A few thoughts on tournament attendance

I intentionally skipped over the attendance issue in my blog yesterday because at this point it’s kind of like beating a dead horse. That being said, WCCO’s David McCoy had an interesting piece (which features USCHO’s Todd Milewski) that aired on Rosen’s Sports Sunday last night that I wanted to share.

The whole video is very good, seriously, watch it if you skipped over, but the fact that the combined attendance of the Big Ten, WCHA and NCHC was 20,000 less than the “old” WCHA averaged for the final five years of its postseason tournament is simply astounding. I texted that to one of my buddies and his response was simply, “holy crap.”

Todd is going to post an infographic with attendance number later this week so I won’t get into those. If you watched any of the Big Ten Tournament or follow anyone that covers college hockey on Twitter, it’s painfully easy to see that attendance in Detroit was terrible last weekend.

I don’t know if there’s a quick fix to this problem. If you can think of one, contact the Big Ten and demand employment.

Speaking as a Minnesotan, if the WCHA had stayed together 2014-15 may have very well been the most spectacular college hockey season in the history of the sport. That being said, if you’re the type of person that constantly says “bring back the old WCHA” or “just go back to the way it used to be,” you’re wasting your breath — the Big Ten isn’t going anywhere.

The Big Ten Tournament is guaranteed to be at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul next year and then at Joe Louis Arena the year after. Detroit’s new arena will be nearing completion in 2017, but I am led to believe that it won’t be ready until the 2017-18 NHL season, meaning the B1G Tournament will be at The Joe. Correct me if I’m wrong there, Michigan residents.

2017, whether it’s hosted in the old arena or the new one, will be big for Detroit in terms of hosting again. Another lackluster attendance number could mean that the tournament would rotate between St. Paul and possibly Chicago or simply be in St. Paul each year. I’m not saying that the attendance for last year’s tournament in St. Paul was amazing, it was actually very disappointing, but this year’s attendance was embarrassing.

I think the one thing we have to do is forget about the old WCHA Final Five and CCHA tournament, because I don’t know if the Big Ten Tournament is ever going to hold a candle to either.

However, the Big Ten doesn’t have to be like that to be considered a success. The WCHA only averaged about 8,000 fans this year but I was really impressed with it because there was actually some atmosphere in the building. On Saturday there was a Minnesota Wild game before hand followed by a fan fest and then the championship game. Only selling the lower bowl and having the pep bands with the crowd — as opposed to the nosebleeds — helped, too, even though Michigan Tech’s band had me hearing cowbells in my sleep.

Maybe if the Big Ten incorporated some of those elements it would bring some success, because, as of now, the tournament itself isn’t enough of a spectacle to get people to show up.

67 COMMENTS

  1. I think they should all just hold their conference tournaments at the great ECHL arena in Alaska, or scattered throughout Canada. I think that’s a GREAT idea. How about you?

    -Poindexter out!!

    • No. That would take almost every team’s fan base totally out of the equation. We’re talking students here. Do you have any idea what it costs to go to school today? How are they going to afford a couple of grand to travel, as well as miss class? Besides, Canada has it’s junior program and basically could care less about American college hockey.

  2. The WCHA final five is missed! How about the rumor of joining some of these finals at the X? NCHC and WCHA or Little6 with one of them, or all 3? Lots of hockey, worth a try…..?

    • I actually think this the best suggestion yet to get attendance back up. It is absolutely a selfish and MN-centered play. Although it wouldn’t have to be just Excel or Mariucci, even the Ralph…which by the way the rest of the country NEEDS to see the Ralph at some point in their lifetime…but consider this approach at some venue in the Midwest. Selling the tickets as packages (for a reasonable price, for goodness sakes) to see NCHC, WCHA, and B1G playoff games all in one weekend?? If you did this at Excel, as an example, I think you’d see the old-WCHA fan base turn out for that, as there are still strong affiliations with those teams around here. I’ll be honest, I passed up going to Excel and Target Center bc I wanted to watch the Gophers play, even if on tv. So consider this an attendance “transition plan” to the abrupt conference fractures that have left the conf tourneys a combined 20,000 less attendees. The MN state high school tourney draws insane numbers around here bc so many people will come out to watch good hockey even after their team is not playing….no, better, even when they have no dog in the hunt to begin. It’s a weekend experience and atmosphere that people show up for.

