Top Ten Tuesday: Trouble In Hockey Town North? AND Do We Really Need To Take A Chance On Him?

It has been a very interesting past seven days. In no particular order here are my top thoughts from the week that was:

10 – Word out of Prince Albert is that the Northern community may only be able to support their WHL team for another five or six seasons unless the financial structure of the league changes. I am not privy to the Raiders financial statements nor do I profess to understand their market place. What I do know is that the Hockey Town North staff are terrific and do all that they can to enhance fan the fan experience and make game days fun days. That being said the biggest marketing strategy is simple, W-I-N! However, that too is hampered by the league’s financial structure. Scouting, player development, training it all takes money and in smaller markets finding that extra money is definitely a challenge.

9 – If there was an award to knowing their market that would have to go to the Calgary Hitmen. The team has been good both on and off the ice since their inception in 1994. Through their Teddy Bear Toss and their targeted marketing at families the team continually demonstrates how to engage their city. Case in point, understanding that their game seven against Kootenay was not only up against NHL action with big play-off implications (especially for the Flames),opening day in Major League baseball and was going to be broadcast along the Shaw network the Hitmen lowered their play-off ticket price to $12 taxes and fees in! The result 7,191 butts in the seats at the Scotiabank Saddledome on a Monday night for the deciding game in their season.

8 – One more from the WHL and the league released their regular season attendance figures. Good on Prince George for the biggest year over year increase in the league. The scary number in my mind, however, is Moose Jaw sporting the biggest decrease of 8.3%. The Warriors finished four points out of the final play-off spot in the East, 3-games-under-500. The scary thing is with the shine of the new building starting to wear off will attendance back to the levels of the old Crushed Can?

7 – To the CFL and while there will be new talent on the field in Florida at this week’s Saskatchewan Roughrider mini-camp, most eyes will be on Darian Durant. The Rider pivot will be back on the field throwing balls and testing out his injured elbow. Rider Nation are excused if they choose to hold their breathe until after the first session this weekend.

6 – In the Nation’s Capital Henry Burris is making headlines. Not because his starting spot with the Renegades is in jeopardy but because he is having difficulty in becoming a Canadian citizen! I get that immigration laws exist and that he needs to follow the red tape. That being said it would be nice if the Canadian Football League would recognize him as Canadian! Imagine what would happen if the CFL adopted a Naturalized National Player philosophy. Whereby if an International (Import) player plays for a team for say five consecutive seasons they would be granted National (Non-Import) status. May be an interesting thought to ponder.

5 – On a different field the Toronto Blue Jays opened their season with a convincing 6-1 win over the Yankees yesterday. Troubling stat is that the Jays only had six hits, however, the start of Drew Hutchison was very impressive! So yes they are on a pace to go 162-and-oh. Go Jays? Sorry I still don’t think that the Jays have what it takes to qualify for the post season as their roster stands now. You can have your say with the poll on the right.

4 – One more on yesterday’s game at the Bronx. I am startled that observers are surprised that the Yankee faithful game Alex Rodriguez a huge ovation upon his return from his season long suspension. What did they think that the fans were going to do?

3 – Last one on baseball, and what kind of snow job are fans of the Montreal Expos trying to pull? The Bring Back baseball campaign was front and center this weekend with the Blue Jays second in as many years pre-season stop at Olympic Stadium. With more than 90,000 on hand for the two games it was a very impressive sight. However, three things are holding back MLB from returning to Quebec; A facility, an owner and A TEAM… Mark my words MLB will never return to Montreal.

2 – Speaking of no return there will be no return to the Masters for Weyburn’s Graham DeLaet this week. An inconsistent start to the season on tour for the Canadian will see him on the outside looking in but a break and opportunity to refocus may not be the worst thing to happen for the young golfer.

1 – Lastly, I have been blasted on air and through e-mail since stating that Thomas Ulsrud made a mockery of the final by rolling his final shot down the ice prior to conceding the World Championship to Sweden. See it here. In my mind instead of just shaking hands Ulsrud put the spotlight on himself instead of allowing cameras and TV to capture the Sweds celebration. Speaking of that celebration was there really the need to play ABBA’s “Take A Chance On Me,” during the closing ceremony. I get that they are Swedish but isn’t the relevance similar to if Canada had won playing Anne Murray? Feel free to fire away… err I mean comment away.