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davyd83
07-18-2011, 11:56 AM
Of course there is. The Soo and Marquette have had a hockey rivalry for decades, and it is at every level, from squirt house up to college. Both teams have struggled attendance-wise, and the reason is pretty obvious: one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression, in an area (U.P.) that naturally and normally struggles a bit more than the rest of the state economically.

You know how they say when the U.S. sneezes Canada catches a cold? Well, when Detroit and Grand rapids sneeze, the U.P. goes into a coma. There simply is much less expendable income at this point and time. A $5 pizza and $4 movie is keeping families entertained in this economic climate, because $9 is the preferential option for many families over $40 for tickets and $15 for food and drinks at the arena.

I realize your points there, but at both LSSU and NMU, all the games between the Lakers and Wildcats fell below the average attendance for the schools. When LSSU draws as many for Bowling Green as they do for NMU, it doesn't really say "rivalry." And the same thing in Marquette.

Lakerblue
07-18-2011, 12:00 PM
The question of the LSSU/NMU rivalry is well placed, and frankly its something we (Laker fans) need to address. Part of the problem of the regional rivalry lacking firepower is the W-L records of the respective teams. Its not as though LSSU and NMU were having a home and home weekend series in February with a Championship on the line. And even when NMU was having better-than.500 seasons and playing for a top half finish, LSSU rarely reciprocated. In the one span of time when both teams were national powerhouses, they were in different leagues, and never once faced each other in the NCAA tourney. A few random NC games are not enough to illicit a good passionate rivalry. This would be a great atmosphere for rivalries between Tech, NMU, and LSSU if they were all in the same league, battling for league title -- which is why i think the conference reallignment is a good chance.

The editorial / article from the Evening News was disturbing -- and yet so typical. Here we see the mental picture of the inside of the AD and President's office. We are "LEFTOVERS," and our fans will learn to love playing Mercyhurst. Self loathing combined with a healthy disrespect for the fan base. Sell stupid someplace else, folks.

Furthermore, as well pointed out by another poster - this is a basketball guy (and a huge High School basketball guy, in addition) writing a random puff piece about the CCHA break up. His insider information? Probably having a few beers with a few basketball coaches and, for the first time in history, saying, "Thank goodness for the stability of the GLIAC." Nonetheless, the mere fact that a discussion of this nature can take place and be accepted as plausible tells me eveything I need to know about the mental state of the inside of the Norris Center's offices.

Neil Diamond
07-18-2011, 12:03 PM
I realize your points there, but at both LSSU and NMU, all the games between the Lakers and Wildcats fell below the average attendance for the schools. When LSSU draws as many for Bowling Green as they do for NMU, it doesn't really say "rivalry." And the same thing in Marquette.

It's the economy...$9 pizza and movie night is winning out over $55 hockey night...no matter who is in town. The reason LSSU draws as much for BG as NMU is because there is a fixed group of people who will still attend the games in this economic climate. Those people are always at the games. The difference is casual or occasional fan to the games. It was those fans that produced the good attendance numbers of the past.

You want to write off a rivalry by attendance numbers for the last year or so. That is extremely short-sighted.

PerkyforPrez
07-18-2011, 12:05 PM
Also i know quite a few people that quit going to Laker games because they are fed up with the coaching on the Lakers along with their inconsistant play. Thats a different monster all together.

But i can't speak for Northern as i know not what might be the reason for your fans to stay away.

Neil Diamond
07-18-2011, 12:09 PM
Furthermore, as well pointed out by another poster - this is a basketball guy (and a huge High School basketball guy, in addition) writing a random puff piece about the CCHA break up. His insider information? Probably having a few beers with a few basketball coaches and, for the first time in history, saying, "Thank goodness for the stability of the GLIAC." Nonetheless, the mere fact that a discussion of this nature can take place and be accepted as plausible tells me eveything I need to know about the mental state of the inside of the Norris Center's offices.

No doubt you're dead on in that analysis.