      Even if a Colorado venue was picked, or Omaha, who always gets shafted having to travel up to Minneapolis (sorry Alaska you’re just SOL IMO)… you could pick this location for a mega-tourney far in advance so people could book flights and hotels when they are actually reasonable, not one week out. (I looked flights for the Manchester, NH regional last night; every option is just too much this late in the game.) I still think Minny is the best place to try this, to prove the numbers will come back out as they used to. But once tested and proven, trying in Chicago, Ann Arbor, Denver… Just put more good teams there in one weekend so you can watch “your” team and 7 other great teams, rather than 3 others.

      Oh and prices have got to be re-evaluated. If a business isn’t selling their product (seats), then the price/value equation is off. A mega-tourney increases the value of the product, and in this case (certainly not all business cases is this true) lowering your price to get more volume will pull thru more concession sales, merchandise sales, etc.

      I don’t know if the eastern teams would benefit from some combined approach for conf tourneys like this. And this may not answer the colossal NCAA-Regional debate; but it could be a pilot for such a super-regional?)

      Personally I think it’s worth a shot to put MORE good hockey, covering present and past conference foes, under one roof, for one weekend, for an improved price. If nothing else, show your customers you are serious about addressing this issue. Even the negative word of mouth press alone on this issue is toxic enough to not only deter new fans. (we’ve all heard the “we want to grow the sport” right?) Empty seats is a deterrent, not just disappointing. As an avid fan, I have tried to embrace the conference realignment because I know B1G is here to stay. But I am running out of bullets, and my own belief. Put these tourneys together. It can’t get much worse than it is. (Or can it?)

    • I was just discussing this idea with some friends and my daughter who goes to college and is a huge hockey fan. A mega tournament weekend in Mpls/St Paul with the NCHC, WCHA and B1G would be fantastic. With the light rail connecting downtown Mpls to downtown St Paul, both Target Center and the X could be utilized – even Marriucci as the light rail goes right through campus. Then on Saturday have a triple header championship day – I would definitely stay for all three games.

  3. College Hockey Needs to start understanding that attendance is going to continue to go down if they continue to keep the playoff format the same. Playing in large neutral site arenas is stupid and dumb. All other sports (NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB and even NCAA D-I WBBall) all give the highest seeds home sites for their post season. Not giving the fans of all the teams a chance to see a home playoff game is also stupid and kills season ticket sales as well as individual game attendance. It continues to be impossible to try to compete with TV time and attendance when playing games at the exact same weekend as THE most popular sport on TV (BBall). Hope someone steps up and speaks to this. Also might be good to move the College Hockey season so it ends the end of April/early may. The other issue is that college football, now with the playoff is going to really overwhelm college hockey in September/October/November. Just two cents from a 40 year hockey fan of all teams and conferences.

  4. Attendance at the Joe was just plain embarrassing. Almost as bad as last year, and at either venue it could not have paid the bills.
    Wish there were a way out of the contract now. Joe Louis isn’t a proper venue and XCel is too far a drive for anyone outside of Minnesota and Michigan.
    Would move 3rd and 4th years of the deal to United Center. Would consider leaving the event there and just trying to build new tradition in great hockey market. Outside of that allow schools to bid on co-hosting sites not already used. Nationwide in Columbus, Bradley Center in Milwaukee would be a good start.

  5. Attendance at the Joe was just plain embarrassing. Almost as bad as last year, and at either venue it could not have paid the bills.
    Wish there were a way out of the contract now. Joe Louis isn’t a proper venue and XCel is too far a drive for anyone outside of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
    Would move 3rd and 4th years of the deal to United Center. Would consider leaving the event there and just trying to build new tradition in great hockey market. Outside of that allow schools to bid on co-hosting sites not already used. Nationwide in Columbus, Bradley Center in Milwaukee would be a good start.

