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.