Friday, April 28, 2006

Another UHL team bites the dust

My first post on this blog generated this response,

"KC won't get an NHL team, live with it! What I thought was pathetic was that last year I came from St. Louis to see our River Otters play your Outlaws and the fans there, with their turned up noses at the UHL made me sick. You ingrate people haven't had pro hockey in 3 years to that point and just because it wasn't triple A level it got snubbed, sad to say the least."

So, now that the River Otters are folding does that mean that St. Louis' hockey fans have "turned up noses" and are "ingrates".

Shanahan pulls plug on the River Otters

No. What that means is that the UHL is a product that just isn't right for markets like Kansas City and St. Louis. It's a fine product for places like Fort Wayne or Rockford or Quad Cities.

Ultimately, St. Louis may be the wrong size city to support a minor league team such as the River Otters. A bigger city, such as Chicago, can accommodate a team because of the many millions of people there. And smaller cities, such as Fort Wayne, Ind., can support a UHL team because there is no big-league alternative.

Places like Kansas City and St. Louis have too many other entertainment options to plunk down good money to watch bad hockey. Smaller communities respond better to minor league sports. The River Otters averaged less than 2,500 fans this season. I guarantee that number would be more than double if the team in St. Charles was an AHL team (an ECHL team, affilated with Peoria and the Blues would draw 4,000+).

Look, it's NEVER the FANS fault when a professional sports team folds. It is the OWNERS' fault. Just as it isn't the casual diners' fault when a restaurant fails or consumers' fault when a clothing store folds or travelers' fault when Vanguard Airlines folded.

This market simply wasn't right for the UHL, especially a team that was rushed to market and poorly operated. I told people that worked at Kemper Arena the UHL wasn't the right product before the team was ever announced and that they should hold out for the AHL.

Now, hopefully, we can get an AHL team in the Sprint Center and see some terrific young players come through town.

Speaking of the UHL, how about the FBI targeting Danbury Trashers owner James Galante in a FBI racketeering investigation. Galante owns numerous trash companies in Connecticut.

Minor league hockey official, players, subpoenaed in trash probe

"With more than 60 companies named in FBI documents, the trash probe is shaping up as one of the largest ever to target organized crime in the industry."


At 5:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The River Otters played SEVEN seasons here, how can you say this isn't a good market for AA hockey, you goof?


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