A few things going on as the hockey world hits championship season
- The Fuel are now selling ticket plans for the 2015-16 season.
- First, the Kelly Cup Final is going to 7 games. The Allen Americans took Games 4 (on a 2OT goal by former Fuel forward Vincent Arseneau) and 5 in OT before the South Carolina Stingrays rallied for a 4-1 win in Game 6 . Arseneau also scored in Game 6 for Allen.
- The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel’s Blake Sebring was named the ECHL’s outstanding media member. He may like to tweak us, but he’s a go-to beat writer when you want info about the Komets or the ECHL (and add to that, he’s an outstanding person).
- This is interesting. No knowledge if it will come to fruition, but a group led by former Checkers radio announcer Mike Barack is pushing to build a rink in Fenton, Mo. – suburban St. Louis – that would possibly be an ECHL home. What’s cool is that the building would be patterned after the old St. Louis Arena – one of the all-time great places to catch a hockey game – complete with a lower seating bowl similar to the Arena’s, as well as the arched roof (no word if it would be the lamella wood like the Arena).
- In other future ECHL market news, former CHL Oklahoma City Blazers owner Brad Lund is looking to assemble a group to bring OKC into the ECHL. The city was lost out in the shuffle of AHL teams to California – in all, five AHL cities saw their teams move to California, with three (Manchester, NH; Glens Falls, NY; and Norfolk, Va.) getting ECHL franchises to replace them. Oklahoma City and Worcester lost teams, and as of now, neither has a replacement team, but each is now on record as seeking to join the ECHL (Hamilton, Ontario also lost its team in a move to Winnipeg, but it will be replaced by an Ontario Hockey League team). OKC was a great market in the old CHL, and the Ice-Blazers rivalry was a good one. They’d be a good addition to the ECHL if this comes to fruition. Lund said the ECHL is “very, very interested” in OKC.
- In other future ECHL market news, the Manchester Monarchs – who will swap markets with the Ontario Reign this summer – are in the AHL Calder Cup Final. Manchester currently leads the Utica Comets 2-1, but Utica won Game 3 on Wednesday
- Jeff Blashill, who coached the Ice from 2008-10 and led them to the 2009 Clark Cup, was named the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Plenty of media links are in the attached article. It had long been expected, especially after Mike Babcock took the head coaching job in Toronto. Nicklas Lidstrom is approving.
Other Indy/Indiana-hockey related news
- NBC Sports play-by-play man Mike “Doc” Emrick is a national treasure. A native of LaFontaine, Indiana and a graduate of Manchester University, Doc has deep Hoosier roots. He is a member of the Indiana Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame. Fort Wayne Komets broadcaster Bob Chase was a mentor of Doc’s, and was profiled in SI.
- Speaking of Doc, he is the newest recipient of the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Troy Ward, a former assistant coach with the IHL’s Indianapolis Ice, was named the head coach of the USHL’s Madison Capitols earlier this week. Ward had previously been the coach of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.
Other interesting hockey links
- The Stanley Cup Final matchup between Chicago and Tampa Bay has led to the growth of hockey in both areas. Tampa Bay’s success, which also won a Stanley Cup in 2004 and made an Eastern Conference Final appearance in 2011, has helped lead to more hockey in Florida (former Indiana Ice players Brian Ferlin, R.J. Boyd and Scott Conway all hail from Florida. Ferlin has played in the NHL, Boyd was drafted by the Florida Panthers, and Conway was the leading scorer on a Clark Cup-winning team). In the Chicago area, Illinois has surpassed Pennsylvania as the fifth-largest hockey-playing state in the U.S., largely due to the Blackhawks’ recent success.
- Add to that, Arizona has seen a 51(!)% growth in player registrations with USA Hockey. Indiana has grown 4.4% and ranks 24th in the country.
- Much drama in Arizona, where the city of Glendale has been meeting to nullify the Arizona Coyotes’ lease with the city and their arena, which could possibly send the Coyotes on the move.
- In one of the more bizarre stories of the week, the head of NBC Sports wants to ban playoff beards, because it makes it more difficult to market the league stars. One other good way to market the league stars, NBC: Focus your coverage on more than six teams from the East Coast and big markets. It’s hard to push guys some of the best players in the NHL – Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Drew Doughty, TJ Oshie and Ryan Getzlaf if they’re never on national TV.