Thursday, April 10, 2008

Salmon Kings

I am amazed at how much the Times Colonist - Cleve Dheensaw specifically - has been hyping the Salmon Kings. Yes, it is a professional hockey team, but it is not very high caliber hockey.

The ECHL is home to guys that are still trying to live out their dream of making it in hockey for a living or guys that can not manage to do anything else with their lives. There is nothing wrong with either one, but it is hardly the makings of something worth that much hype. I have trouble with the league name, officially it is the ECHL, but this comes from the East Coast Hockey League - time to have a name that makes some rational sense. The league also needs to become more stable, at the end of each season 10% to 20% of the teams fold or move. There is hardly any players that remain with any team for more a season - anyone good enough goes to Europe or the AHL. I would love to see the AHL here.

One first and biggest complaint about the Salmon Kings is how expensive the games are. At $21 a seat for adults, taking my family out to a game will run us about $150 or more when everything is said and done. Across town I can see the Grizzlies for about $100 all in. The Salmon Kings are more expensive than the Vancouver Giants, I know I which I would choose each time. In the WHL I can watch the future stars of the NHL.

I suspect part of the problem with the pricing comes from the fact that the arena was not built large enough for this city. We have 320 000 people in the region and do not have a single venue that can seat 12 000 to 15 000 people. The marginal cost of building SOFMC larger would not have been dramatic and should have been easily recoverable through more sales of tickets to events. More seats would have meant that the Salmon Kings could have been selling $10 tickets or even $8 tickets. For the city to love the team, more people have to be able see them.

Another problem with the Salmon Kings is that there is no way to follow their games if you do not go in person. There is no radio or TV coverage. If we still had CKDA, they would make a good radio venue for the team, but we do not and CFAX already has the Canucks. Maybe Shaw could be convinced to cover the games when they are here in town, or maybe a feed for bars. The UVic Vikes provide live webcasting. But without the chance to follow them like that, I can not get excited about minor minor leaguers no one has ever heard of.

What I find most bizzare is that there is huge focus by the TC on the Salmon Kings suddenly. Where was their coverage of UVic athletes? Or the world class athletes at the Pacific Sport Institute? The Vikes have consistently been a strong team in Men's and Women's basketball for almost 30 years now. The games are inexpensive to go to but attendance is light.
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