There are more than a few people gleefully rubbing their hands together, hoping greed, CCHA ineffectiveness, and WCHA dismissiveness towards LSSU hockey will do what they could only dream of doing all these years: slay the LSSU Hockey dragon, and in doing that place a serious wound on the hockey culture of the area overall. The problem is exacerbated by the fact there are no "hockey people" in positions of power at LSSU right now.

The high school football, high school basketball, and college basketball vultures are hoovering overhead, hoping it is only a matter of time before they can swoop down on the hockey corpse they see as, if not mortally wounded, at least with serious enough wounds to change the sport culture of the EUP (how's that for creative license???) :)

Lakerblue
07-18-2011, 12:49 PM
No doubt you're dead on in that analysis.

There are more than a few people gleefully rubbing their hands together, hoping greed, CCHA ineffectiveness, and WCHA dismissiveness towards LSSU hockey will do what they could only dream of doing all these years: slay the LSSU Hockey dragon, and in doing that place a serious wound on the hockey culture of the area overall. The problem is exacerbated by the fact there are no "hockey people" in positions of power at LSSU right now.

The high school football, high school basketball, and college basketball vultures are hoovering overhead, hoping it is only a matter of time before they can swoop down on the hockey corpse they see as, if not mortally wounded, at least with serious enough wounds to change the sport culture of the EUP (how's that for creative license???) :)


It was into this same enviroment that Frank Anzalone brought the persona of Crazy Frank. He refused to allow the small-town-mentality to limit this program. I was there. He absolutely refused. He worked 20 hour days. He hammered the students. He worked the dorm rooms. Literally went into the dorms and rallied the students to support the team. He worked every possible church, Rotary, and men's breakfast club every day, month after month, year after year. He stood strong against those in town who laughed at him, those who said (in their small-town mentality) that a school as small as LSSU can't compete in D-I sports, can't compete in hockey, can't compete nationally. Folks, that man was so darned stubborn and passionate that him and his players hit the ice every day for practice and every night for games, with a rage. Frank told them nobody believed in them -- now go out and prove those SOBs wrong.

Jeff Jackson carried so much clout that there was nobody in town who could say anything against him. The small-town basketball vultures crushed. The muddy-boot-beer-drinking Soo Indian fans (who, you may recall, also loathed LSSU hcokey) were crushed. When LSSU and Mike Illich combined to rebuild the Norris, the war was won.

Jackson left town in a fight with the NCAA and a dream of NHL glory. (and also I suspect a large silent issue about assistant coach's pay). In came Borek. Borek was not a D-I coach, or at least he was not a good fit for LSSU. LSSU required constant attention to the small school mentality. Frank preached it -- Jackson perfected it -- "The Whole World Says you Can't -- Go Out There and Prove Them Wrong." This includes the constant attention to the town and students, whose first passion may not be college hockey.

Frank came back, but lets be honest (and lets not beat a dead horse here), he was not the same his second time around. He was older, had a family, and his enemies were ready for him. After years of Borek losing games, fans, and local interest -- Frank had a tough job. Too many old enemies were far too happy to see Frank founder. And Frank foundered. He did not win many games. He did not reconnect the program to the town. He did not reignite student interest. He did not fight, and win, against the administration.

Roque followed. He has followed a more Borek-esque approach. Too few wins and too quiet. Not enough connection in town. No connection with the students. Its better under Roque the past few years than any time since Jackson left -- but that isn't saying much.

This is about vision and passion. The school and the coach are simply going to have to fight the small-town mentality. And the school must connect with the students. I suggesed years ago to allow the students into the games for free. For years North Dakota was the most feared building in the hockey world -- because students got in free, first come, first seated, with a student ID. The student section at UND is still a monster to behold. Free seats will do that. Students don't hav money. And frankly, would the school rather sell more concessions and LSSU gear and have a great atmopshere -- or collect an additional trickle of money squeezed out of the students already-empty pockets?

