Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why not here?

New league plans for a team in Indy (Indianapolis Star)

The Indianapolis Trax would play in the startup four-team Midwest Hockey League, set to begin play in November. Other franchises are to be located in Evansville, Ind., Columbus, Ind., and Louisville, Ky., league president Wade Stuckey said Tuesday.
OK, Indianapolis & Louisville I can see. But Evansville & Columbus? Why not Lafayette? That would be so cool. Population wise, I'm not sure Columbus could support it for sure. Evansville, maybe. Also, geographically, Indianapolis, Columbus & Louisville are all on I-65, but getting to Evansville from Indy or Columbus becomes a pain in the derriere.

Although Indianapolis is already home to the Indiana Ice of the United States
Hockey League, Stuckey said he isn't worried about saturating the market.

"We're not looking to put anybody out of business," Stuckey said. "This league will offer something different. What the Ice have done is give people in Indianapolis knowledge of our sport. We see it as a very viable market."
The Indiana Ice had the 2nd largest average in attendance in the USHL last year. However, it is also the only hockey team in town. This won't help the Indiana Ice, especially if the games are at the same time. This IS Indiana, not Canada. And the USHL doesn't have the same prestige at the Q, OHL, WHL, so getting people to pay attention and giving them respect is hard to do (even though an Ice player did get drafted in the first round this year, defenseman John Carlson by Washington).

The league will include players 18 and up. Unlike the USHL, which is an amateur league, players in the Midwest Hockey League will be paid. Stuckey said players will make roughly $150 to $300 a game. Each team is scheduled to play 40 games and will be permitted to have a maximum of four players with more than 180 games of professional experience.
Even though I would have called it this before, I think the USHL won me over. I hate the term amateur league. It's a junior or developmental league.

"We'll be able to keep our costs down because of the geography of the teams," Rossetti said. "With a smaller facility and reasonable prices, this league can appeal to families looking for affordable entertainment."
Well, I will have to give that a plus, especially for Evansville & Columbus. In Indianapolis, tickets for the Ice games cost 11 & 16 dollars, which I think is pretty cheap for a decent hockey game.

I'm not sure yet what to think of this. I love hockey to grow in Indiana, however, not at the expense of the Indiana Ice. I think what they and the USHL are doing is extremely valuable to hockey (in developing American players, though not exclusively American) and valuable to the community (they do a lot of charitable work in Indianapolis). I would probably like it more if Lafayette would have a team, so I can go without paying too much for gas, but really, we don't have a facility except for a really small outdoor skating rink in a park (The Purdue Hockey Club has to travel to Danville, Illinois - an 1.5 drive - for practice and games).

Midwest Hockey League

Also mentioned in: IceMen are 'flagship franchise' (Evansville Courier & Press)

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