    • You put it at the United Center and it becomes a drive/fly situation for everyone, which means fans from every team would need to pay for tickets, gas, hotel, food, etc. for the weekend. With the issues already apparent in drawing hometown fans, I can’t see how moving the tourney to a neutral location would help. The number of casual fans who would show up in Chicago would not be enough to offset the loss of fans of the schools competing, in my opinion. At least at the X and Joe Louis, it lessens some of the financial burden on some fans. There’s no real viable solution at this point, but having it at the United Center certainly wouldn’t be at the top of my list of things to try.

      • If the Big Ten is going to succeed its going to have to do different things. Going back to XCel and begging Minnesota fans to “forgive us for ruining college hockey” isn’t going to cut it. The need to put the past in its place and move on has arrived.

        • They can do different things all they want, but moving it away from fan bases who already aren’t showing up? Seems counterintuitive to me. The only reasonable rationale I can see for moving it to Chicago is hoping enough people in a city that size will buy tickets to make it a success or hoping that Chicago as a city creates a wider appeal for fans to travel to compared to MSP and Detroit. Again, just my opinion, but I don’t see it working.

      • You’re just not thinking like the savvy Big Ten movers & shakers. I would expect them to explore moving the finals to MSG or the Staples Center. “Students? Why cater to students? They’re all poor. Go after the wealthy alumni, and they’ll travel to wherever we lead them.”

  6. Frankly, I miss the first rounds at the campus sites. It was enthusiastic, exciting and great fun. And to be down 20,000 in attendence over the WCHA. Throw the CCHA in there as well, that is close to 35,40,000 down. Need a rethink on the tournament.

  7. Part of the issue is that there’s only 6 teams. I think the Big 10 is hoping that more join the club. But then again, the only way to do that is to receive a massive multi million dollar donation for a new arena. The United Center is probably more of a “centralized” location but Chicago is NOT college hockey country. In fact its barely hockey country at all. When the Blackhawks suck, they average 6000 fans per game. About the best anyone can hope for in the near future is probably going to be at Xcel or maybe the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

  8. If they’re going to do something stupid like invite Arizona State as a hockey only member, why don’t they invite Notre Dame, North Dakota, Colorado College, Denver, or UMD into the Big Ten?

    Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin chose a horrible time to sink into mediocrity (Michigan, MSU) or worse (Wisconsin) too. And adding brand new programs at Iowa or Nebraska who will suck for a decade won’t help.

    The WCHA tourney was great because Minnesota, MSU-Mankato, SCSU, UMD, NoDak and Wisconsin and even UNO were all driveable to the X. Denver and CC were (relatively) cheap flights away. That bell can’t be unrung.

        • Given the stupidity of having Friday hockey games start at 8PM central on BTN, Denver and CC could do that w/o disrupting normal start times. I doubt they’d switch anyways, but yes, they could throw some serious $$$$ at some schools to make them at least think about it.

          Notre Dame would make the most sense, but they aren’t much of a prize recently either. I used to keep track of returning players at UND, UMD or Denver/CC if they had a good previous year. Given the stinkology of the Big Ten the past 2 years I haven’t even cared.

          But I think if next year is a similar tire fire, they’ll need to do SOMETHING.

          The only good thing is the lack of teams in the league can allow some fairly aggressive non-conference scheduling.

      • Why would they accept ?
        Prestige of being related to a major multi-sport conference, exposure, tv, larger crowds at the away games, and money.
        But that is pretty unlikely to happen.