Anyhow, just getting fired up today.

davyd83
07-18-2011, 01:21 PM
It's the economy...$9 pizza and movie night is winning out over $55 hockey night...no matter who is in town. The reason LSSU draws as much for BG as NMU is because there is a fixed group of people who will still attend the games in this economic climate. Those people are always at the games. The difference is casual or occasional fan to the games. It was those fans that produced the good attendance numbers of the past.

You want to write off a rivalry by attendance numbers for the last year or so. That is extremely short-sighted.

No one wants to write off that rivalry. Personally, I would love to see both rinks packed for that series, as they should be. I was really hoping last year that attendance would be much better than it had been in the past few seasons. It was always frustrating to see these two teams play on school breaks, and I was really hoping to see things improve with the change in dates, but they didn't. Games like this are among the few times either school has a chance to fill their rinks. Better promotion would help. This is a series that should draw the casual, non season ticket holding fan in both towns. And it's not the numbers for the past year or so. Over the last 10 years LSSU has drawn an average of 2359 for games against NMU at the Taffy. There have been just five crowds of 2500+ in that span and three with less than 2000. NMU has also been right around their seasonal average when LSSU has visited Marquette in that time, with much better crowds when NMU has been in NCAA tourney contention.

3dognight
07-18-2011, 02:00 PM
Blue....for the last several years students do get in free with ID.
LSSU had a student only raffle ( $50 @ 50 minutes) for 2 years...if they showed they got a raffle ticket and the drawing was held mid third period.
Mild attendance increase in the student section.. T shirts were also tried for the Blue Crew....again, mild results.
Dorm room window signs....mild response but no big uptick in attendance.
1/2 the students in the building are fundraising or running concessions.
A GREAT student section is the life blood of college hockey.
When I asked some students why no big crowds........lack of winning was their reason.
the students present appeared to be other athletes rather than the student body at large.

Sad.
Taffy needs the excitement of a rowdy student section!!!!

3dognight
07-18-2011, 02:19 PM
We(an outside group of donors) also marketed the heck out of hockey, Billboards, TV commercials in SSM and all of Northern Michigan.
Numbers were up but they could not be maintained without winning or playing exciting, competitive hockey.

We had a 1/2 Hour Laker Hockey Preview on Charter cable....Nice stuff.

The "bump" was 300 average a game.
This pilot project did not return enough for cost spent.

It was then that a small group decided that an alternative was to put all $$$$ into the new facility / training project.
Improving the on ice product is the goal, because when you get people into the building, they MUST see winning, exciting hockey.
GREAT match ups are a part of that picture which is why I am Pro-WCHA.

Bill
07-18-2011, 02:30 PM
Statement from Ferris State's AD:

http://www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com/information/releases/hockeystatement

Lakerblue
07-18-2011, 05:27 PM
We(an outside group of donors) also marketed the heck out of hockey, Billboards, TV commercials in SSM and all of Northern Michigan.
Numbers were up but they could not be maintained without winning or playing exciting, competitive hockey.

We had a 1/2 Hour Laker Hockey Preview on Charter cable....Nice stuff.

The "bump" was 300 average a game.
This pilot project did not return enough for cost spent.

It was then that a small group decided that an alternative was to put all $$$$ into the new facility / training project.
Improving the on ice product is the goal, because when you get people into the building, they MUST see winning, exciting hockey.
GREAT match ups are a part of that picture which is why I am Pro-WCHA.

Lesson: Winning Matters.

Do you think winning against Robert Morris and BGSU will bring out the fans more than, or at least equal to, say, winning against Tech and NMU? That appears to be the tone of the Evening News report.

jnacc
07-18-2011, 05:29 PM
Statement from Ferris State's AD:

http://www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com/information/releases/hockeystatement

Judging from this AD's comments, it certainly appears that the hoped for merger between the "left overs" of the WCHA/CCHA is not on the table and the best we can hope for is "a new look CCHA!"

