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Wisko McBadgerton
01-02-2015, 10:29 AM
It's an interesting topic, and your point isn't ridiculous, that's for sure. When all is said and done though, I don't think we'll see the number of players from Florida surpass the number of players from Wisconsin any time soon.

While both state's have seen the number of players they have produced grow (Florida from 2 players to 17 players and Wisconsin from 27 players to 39 players in the last 10 years), I think that the potential for future growth in Wisconsin is much larger.

Sure, Florida's population is much larger, but the cost to play is much greater. The only option that kids have to play at a remotely high level in Florida is Tier 1. That is spendy, especially in places like Florida where necessary travel is extensive. The infrastructure isn't there for big growth in cheaper options, so I doubt any cheaper, competitive options develop there any time soon.

While I think it is great to see the growth of hockey in non-traditinal markets, I think people often forget the room for growth was extensive and the gains are going to be diminishing because of costs. In my opinion Wisconsin is a market that is just beginning to really tap into the potential that is there. Illinois as well.

It's not a forgone conclusion by any means, and it may not be realistic at all. But we're only talking about developing a few more kids in total each year. Regardless, here's what I do see in FL:

Overall growth in USA Hockey participants is up just under 50% over the last decade or so in Florida to around 12k. This growth comes despite Florida being one of, if not the, hardest hit states by the recession. Now that the recession is easing the economy is heating up, I'd personally expect growth to continue at a greater pace. (By comparison Wisconsin has been steady or down slightly over the same time period at around 17.5k participants.)

While cost is a huge issue in hockey growth, it's really not significantly more expensive for U-16's to play here than it is anywhere else. Plus Florida has over 1.3 million households above six figure annual incomes, and the top 1% have an average annual income above $8.5 million! The capital available in Florida despite the recession is really mind-boggling.

Agree that the high end infrastructure is not here yet and most top players head north to Canada, or prep schools, or elite teams elsewhere. But with two NHL teams (and 3 minor teams) pouring money and/or effort into youth development, the quality opportunities for U-16's is improving rapidly, and it should logically follow that Junior level programs will also improve in player development. If somehow the Lightning could snag another cup, things could explode much the way it has in Illinois. (But with 8 million more in population to draw from than Illinois)

Florida does have some great youth coaching. You can hardly go to a rink in Florida without tripping over former NHL'ers coaching kids. The small nearby rink I use has a scary Sunday league that is just filthy with former pros (First thing they tell you when you ask is that you DO NOT want to play in that league.) and quite a few are involved in youth programs.

The other thing Florida has that isn't so apparent in other places is a large population of Canadians and New Englander's that just culturally want to have and support hockey programs. I'm optimistic about hockey in Wisconsin, but there's a lot of upside possible in Florida as well.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Bonin21
01-02-2015, 10:48 AM
Plus Florida has over 1.3 million households above six figure annual incomes, and the top 1% have an average annual income above $8.5 million! The capital available in Florida despite the recession is really mind-boggling.
Average age of those heads of household? I don't know how many pee-wee aged kids are living at former CEO grandpa's mansion.

Wisko McBadgerton
01-02-2015, 11:51 AM
And would we have as much success landing the high end talent as we are having in the state of Wisconsin?

It's legitimate cynicism and this isn't really a response but just some interesting facts of the week:

According to NHL reference, 27 Wisconsin born players have logged time in the NHL. Two in the 1930's. Of the rest, 22 of 25 played NCAA hockey and 17 of 22 played at Wisconsin. (10 played at least one year for Eaves) The other 5 NCAA players were:

Drew Stafford and Craig Ludwig (UND) ; David Steckel (Ohio St.); Kevin Dean (UNH) ; Phil Kessel (MN)

Maybe the Schmaltz brothers, Will Butcher, and Ian Mcoshen (and/or others) will all be that level of player, which will tilt this more. Or maybe some kids like Davison really develop (even like a Joe Piskula type guy) Hard to say. Certainly true that very good college players have gone elsewhere for various reasons.

