1993 - Inaugural RHI season.
93/94 - Arguably the most successful NHL season in history. Generated all kinds of interest in the sport all over the country.
1994 - Most successful RHI season. League expands to 24 teams, overall attendance surpasses 1 million.
94/95 - NHL goes into lock-out preventing the league from capitalizing on the momentum created by the previous season. The game degrades in into the NJ style neutral zone trap, the clutch and grab era begins. Public interest in the NHL begins to decline.
1995 - The RHI contracts to 19 teams, and it's decline coincides with the NHL.
1996 to 1999 - The RHI loses attendance with each passing season, and eventually disbands.
The NHL was big enough to survive a lull in hockey interest, the RHI wasn't.
So the demise of roller hockey is linked to the Devils. I like that theory!
And yes, I agree with what was said above about it being interactive and fun and all that. And you say no to the Jumbotron, but I disagree. Many small rinks and arenas have them, and while they are pretty expensive to operate, are ultimately worth it.
The other reason that minor league baseball is successful is that, like you said, can go there and not pay one bit of attention to the baseball and still have fun. There's something going on between every single inning the entire game. We need to be honest here- people aren't coming out to watch true quality hockey when we play. There's a lot of very good players, but the supposed "best" in a guy like Itan can barely cut it in the ECHL. And that's not a knock on him by any means- I've seen him play and think he's a fantastic player. But as far as the quality of hockey goes, it's a pretty sharp decline from there. The "best" are not playing AIHL or PIHA or anything with wheels, at least not now.
So what do you have to do instead? Sell the game as an event. I worked in Major League Lacrosse. We would have a 7pm home game, and by noon the lots would be half full. People grilling away, drinking beers, hanging out, stereos blasting, kids running all over the place with sticks and balls. ** Even better, here's a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxiBLTeHU4w **
Don't tell me that people are going there to see superstar players. Yes, there's a few "names" from the lacrosse world. But these kids were just as happy to have some guy whose name they couldn't pronounce come over and sign their tshirt as they were to have Casey Powell or Paul Rabil come over.
We left practice the other day and saw a line of people there an hour and a half early for roller derby, but they were hanging out in lawn chairs, beer cans all over the place, music loud, same thing. They manage to get 1,000+ to watch totally untalented, some relatively scary looking girls skate in a circle and knock each other over. This is ridiculous, but watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh9DKjRMNjQ Same thing, much smaller scale, just as successful. The one thing that I will absolutely, 100% give the roller derby girls credit for is that they ALL contribute to the success of it. They do the work, they promote the games, they get there early to put the tape lines on the floor or set up locker rooms or put up folding tables. I feel like all of a sudden, guys playing AIHL think that they've reached the NHL and are exempt from doing anything to help out (that being said, I've read plenty of articles about how NHL players help the equipment guys with bags when it's snowing or about MLB players pulling the tarp over the field).
Just a note about Itan. He has puck skills that surpass many NHLers. There's alot of bias that goes on in ECHL/AHL as far who gets quality ice time and who doesn't. It's not exactly fair.
Do you think Sean Avery or Brian Boyle could do this: http://vimeo.com/7392994
or this: http://vimeo.com/4795635
maybe this? http://vimeo.com/7410090 or http://vimeo.com/4898143
Obviously, there's more than pucks skills involved in being a pro ice hockey player, and I'm not saying he is or isn't good enough to be pro, but I doubt he got a fair shot in the ECHL. If he wasn't 5'8 he'd probably be given a lot more of a chance.
Right. I've seen Brian Boyle do this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8FBL5Kbibo and this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr9_uJiziZc&feature=fvst and Sean Avery do this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp-pLY1W-Gs
And you're right, it's because he's short that NHL teams won't give him a chance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swv4TIUKFn0
And the point that you're totally missing is that "the best" players are STILL not getting a shot at the NHL. I didn't say he wasn't skilled, I said that there's not much of a way for him to present himself because the leagues that he ends up playing in in roller are so far off the radar that nobody, including scouts, respects them. And that is what needs to be fixed. I don't need to see youtube clips to know that he can do stuff with a puck (and I stopped being impressed with moves like that when I realized that a 10 year old can do it [I filmed this myself] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNpVUoHGXPU )
I didn't miss your point, I agree with your point. I just wasn't responding to it. I was making a side note about Itan. I think it's unlikely that he got a fair shot in the ECHL (not saying he was entitled to one), and I think it possible that he could "hang" there. But I don't know, it's just speculation on my part.
Originally you stated:I agree, and the only way to attract better talent is with more $$$."We need to be honest here- people aren't coming out to watch true quality hockey when we play."
Also, I was kind of being sarcastic about Boyle and Avery. I was just picking on them because they're both former Kings. (I'm a Kings fan)
I agree that everything boils down to money, but I still think it's about more than just paying the players. Money has to be invested in the right areas- management, presentation, facilities- to make these guys feel like they're playing for something more than just a few bucks. There's always those that'll chase after the money no matter what, but I'd like to think that there's more who would rather play for a good organization than a few extra dollars
To be honest I think for roller hockey to start off you have to bring it back to its roots. I say you start a brand new league in the summer and you play the game outdoors. I know people are thinking why the summer and outdoors? First, the reason to play in the summer is because thats the offseason for hockey the playoffs are over, the Worlds are over and the only other sport going on is baseball. I say outdoors because it brings a nice appeal to the game the weather is most likely nice depending on the area and people would rather be outside on a nice summer day than inside a cold dark boring arena. Also, outdoor rinks are easier to find like in cities, so for example your walking the street of NYC and you see roller hockey going on with people in the crowds cheering and your hearing music playing the backround thats going to draw your attention from the street and maybe encourage you to ask someone when the next game is. Also, you would get the better players in the summer because all of the other 3 leagues are over as well as high school and college.
I think a summer outdoor league would really help this league tell me what you guys think.