Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Just past the mid way point, some trouble spots at the turnstiles

With the NHL just nicely past the half way mark of the 2016-17 season, the attendance numbers are highlighting a few areas of the NHL empire where the customers aren't exactly flocking to the rink.

The Carolina Hurricanes currently hold the status of team looking for a few good fans, with sixteen games so far this attracting less than 13,000 fans to the PNC Arena

Part of that could be related to the recently completed college football season which is a religious experience for those in the Carolina's, with the NFL's Panthers also making a fair bit of noise this year heading into their NFC division final this weekend.

Getting attention for hockey is probably a challenge at the best of times, but with row after row of empty seats on TV on a regular basis, one has to wonder if there is a long term future for the Canes.

Not surprisingly the Arizona Coyotes continue to be a featured attraction on box score counts each week, with fifteen games now in the books with attendance under our 13,000 mark, the trek out to the Gila River Arena in Glendale still it seems isn't not quite cutting it with residents of the Greater Phoenix area.

Despite a hot streak through early January, the Florida Panthers also have had some troubles attracting fans to the BB and T Arena in Sunrise, though the success in the standings did seem to have some impact on South Floridians night time planning, with all of the attendance listings below 13,000 over eleven games found in the months of October, November and December.

Honourable mention for troublesome trends could be awarded to the New York Islanders,  who appeared to have a fair bit of trouble capitalizing on all the buzz of the move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

Up until early December, the Islanders had recorded ten games were the crowd count was less than 13,000.  Though there does appear to be a bit of a reversal in that apathy of late in Brooklyn, with the team starting to record larger and larger crowds into January.

Overall to this point there were 64 games that featured crowds with less than 13,000 fans in attendance.

The low point on the season found in Carolina, where only 9,021 attended the December 6th match up with the Arizona Coyotes.

What the NHL might make of the trouble spots isn't known,  with the league rarely discussing issues related to its low attendance markets.

But considering the current nature of the North American economy, there may not be much in the way of a solution in the short term.  With the Canadian dollar currently sinking on the money markets, the prospect of a relocation to a Canadian city would have to require some serious money counting, not to mention a wee bit of crossing of fingers and offerings to the hockey Gods.

There also don't appear to be many US markets currently jumping up and down to signal their interest in acquiring an NHL franchise, though efforts continue to make Las Vegas part of the NHL family in the future.

For cities such as Quebec with its NHL ready rink and hopeful fans for a second team in Toronto or one for Hamilton, the larger issues of the economic situation might be more of a challenge than enticing a team north.

There would appear to be candidates considering the low turnstile returns, however timing as it always is makes for the key ingredient for any potential franchise shifts and right now, holding in place might be the only option that current owners have.

You can review the attendance figures through the season from our Attendance Watch Archive page here.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Hockey Headlines for January 2016

Our Archive for the month of January

January 31 -- All-Star MVP John Scott saved hockey, for a day
January 30 -- Red Wings' sets record in NHL skills competition
January 29 -- Can three-on-three save the all star game?
January 28 -- Wideman pleads his innocence after ugly collision with linesman
January 27 -- Which way will Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin turn if the season continues to go off the rails?
January 26 -- Shawn Horcoff banned 20 games for using performance-enhancing substance
January 25 -- The thrill is going from three-on-three overtime
January 24 -- Bolts' Yzerman working to offload Drouin
January 23 -- Keon 'dumbfounded' by affection fans have for him
January 22 -- Canucks’ Daniel Sedin skins Bruins with milestone markers in Boston
January 21 -- Carey Price out longer than expected; Therrien's job safe for rest of season
January 20 -- Lightning suspends Drouin without pay for not showing up for AHL game
January 19 -- Blackhawks set franchise record with 12th straight victory
January 18 -- With Nugent-Hopkins out, should Oilers bring back McDavid now?
January 17 -- Toews, Blackhawks beat Canadiens 5-4 for 11th straight win
January 16 -- NHL general managers have to decide by February 29 to buy, sell or hold
January 15 -- Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan returns to his old haunt still trying to get his new team on track
January 14 --  Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quennville perfect man for the job
January 13 -- Sedin's ready to move on after near brawl with Panthers
January 12 -- Playoff race a crowded chase as NHL passes midpoint of 2015-16 season
January 11 -- Calgarians and the mayor must 'embrace' Flames' arena project, says NHL Commissioner
January 10 -- Alex Ovechkin nets his 500th goal as the Capitals rout Ottawa 7-1
January 9 -- Toronto Maple Leafs shut out by San Jose in lopsided loss in final game of California swing
January 8 -- Alex Ovechkin scoring at historic pace as he approaches 500 goals
January 7 -- Red-hot Panthers top Senators 3-2 for 11th straight win
January 6 -- Predators acquire Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones
January 5 -- Finland wins world junior championship with 4-3 overtime win over Russia
January 4 -- Lightning coach, players surprised by Jonathan Drouin's trade request
January 3 -- Florida Panthers' win streak reaches nine with win against Minnesota Wild
January 2 -- Canada's loss to Finland isn't the end of the world
January 1 -- Return of feisty Gallagher sparks Canadiens' offence