In an unrelated observation: If it weren't for Kessel, we'd all surely have a much greater hatred for the Schmaltz's, considering how that went down.

Wisko McBadgerton
01-02-2015, 12:10 PM
Average age of those heads of household? I don't know how many pee-wee aged kids are living at former CEO grandpa's mansion.

I've lived in SWFL for about 5 years and I know what you're getting at but there are exponentially more retirees in RV parks than there are retired CEO's in mansions. Feel free to research, but there is still a very large number of upper middle class to very wealthy families, and certainly more than in Wisconsin and Minnesota combined by a big margin.

Wisko McBadgerton
01-02-2015, 12:15 PM
Ustaski looks to be a healthy scratch tonight vs Tech per Baggot. Unless he has an injury I am unaware of.

Seems like Utaski has real talent but is terribly inconsistent in how he applies it. Line ups per Baggot:

LaBate-Rockwood-Besse; Zulinick-Hughes-Soleway; Navin-Wagner-McGuire; Cavallini-Paape-Ford

Wittchow-Schulze; Drake-Linhart; Davison-Dougherty


Interesting that Eaves has chosen to put Eddie and K. Schulze back together. Hope Eddie has been on his bike while he's been off, because I have to believe that pair is scheduled for big minutes.

Bonin21
01-02-2015, 12:15 PM
Regarding the FL demographics and hockey, I suppose in this case numbers matter more than percentages.

Timothy A
01-02-2015, 12:29 PM
I went to bed last night feeling optimistic about the 2nd half, and I wake up to read articles that do anything but ooze optimism. The players are obviously feeling the pressure, they are practicing like crap, Eaves is openly wondering about not getting extended or maybe even getting fired, and BA gives Eaves his full support.

I am not shocked BA would gives Eaves the vote of confidence, he's not going to throw any of his coaches under the bus until he forces them out, though I do recall Lisa Stone getting some heat from BA prior to getting the ax. Maybe BA will pull a Pete Waite on Eaves.

On the WI Journal website, there is a poll asking out of UW sports, who will have the most successful season in 2015.....the women's bb team has 8 votes, the men's hockey team has 7. To be fair, men's bb is sucking up all the votes with 482, but, there's more hope for Bobby Kelsey then Mike Eaves? My head just exploded.

Any any rate, It's a Great Day For Hockey! Let's sweep Tech and then all will be right with the world.

WiscDC
01-02-2015, 01:54 PM
I went to bed last night feeling optimistic about the 2nd half, and I wake up to read articles that do anything but ooze optimism. The players are obviously feeling the pressure, they are practicing like crap, Eaves is openly wondering about not getting extended or maybe even getting fired, and BA gives Eaves his full support.

I am not shocked BA would gives Eaves the vote of confidence, he's not going to throw any of his coaches under the bus until he forces them out, though I do recall Lisa Stone getting some heat from BA prior to getting the ax. Maybe BA will pull a Pete Waite on Eaves.

On the WI Journal website, there is a poll asking out of UW sports, who will have the most successful season in 2015.....the women's bb team has 8 votes, the men's hockey team has 7. To be fair, men's bb is sucking up all the votes with 482, but, there's more hope for Bobby Kelsey then Mike Eaves? My head just exploded.

Any any rate, It's a Great Day For Hockey! Let's sweep Tech and then all will be right with the world.

Here's some optimism - the "second half" is really the second two-thirds. (I think they're only 1 or 2 games beyond the true 1/3 mark.) I agree with you on Alvarez's comments. BA putting a coach publicly on the hot seat seems unlikely to me.

Chuck Schwartz
01-02-2015, 03:10 PM
Here's some optimism - the "second half" is really the second two-thirds. (I think they're only 1 or 2 games beyond the true 1/3 mark.) I agree with you on Alvarez's comments. BA putting a coach publicly on the hot seat seems unlikely to me.

You're right. Even if Alvarez thought Eaves was on the hot seat it does no good to publicly declare that he is. Other than pleasing 15 people on the internet.