  9. The Joe is really bad for drawing a college crowd and a consistent crowd in general. The same empty seat issue (though on a smaller scale) is evident in nearly every Wings game as well. It doesn’t work well for a few reasons:

    (1) Even though the economy has rebounded quite well in Michigan, people still don’t have much spare money to spend and college hockey is pretty low on the pecking order.
    (2) No one knows much at all about Big Ten hockey. At least the CCHA was more recognizable as a conference. The “history” and “tradition” of the football programs doesn’t just magically carry over to their hockey teams.
    (3) The games were at pretty awful times. I think the second game on Friday was at 6:30pm. Even if you book it straight from work with no traffic, you’re scrambling to make it on time.
    (4) For all the college games I’ve been at The Joe this year (GLI and Duel in the D), the seating arrangement is stupid. Cheap seats are upper bowl General Admission, lower bowl is reserved seats, but more expensive. No good multi-ticket packs for groups/families wanting in the lower bowl. That exasperates the emptiness of the lower bowl seating.
    (5) Detroit, while vastly improving its image and has a pretty decent downtown for a weekend trip, isn’t a big draw for travelers.
    (Late add – 6) The Big Ten was pretty mediocre at best this year. Sure doesn’t help draw fans in a tough market. If the Big Ten had 3 top 10 teams like the WCHA, maybe it’d draw some more. Not many more, but something.

    When you consider all factors, it’s no wonder people didn’t go to the games.

    • The 4pm start time on a Thursday is poor if you expect a crowd.
      Why can’t the conference do the tournament over TWO weekends ? This would allow for the use of home arenas
      and the additional travel for lower seed teams that win the first game, and also allow for better start times where fans are more interested.
      Since December is a slow month for most teams, the conference could schedule a series for each team then, allowing for the Big10 tournament to start a week earlier

  10. It’s pretty simple if you ask me. The B1G SUCKED in hockey this year. And I mean they REALLY SUCKED BAD. Their best team barely qualified??

    It’s called BAD HOCKEY. No one is going to invest alot of their own money to make an effort to go and watch BAD HOCKEY!!!!!!

    Only team worthy of the NCAA tourney this year was Minnesota, and they screwed themselves over by playing some really sucky hockey going into conf play and early in conf play got whooped by Michigan. If the B1G didn’t royally suck this year, Minnesota may never have been allowed to bounce back. They are a far better team than their record indicates, and they may kick butt in the NCAA tourney, but they wouldn’t have even of come close to getting in had we still been in the WCHA. The old WCHA would have chewed us up and spit us out, and never given us any leeway to take a breath and recover. We got to play a bunch of complete creampuffs in Wisconsin and Ohio St, and beating them gave us the confidence to beat Michigan and PSU, but we didn’t breeze through the B1G, either. Wisconson, one of the worst teams in the NCAA, OSU and MSU all gave us problems. We have the potential to win the NCAA tourney this season, be we also have the potential to get whooped up on by UMD in the 1st round. Or by whoever we meet in the 2nd round, or by whoever is our opponent in the semis if we get that far.

    Simple fact is Gopher’s beat up on a bunch of crappy teams this season.

    Had we still been in the WCHA, we’d of finished near the bottom of the conference. Simple as that. Believing otherwise is just fooling yourselves.

    • I’m not sure that getting the auto-bid qualifies as barely getting in. They had a decent chance of getting in even if they lost to Michigan.

    • The old WCHA would’ve been different because B1G play basically doesn’t start until January where as WCHA play starts in October. MSU, MTU, and the other teams that were really good, might not be number 1 if they had to play MN, UMD, DU, ND, 4 times a each. MN was still playing really well in Oct, Nov, they kind of fell off after Christmas. They also could’ve been ranked high playing the better teams, the what if doesn’t work because there are so many intangibles here with different teams, different schedules, etc.

