Saturday, November 01, 2008

How to Fix the Minnesota Hockey Showcase

The first ever Minnesota Hockey Showcase wasn't exactly a success. They only got about 10,500 paying spectators combined between the two games, for a pretty dull atmosphere. But all four coaches, and players from all four teams seemed pretty positive about the event and seemed to enjoy it. I think the general feeling was that even though this one may not have gone very well, there is potential for success in the future.

The future of the event hinges on two factors. First, will Minnesota support the event? Minnesota has least to gain from this, but their support and involvement is critical. For what it's worth, Don Lucia seemed much more positive about the future of this event than he did earlier this week. Second, and most important, is if they can fill the building. Though all coaches liked the event, they all said the final decision would be made by people above them that handle the finances.

So how do they go about filling the building? Here's a few suggestions and ideas I have.

1. Hold the event later in the season. This year's event came too early in the season. Don Lucia said it's not really hockey season for a lot of fans yet, which I think is true. There were a lot of important playoff football games today. The weather was nice. People are out hunting. There were a lot of things keeping people away, and with it being so early in the season, there wasn't a lot at stake in these games to draw people in. If this was later in the season and there were playoff and NCAA tournament positions on the line, I think it might have been a little different.

2. The idea Don Lucia mentioned a couple times, which I like, is making these games part of the season ticket package for all four schools. Minnesota gains a small advantage because they have the most season ticket holders, but it guarantees they sell tickets to about 13,000 people, and then they just need 5,000 more tickets sold for a full house. I'm not sure all those season ticket holders would show up, but you'd get a fair number.

3. Do something about the price of tickets. Making tickets $40 for two games was a mistake. I think there were too many fans that only cared to watch one game and didn't want to pay $40 for just one game.

4. Look into making the event a tournament. There's a million difficulties with this. Tournament games would likely have to be non-conference games, and non-conference games are already a rarity to begin with. But a two-day tournament would add some excitement.


Brandon said...

hey Chris, good comments on the MN Hockey Showcase. Any chance you could put me on your blogroll?

Anonymous said...

Good suggestions. It should definitely be a tournament. The winner can have the Minnesota Cup.

I wanted to add that I'd like to see an additional tournament with BU and BC invited. I'd love to see the Gophers matched up with Hockey East teams more often. It would be like the 1980 Olympic team, where BU and MN guys had to duke it out. Maybe even an annual outdoor game featuring MN and BU...

Anonymous said...

Why does Minnesota have least to gain from this?

USAFA Bulldog said...

I think having the event later in the season is probably the biggest thing.

Hard to say how the idea of having it part of season tickets would go. Mankato is relatively close, but SCSU and UMD fans would have a long ways to come for it. UMD fans are more families so I'm guessing the turnout wouldn't be much, plus people would likely be very upset that it's part of the season ticket package. You'd have a ton of no-shows.

The price of the tickets is also a huge thing. The economy is especially a big factor in this. Hard to say, but I'm guessing people are having a hard enough time springing for season tickets, let alone extra tickets.

Having the games as a tournament might not fly, at least in the curerrent setup. I'm guessing UMTC wouldn't want to give up their other non-conference opponents to have them replaced with other Minnesota teams who they play in conference anyhow.

So in order for it to work it would have to be UMTC and teams from other conferences, thus it wouldn't be a Minnesota hockey showcase.

Anonymous said...

Minnesota has the least to gain because they already sell around 10,000 tickets each home game. So half the Xcel is actually less money.

It definitely needs to be a tournament, but as a Gopher fan I'm not interested in giving up non-conference games to see these three teams more often. If it can be a tournament and leave us our non-conference slots great, otherwise pass.

Anonymous said...

St. Cloud is actually closer to the X than Mankato.

USAFA Bulldog said...

I'm surprised. I could have sworn Mankato was closer. Looking it up on the net the National Hockey Center is closer, barely, by 10 minutes. Although the miles is different 76 miles from St. Cloud and 87.6 from Mankato.

Anonymous said...

One sure way of making it more interesting is to invite your neighbor to the west, and then call it The Dasota Showcase or possibly the Minnekota Showcase.