I'm not sure the AD giving the HC a vote of confidence does much for the team, but if he goes the other way it totally drains the attitude in the locker room, with the staff, with potential recruits, etc.

Wisko McBadgerton
01-02-2015, 03:13 PM
FYI. Head hockey coach of D-III University of Southern Maine, in his 28th year, has been forced to "retire" after a 1-9 start (http://www.pressherald.com/2014/12/31/usm-mens-hockey-coach-jeff-beaney-resigns/) this year.

Not sure if you're making much of a point here. Beaney has never won anything, hasn't been above .500 in 7 years and has 6 and 7 wins the last two years respectively before this 1-9 start. Seems a bit more like this move is maybe 10 or 20 years late, rather than any comparison to what's going on here.

Wisko McBadgerton
01-02-2015, 03:17 PM
Is it just me, or the lighting, or does Eaves suddenly look like he's done some real presidential-type aging in this Badger Hockey Digest? (http://youtu.be/PnFUKH28DzU) Especially @ 1:35.

Chuck Schwartz
01-02-2015, 04:50 PM
Not sure I love the Drake-Linhart pairing. I understand their hand has been forced to an extent, but neither player holds the defensive blueline very well so they tend to give up too much when both are on the ice together. Have to assume this is the third pair tonight. I guess if they plan to play Schulze-Wittchow 30 minutes, Davison-Dougherty 20, then I can handle Drake-Linhart for 10-ish.

Wisko McBadgerton
01-02-2015, 06:48 PM
Not sure I love the Drake-Linhart pairing. I understand their hand has been forced to an extent, but neither player holds the defensive blueline very well so they tend to give up too much when both are on the ice together. Have to assume this is the third pair tonight. I guess if they plan to play Schulze-Wittchow 30 minutes, Davison-Dougherty 20, then I can handle Drake-Linhart for 10-ish.

I gotta believe that's the plan... I wonder if Eddie will be out on a PP unit. It seems ages ago now, but there was once a plan to put him up top and let him swing away with that long stick.

One thing's for sure: 90% of tonight's game is going to be half mental.


Let's Go Red!!!

Timothy A
01-02-2015, 07:25 PM
WOW. 3-0 10 minutes in, Rumpel out (not getting any help), Petersen in. This feels like the BC game last year.

ExileOnDaytonStreet
01-02-2015, 07:38 PM
It's getting pretty ugly just looking at the box score online.

Wisko McBadgerton
01-02-2015, 07:39 PM
WOW. 3-0 10 minutes in, Rumpel out (not getting any help), Petersen in. This feels like the BC game last year.

Yeah, maybe not much help, but he can't come in to this season as a senior projected as one of the top goalies in college hockey and then give up 3 goals on 5 shots in a game like this. Just can't let it happen.

Gurtholfin
01-02-2015, 07:48 PM
Its way uglier in person. We suck. Fire Eaves.

At least I'm drunk. In a suite tonight or I wouldn't have bothered.

Timothy A
01-02-2015, 07:50 PM
Yeah, maybe not much help, but he can't come in to this season as a senior projected as one of the top goalies in college hockey and then give up 3 goals on 5 shots in a game like this. Just can't let it happen.

I kinda agree, but according to Perrin, (who soulds SO much like Howie it's freaky), 2 were in close 1 on 0's and one had a funny change in direction. You can't cough the puck up on the pp either like that.

ExileOnDaytonStreet
01-02-2015, 07:58 PM
Its way uglier in person. We suck. Fire Eaves.

At least I'm drunk. In a suite tonight or I wouldn't have bothered.

An e-mail from a friend who is also at the game:


Dave...whatever sadness you think you're feeling is at least one order of magnitude less sad then being here. The only thing keeping me from slitting my wrists is the fact that we won a bowl game yesterday.

GoBucky!
01-02-2015, 08:04 PM
Hope that the team will look respectable after the break officially gone after 1.2 periods.