    • Man !
      You’re on a roll ! I was quite amused. Too bad your facts about “no one wanting to invest money” on tickets to see “bad hockey” aren’t facts.
      Let’s see: Minnesota averages about 10,000 fans a game (95% of capacity), right ? Michigan averages 5400 (100% capacity), Michigan State averages about 6000 a game (90%+ capacity), Penn State averages 6100 (105% capacity), Wisconsin averages about 10,000 and Ohio State averages nearly 5000. All of these are very good numbers that are much higher than the average and represent great support and “investment of $” from their fans.
      After a tougher than expected year, you’re ready to throw in the towel. Your team made the NCAA’s; they had a good year. The rest of the Big10 will be cheering them on.
      I thought the Gopher fans were more durable than that.
      Go Gophers !
      from a PSU fan

      • I am not throwing in the towel, just trying to give my opinion as to why I think the B1G conf tourney had such a low turnout. Thing is, those numbers you quote for home games at each of those venues, include season tickets, purchased before the season. Some were tickets bought to games that as the season progressed seemed like they would be very important games. It was a very tight race all the way until the last weekend. So those games are fun to go watch. And its not a huge investment of money to go watch a home game when you live nearby or its a regular ritual that you do every winter. But having to make the trip out to Michigan? What Wisconsin fan or Ohio St fan in their right mind would make that trip? Only the most dedicated hard core fan is going to go see if their 5th place team will rise up to surprise in the conf tourney, or Wisconsin was worse than just the 6th place team in the conf, they were one of the worst in the nation. So going to see a home game and see if they can upset the hated Gophers or something, sure a lot of Badger fans will go to that game, and a ton of those fans live in Madison or not that far from it. Conference play vs conference rivals is always good hockey. But in a single elimination conf tourney only 2 years old, where all losers but one(Minnesota), go home for good, and its being held in Michigan, one of the least desirable places to visit in the country, then the “quality” of the hockey aspect comes far more into play. Anytime you need to take a plane to go see a game, or spend an entire weekend to watch it, because of driving many many hours to get there and then back, well, that’s just so much different.
        As a PSU fan, your program is on the rise, and I’m excited that the PSU fan base is excited. I hope PSU gets good, really fast and helps the conf to improve as a whole. Because I know Minnesota will bounce back. Even if we lose a few Juniors along with all of the many seniors that will be graduating, we have guys who thought they were coming in this year maybe who had to play another year in Jr hockey because no one left early after last year. So we’ll be bringing in a lot of great young players who will hopefully play with more heart than our departing Seniors did in that first round game. They were doing fine, then got a goal scored on them and then just seemed to fall apart and give up.
        And next year the Conf tourney comes back to Minnesota, and maybe Minnesota will need to win the conf tourney to make it and PSU could easily be the Regular Season Champs next year, so I could see some PSU fans flying out to the games. Seeing games in Minnesota is far more entertaining and worth the trip than going to Michigan. So attendance will bounce back, especially if more than one team has a shot of getting into the tourney.

        • See ? I was right. Gopher fans ARE resilient, even after the poor NCAA showing this year. (I was cheering for ‘ya).
          The Big10 conference hockey schools are spread out over a huge geographical area, almost as bad as the WCHA.
          That’s why maybe the conference should look at using the schools home arenas as game sites. At least the locals would fill the joint, making for a great atmosphere. Besides, the higher seeds deserve a home game due to having a better regular season record.
          And one final note, this one about Penn State’s fans: we sold out every game (5800 seats) this year, and every game had lots of “standing room” folks. But, I don’t think that we travel very well, if it’s over a few hundred miles. I did not see ANY PSU shirts at Joe Louis Arena.
          Of course, there were hardly any folks there at all. Did PSU-OSU draw 1000 ?
          Ughhhh.
          Good luck to the Gophers and the rest of the Big10 in ’15-16.

  11. The B1G playoffs would be great if they were played at campus sites. The crowds would have been strong at most of the campus sites. Either have best of three series or single elimination or a combination of both. I think this idea was proposed but nixed by the University of Wisconsin who would rather have high school kids use their rink. Another alternative would be to have the six schools alternate hosting the tournament at a location of its choice. The other problem is the tournament directly conflicts with the NCAA first and second round games so the dates are part of the problem. It also would have been nice if the Gophers could have forked over the money to send their band rather than have a cheap recording play over the loudspeaker.

    • I’m going to guess that our band didn’t want to travel to Detroit over spring break but thanks for the consideration.