We as fans can certainly voice our opinions and desires to the AD and even the school president but we're going to have to accept the fact that they have little control and influence over the powers that be in the new WCHA...in short, it appears they do not want us and we cannot force our way in.

How excited will fans be over a conference that consists of Ferris, B.G., LSSU, UAH, Niagra and Robert Morris??? Do you think that fans would embrace a Laker team in such a division even if they are competitive? I suspect crowds will average no more than 12-1400 and I wonder if that will be enough to sustain the program?

davyd83
07-18-2011, 05:58 PM
Judging from this AD's comments, it certainly appears that the hoped for merger between the "left overs" of the WCHA/CCHA is not on the table and the best we can hope for is "a new look CCHA!"

We as fans can certainly voice our opinions and desires to the AD and even the school president but we're going to have to accept the fact that they have little control and influence over the powers that be in the new WCHA...in short, it appears they do not want us and we cannot force our way in.

How excited will fans be over a conference that consists of Ferris, B.G., LSSU, UAH, Niagra and Robert Morris??? Do you think that fans would embrace a Laker team in such a division even if they are competitive? I suspect crowds will average no more than 12-1400 and I wonder if that will be enough to sustain the program?

There is no WCHA-CCHA merger on the table. With the addition of NMU, the WCHA stands at 6. It appears that they want to get to 8 teams. The proposed program at Minnesota State Moorhead, if it comes to pass is a likely candidate for one of the remaining two spots. When you consider that 3 others in the league are part of the Minnesota State system (Bemidji, St Cloud, Mankato), you can bet that they will only add one more before the Moorhead decision comes in about 3 months.

Laker54
07-18-2011, 05:59 PM
This is about vision and passion. The school and the coach are simply going to have to fight the small-town mentality. And the school must connect with the students. I suggesed years ago to allow the students into the games for free. For years North Dakota was the most feared building in the hockey world -- because students got in free, first come, first seated, with a student ID. The student section at UND is still a monster to behold. Free seats will do that. Students don't hav money. And frankly, would the school rather sell more concessions and LSSU gear and have a great atmopshere -- or collect an additional trickle of money squeezed out of the students already-empty pockets?

Anyhow, just getting fired up today.[/QUOTE]

Great comments. FYI they do allow students in free, probably in their tuition. They only have to pay for playoff games.

Lakerblue
07-18-2011, 06:15 PM
The CHA, circa 2007:

Wayne State (closed)
Finlay (closed)
Niagara (moved to ECAC)
BSU (moved to WCHA, only to be dumped by larger programs)
UAH (independant, struggling)
Air Force (moved to AHA)

Robert Morris was added later.

Not exactly a stunning predictor of future succes when, as I see it, the possiblity of a revamped CCHA looks more, and more, and more like a revamped CHA.

Hammer
07-18-2011, 06:23 PM
Judging from this AD's comments, it certainly appears that the hoped for merger between the "left overs" of the WCHA/CCHA is not on the table and the best we can hope for is "a new look CCHA!"

We as fans can certainly voice our opinions and desires to the AD and even the school president but we're going to have to accept the fact that they have little control and influence over the powers that be in the new WCHA...in short, it appears they do not want us and we cannot force our way in.

How excited will fans be over a conference that consists of Ferris, B.G., LSSU, UAH, Niagra and Robert Morris??? Do you think that fans would embrace a Laker team in such a division even if they are competitive? I suspect crowds will average no more than 12-1400 and I wonder if that will be enough to sustain the program?

Good evening, gentlemen.

I share the same concerns as those I have quoted above. In my team's thread I went and looked up the attendance for home non-conference games in which we played teams that could very likely resemble future CCHA opponents that will take the place of the Big Ten schools leaving. It wasn't pretty. Hopefully you can fare better than we have the past couple seasons at gate.

I wish you the best of luck.

Bill
07-18-2011, 07:42 PM
The CHA, circa 2007:

Wayne State (closed)
Finlay (closed)
Niagara (moved to ECAC)
BSU (moved to WCHA, only to be dumped by larger programs)
UAH (independant, struggling)
Air Force (moved to AHA)

Robert Morris was added later.