Friday, January 01, 2016

World Juniors, January 2, 2016 -- Canada vs Finland

From defending Champions to Tournament underdogs, that is the latest twist in the travels of Team Canada at the World Junior Championships for 2015-16.

Authors of some of their own misfortune, the now much documented struggles for the Canadians have become the undercurrent for the fans back home, first with a loss to the USA on opening night, followed by a surprisingly challenging match up with the Swiss followed by a thumping at the hands of the Swedes. Each game highlighting some part of the Team Canada puzzle that still requires a bit of attention.

The problem is, the time for adjustments is up, the preliminary round delivering the Canadians to the high flying Finnish squad, who will be looking to ring in the New Year with a solid message for the fans and opponents alike, one of the Champs are ready to be taken down this year.

Canada of course will be seeking to change that narrative on Saturday, with no need for the reminder that the second part of this World Junior Tourney offers no further follow up opportunities, win and your moving on, lose and you're on your way out.

The disappointments and missed opportunities to be catalogued to the end of the tournament and maybe even a bit beyond.

For the Canadians the second season of tourney time offers the chance of redemption from their early struggles, the key to allow the muscle memory of what brought them to Helsinki to take over from the mind, which could revisit those early match ups in an unhelpful way.

The Finns have been talking a little smack in the lead up, noting that they aren't all that intimidated by the Canadians, pointing to those early struggles as an indication that the Champs are ready for the taking.

That could be the best thing that the Canadians could hear as they head to puck drop on Saturday, there won't be any need for a slogan on a black board, the sense of the moment all the motivation that Canada might need.

The pressure shifts in this one towards the host Finns, their braggadocio such as it has been, something that now has to be backed up on the ice.  On paper and through round one they look good for their boasts, yet, elimination games offer up something that requires a little bit more than just confidence.

For sixty minutes you have to deliver, winner moves on, loser moves over

Finland 6 vs Canada 5 summary
Finland advances to Semi Finals

Post Game Notes:

January 3 -- Hockey Canada vows to right what went wrong at world juniors
January 3 -- Hockey Canada prez throws Team Canada under bus
January 3 -- Hockey Canada head Tom Renney defends world junior coaching staff
January 3 -- Canada's well-earned hockey smugness affords juniors a quiet exit
January 3 -- Team Canada 'had to pay the price": Wilson
January 3 -- Team USA coach Ron Wilson says Canada took too many penalties
January 2 -- Canada's run for World Junior glory ends as Finland wins 6-5
January 2 -- Canada-Finland: Five moments that mattered in quarter final loss
January 2 -- Canada's loss to Finland ins't the edge of the world
January 2 -- Canadian players feeling 'terrible', frustrated following early world junior exit
January 2 -- Canada outclassed by Finland in WJC quarter-final

Preview Notes:

January 1 -- Team Canada 'excited' ahead of elimination game at world juniors
January 1 -- Finland's talented prospects pose a problem for Canada at World Juniors
January 1 -- 8 things we've learned from the world junior so far
January 1 -- Areas of concern for 'underdog' Team Canada
January 1 -- Underdog Canada facing 'adversity' against host Finland at world juniors
January 1 -- Finland's mighty youngsters could create headaches for Canada
December 31 -- Canada's world junior loss to Sweden a forgettable finish to 2015
December 31 -- Canada looking ahead after being blown out by Swedes
December 31 -- Canada struggles to find its game in loss to Sweden at 2016 world juniors
December 31 -- Canada faces Finland in world junior quarter-finals under a raft of unanswered questions