      • Add to it that parts of the band were also following the women’s basketball team in South Bend for the NCAA tournament and the women’s hockey team in the Frozen Four and it’s easy to see why they weren’t there. Too bad, because I bet having the Gophers band there would have magically made up for the 12-15,000 open seats each game…

  12. It speaks volumes given simply how terrible B1G hockey was this season, that only the tournament champion would get in. Maybe go a different approach to typical conference tourneys and go best of three quarters and semis, then have the single game championship, all on campus sites until the conference can get itself established and make a name on the national scene and hopefully its other full members will join the sport as the league gets more prestige. Hockey East had their challenge in their early days with hosting the tournament finals in Providence, then occasionally on campus sites, before ultimately settling on Boston, through the Garden and its successor to this day. B1G can learn from HE in their early days they can benefit on changes to make in the future.

    • The hard part about attendance this year was MN was the top team, and fans in Michigan don’t want to go and watch Minnesota walk over an Ohio State or see Ohio State and Penn State play each other.

      • The second part is unfortunately true. There must have been just 1000 or so for the OSU-PSU game.
        That looked horrible.
        Funny, because the Buckeyes average maybe 5000 at home and the Nittanies average 6200.
        So, here’s another vote for using home sites for 1st and second round games.

  13. I do think it was more of an anamoly than anything how down the four perennial powers were in the B1G this year. (No offense to OSU & PSU, just speaking of historical success of program here.) That fact hasn’t helped anything in analyzing the numbers

        • Brian, your right about Anastos. I wasn’t happy with Rick Comley being let go I wasn’t happy with how Anastos was hired. I sat for a couple of years behind the Miller family at Munn, listening to them go on about how far the program had fallen under Comley. And now that one of their own is a Coach, they have a far worse record then Rick did. Just deserts I guess.

  14. Moving the tournament to Chicago without an Illinois based B10 hockey program would not improve the tournament attendance over Detroit. The MSU-UM game at the Joe in January sold out. A week later, at the Hockey City classic, not many people. And having the tournament locked in St. Paul would just alienate everyone outside of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    I think it’s an issue that came up with the post CCHA world and the deregionalization of college hockey. Yeah, the CCHA and old WCHA are gone, but in those days the conferences and their tournaments rotated around the states of Michigan and Minnesota, so you could have 3 of 4 finalists from the home state play right down the road. Fans from NoDak, Wisconsin, BG or ND were also well within driving distance of the tourney sites as well. For the Joe, there’s only two teams within that distance (same I think for St. Paul).

    I don’t have a solution. The B10 should cultivate more of its members to get Hockey teams, but that takes time and money. It would bolster fans in the Midwest footprint, though. And jumping on teams like ASU just because is rather short sighted in my opinion.

    Oh. And having games at 4:00 on Thursdays might not be the most optimal time to have good attendance.

      • I understand due to the timing constraints of the tournaments. However, I still doubt that people in Ohio or Pennsylvania or, heck, Michigan are able to make that time on a weekday. I don’t know if they can move the games up or have a series the weekend before, but I don’t think the time is a helping factor for attendance.

  15. It really is all about proximity. Look at the the old WCHA and CCHA, but the WCHA in particular. Usually at least 4 of the final five were within 4-5 hours to drive and 3 were probably within a 2-3 hour drive from the Xcel Center or minor variations of that. College hockey doesn’t have legions of casual fans who will just stop by the arena if you stick it in Chicago or Milwaukee. Yes, Big Ten suckage didn’t help, but the general loss of decades old rivalries has alot to do with it too. The players didn’t grow up playing each other and the fan bases didn’t keep track of the recruiting. there’s just no “juice” in the new conferences (yet).

    I’d pay more to see Minnesota play NoDak or UMD in a conference tourney, but I still can’t get amped up about Michigan or Michigan State and I sure wouldn’t drive 10 hours or spend $300 on a plane ticket + hotel + game tickets to see us play Ohio State and Michigan when I have 50 inch HDTV.

    • Bill Morris, TV is killing College Hockey and Lacrosse attendance – your words, not mine. Perhaps it is growing the sports? Just a theory???

