Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A column (and a correction)

In my Free Press column today, I went after the NCHC a little but. But, really, it was a call to the WCHA to start getting its own message out before it becomes the Island of Misfit Hockey Teams, as some (at least around Kato town) are fearing it will become.

Anyway, one issue I had with the NCHC was the fact that it was sending out weekly press releases, similar to that the WCHA does, touting the play of its teams. North Dakota sports information director and good guy Jason Hajdu told me via Twitter this morning that those releases were discontinued a few weeks ago. Thanks for the clarification. Consider this a correction.

But I'm going to ask my readers: What do you think the WCHA/Minnesota State need to do over the next year and a half to prepare for 2013-14? Any thoughts?


crossjcek said...

Many promotions to reduce ticket prices for games against unknown (to most casual fans in Mankato) opponents such as Bowling Green and Ferris State.
You need people in seats to help the atmosphere as we have seen with this horrible year of scheduling and sub-par performing.
I think if MSU can contend for a conference title with the likes of Ferris State and Lake Superior State ( both currently in the top 20) then people will come to watch a winner. The student section will be empty if the scheduling is similar to this year.
I think many go to games, not to watch MSU, but rather to see them play UM, UMD, ND, Wisc. Plus those schools fill seats with their own fans. We won't see many folks standing up when Northern Michigan scores a goal in the V center.
WCHA- I don't know. I think they are going to have trouble promoting without the big schools. I would like nothing more than to see a future WCHA school make a run at the end of the year and knock out nchc teams in the tourney

Todd said...

Schedule a lot of non-conference games against schools they will be playing against soon would help. Tout the real WCHA teams on the website more, leaving less and less off about the other teams who want to leave. Have an "Introduce the New Teams" weekly update on the website. Make sure you check with the real WCHA teams on scheduling next year and put the screws to those leaving (like MSU got this year). Find great promotions to help fill the seats in for the real WCHA teams (bobbleheads and other cool giveaways financially supported by the WCHA would help). Maybe help put some money forward to improve the real WCHA teams for next year (new video board at the VWC would be great) and leave the others in the lurch. These ideas could be implemented and show that the WCHA takes care of its own.

MSUMaverickFan said...

From a recruiting standpoint, the future looks extremely bright. The obvious talent and playmaking ability we're seeing from our freshman class (Lafontaine, Leitner, Gaede, Palmquist) Now add Bryce Gervias, who sits atop the BCHL in goals, (30) and Latvian playmaker Teddy Blueger to that mix and you have a dangerous looking team. I've said that before though. It's harnessing the talent which may prove to be an issue.

This year, in terms of fan support, has been a complete disaster. In my memory, it's an all-time low. The atmosphere at the games has been beyond dismal. I'm not going to say it's a result of Basketball scheduling either, enough excuses. It's no coincidence that this is happening on the heels of the NCHC announcement.

In my mind, there are two things that need to be done for Minnesota State to get out of this hole.

1.) Significant improvement of the arena. We've been over this, purple seats. Make it look like it's home to the Mavericks.

2.) Coaching change. Look no further than our Minnesota Wild and Mike Yeo for proof that coaching changes are often necessary to kickstart an organization. Or Backes' Blues who turned the corner after firing their coach mid season. Now I realize that the pro-ranks is a different animal, but take Dean Blais, who turned our Mavericks into the second best Mavericks in one year, and depending on how you look at it, took our spot in the new league. Our decision would not be made in haste, the sample size is there (over a decade with Troy). We need a winner, and a fresh voice to go along with our fresh start in a "new" league, and legislator willing, a new arena.

We can't expect change unless we make changes ourselves.

Hockey Girl said...

1. Lower ticket prices
2. What is MSU doing to promote the team? I don't live in Mankato anymore so I don't know what kind of advertising they are doing at home. But maybe they could reach out to alumni in the surrounding areas, especially the twin cities. Maybe offer alumni special discounts at a game or 2 during the season.
3. Continue to schedule non-conference games with some of the out-going WCHA teams, especially the Minnesota schools.
4. Bemidji, UMD and SCSU have all gotten state money to build new arenas or renovate. Maybe its time to for MSU to do the same for the Wireless center.
5. Get the students back in the seats. Have shuttle busses to and from campus on game nights.
6. WIN!!! It's been a long time since we've had a winning season, and even longer since we've been to the Final Five. People are more likely to come, no matter who the opponent is, when the team is on a hot streak.

MavFan said...

Although promotions & arena improvements would help somewhat, nothing will remedy our current problems like winning would. Whether it's more funding, a coaching change, or both, MSU must take measures that will produce wins. If the fans are going wild in a rockin' house while the Mavs are stickin' it to their opponents, nobody will notice that the arena is out of date. My solution to the red seats: cover them up with some butts!

VoiceOfReason said...

I'd start by inviting Mike Guentzel come down from the stands this weekend and hand him the keys to the program.

crossjcek said...

I was hoping that would happen when he left MN the first time but timing is everything and we still had (have) a contract that can't afford to be bought out. Love the idea though!