Not exactly a stunning predictor of future succes when, as I see it, the possiblity of a revamped CCHA looks more, and more, and more like a revamped CHA.
I surely want to see us in the "new" WCHA, but if they don't want us and we have to rework the CCHA, there likely will be more stability to it than the old CHA. That's assuming teams like Niagara, Robert Morris, Mercyhurst and Canisius are added. The CHA had instability written all over it. Teams were from all over the place geographically ; e.g. Bemidji, Air Force, UAH. Air Force wanted to be in the same conference as Army. Wayne Sate was rejected by the CCHA. Findlay was never much of a program. Now will the fans support a revamped CCHA? I don't know. If I still lived in the Soo area, I'd always be attending Laker games regardless of who they were playing and what conference they were in. But whether more casual fans would provide the same level of support, who knows. Personally I think putting a winning team on the ice will go a long way towards putting more fans in the stands regardless of which conference we wind up in.

jnacc
07-18-2011, 08:47 PM
Now will the fans support a revamped CCHA? I don't know..... Personally I think putting a winning team on the ice will go a long way towards putting more fans in the stands regardless of which conference we wind up in.

I wonder...part of me says sure, winning always attracts a crowd but the other side says that those accustomed to a high level of play brought on by teams like Michigan, Notre Dame and other elite schools will simply not be satisfied by the large drop off in talent shown by teams like Robert Morris and they will stay away even if the Lakers are winning.

Much has been made about the Eagles success at the gate but remember that they only averaged 500 or so fans a game during their "winning" regular season. It was only in the 2nd round against the T-birds did attendance double and then triple but I have to ask, did they once sell out the Pullar?

Now some of you may say that we are talking about Junior A Tier II hockey and you cannot compare that to NCAA D-1 hockey but letís be honest here folks, such a proposed "new CCHA" would be D-1 in name only and for all intent and purposes would be a D-2 caliber conference and would such a conference really be able to attract 3000 fans a game????

DopeyBaker
07-18-2011, 08:56 PM
The high school football, high school basketball, and college basketball vultures are hoovering overhead, hoping it is only a matter of time before they can swoop down on the hockey corpse they see as, if not mortally wounded, at least with serious enough wounds to change the sport culture of the EUP (how's that for creative license???) :)

I have lived in the Sault for over 25 years. I don't see all of these vultures flying around hoping for the demise of Laker hockey. Sure, there are a few haters here and there, but for the most part, people in this region would love to see the University and its hockey program flourish.

The Evening News writer was just throwing out his thoughts on where he thinks LSSU hockey will end up. It was titled a "commentary". Who cares if he covers a lot of basketball? It was just his opinion. Take it with a grain of salt.

Bill
07-18-2011, 09:10 PM
I wonder...part of me says sure, winning always attracts a crowd but the other side says that those accustomed to a high level of play brought on by teams like Michigan, Notre Dame and other elite schools will simply not be satisfied by the large drop off in talent shown by teams like Robert Morris and they will stay away even if the Lakers are winning.

Much has been made about the Eagles success at the gate but remember that they only averaged 500 or so fans a game during their "winning" regular season. It was only in the 2nd round against the T-birds did attendance double and then triple but I have to ask, did they once sell out the Pullar?

Now some of you may say that we are talking about Junior A Tier II hockey and you cannot compare that to NCAA D-1 hockey but letís be honest here folks, such a proposed "new CCHA" would be D-1 in name only and for all intent and purposes would be a D-2 caliber conference and would such a conference really be able to attract 3000 fans a game????
If Robert Morris, Niagara, Canisius and Mercyhurst came over from Atlantic Hockey, the retooled CCHA would probably be half Div 1 schools and half Div 2 schools, all playing Div 1 hockey. Granted they wouldn't be the big Div 1 schools we're used to seeing.