      • While tv CAN affect attendance somewhat, it can also help in-person attendance, too, as folks who might never go to a game can be exposed to it and get interested in buying tickets.
        TV helps grow the sport. ESPN and BTN do a very nice job.

  16. Minnesota should move to the Big 12 so we can move into the NCHC. The B1G is migrating East. They don’t want us and we would be in the same competitive position in the Big 12 as we are in the B1G.
    I don’t hate Wisconsin because we only beat them in hockey and I could still hate Iowa (State).
    It’s time for a change. I want to see us wrestle against Oklahoma, play basketball against Kansas, and try to run with Baylor’s offense and we could get back the buzz in our third revenue generating sport.

    • Where the heck did you get the impression that the Big10 does not want Minnesota ?
      Unfounded, unhappy, spouting nonsense

    • Yeah, I’m sure that Minnesota is just going to get up and leave the Big10 over ice hockey. The school makes WAY too much $ from the Big10 ($23million from BTN tv alone)
      Where do you get the idea that the Big10 does not want your school ? I have NEVER heard that from ANYONE.
      Minnesota is an integral part of the league and has good teams in many sports. We at PSU really LOVE the idea of playing you guys in hockey. It was a real blast to see the Gophers and the Nittany Lions play the 2 games in State College this year in-person. Tremendous to see your fans, listen to them cheer and talk with them in-person; good, knowledgeable folks and fun to sit with. Great hockey and great people.
      And, if you want to wrestle Oklahoma , I imagine that you’re tired of wrestling in the best conference in the country (PSU won 4 of the last 5 National Championships and Iowa is, well, Iowa), play Kansas in basketball (like Wisconsin and Michigan State aren’t any good) and Baylor in football (tired of playing and National Champ Ohio State ?). You can schedule the Big12 schools as non-conference games. As far as hockey goes, you can still have SIXTEEN non-conference games; you could schedule a bunch of NCHC games. What’s the problem ?
      No school will bolt the Big10 over ice hockey. It would amount to financial stupidity.

      • Calling it ‘Ice Hockey’ indicates a fundamental cultural difference between our states that is a huge part of the reason that I want us in the NCHC.

        • So, there is a “fundamental difference” between our states (PA and MN)? Because I called it “ice hockey” vs “hockey” ? Yeah, I guess I’m with the great unwashed that has to sit in awe of the Big10 powers and stay on the sidelines while the big boys play.
          Your state and mine are quite similar actually. We both hate losing, and we both like ice hockey (excuse me, make that “hockey”).
          Besides, here in PA, there IS another form of “hockey”, called “field hockey”, which is also a Big10 sport; I personally don’t care about it, but it’s there.
          The more the newcomers to hockey are frowned upon and discouraged, the less the sport will grow. And, when is one no longer considered to be “new” to the sport ? Pennsylvania has had two NHL teams since the 60’s, AHL since the early 40’s, and now has three NCAA division 1 teams. Plus ECHL, USHL, NAHL. High school hockey is exploding in the number of teams, ect. I know that our hockey culture/history does not match Minnesota, of course, but we play it, too, and we also buy lots of tickets (except to the Big10 tournament-lol).

  17. No one ever wants to go to Detroit, new stadium or not. The tournament should be played at the universities and only Ann Arbor, Madison, or the Twin Cities at this point. These are the only places that will draw crowds locally…maybe not even Madison come to think of it…OK, Ann Arbor and the Twin Cities. The other schools are not in hockey-knowledgeable areas where people just go to game because it’s hockey.

    • Mike, you are an idiot. You sound in now but where have you been all year? Did this problem just arise? No Madison, no East Lansing or no State College? OSU has the best facility but is the only justification of your argument. Do your homework before you sound in young man.

  18. It was cheaper to fly to Tampa than Detroit (from MSP) last weekend for the Big 10 Tournament. Don’t get me wrong, Detroit is the winter tourism capital of the world, but I chose Tampa for $100 less.

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