Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Hockey? [UPDATE/Nevermind..]
[UPDATE] The Commissioner has cancelled the season. So the free stanley portion of this post is relevant. The rest is not.

Avid reader RT (you'll never guess!) sends a link to an organization determined to award the Stanley Cup to the best hockey club playing, even if the NHL cancels the season. Freestanley.com is looking for challengers. They anticipate it going to a junior or minor league hockey team this year. If they have their way, that is.

And while trying to think of a good way to frame my dismay over not having any hockey to go to this year, in a post about "free stanley," there comes word of a breakthrough in negotiations. No, really. So there is a chance that a 28-game season will still be played. But should they? Here in Nashville at least, I'm thinking that it will lead to constant "who cares" news reports filled with shots of empty seats. Even if attendance is the same as last year, they could report it that way.

So, I have a plan. I sent it to Predators owner Craig Leipold. I call it "free hockey." It goes like this: give away the tickets for those 14 home games, and continue to refund the season ticket holder money as if the entire season had been cancelled. Ok, maybe charge 20 bucks for seats down front. Otherwise, give em away. The bad press that the next 2 months offer a team like Nashville's, where the public sobbing over no hockey has been pretty well nonexistent, will be far worse than if the season was cancelled anyway.

If they play the rest of this season to an empty crowd (and don't you know that the local press will be demanding more accurate attendance numbers than they have, frankly, in years past?), then the first chapter of the death of hockey in Nashville will have been penned. As I told him, cribbing from Bill Clinton, it's the fan base, stupid.

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