Here are my hopes:
I think that most of those teams are probably not viable.. Asheville and Tallahasee excluded. What you will probably see over the next few years is an exodus from the ECHL due to travel costs. three of the four Carolina teams have to make massive road swings to the California coast this year. Charlotte and Charleston (Stingrays) can probably afford it, Low rent, High attendance. Columbia, Greenville,Augusta and Pensacola are hurting. THe UHL is trying to get out of the south (they have called it a mistake and say that hockey is a fad here.) There are a few other cities looking for teams, but are considered unviable by other leagues.
Jacksonville (may suspend for a year.. but should return quickly)
I mention Baltimore only because they have supported an AHL team before but have been passed over by the UHL and ECHL for teams .. I know personally that there are two ownership groups looking for a league.. it would be contingent on the sphl expanding no further south than Kissimee. if Balt comes in that would put all the teams within a 15 hour bus trip. Not bad.. better if you split them up and limit inter division play. All teams would be far enough away from each other to not draw off each others attendance.
so back to minor leagues list....
Originally Posted by Minor League Man
Here are my hopes:
Chesapeake - Home of the AHL admirals
Greensboro- Major rent issues with arens
Asheville- Brubaker's an idiot but he may be right here
Winston-Salem - If ashville doesn't pan out.. but not both.
Kannapolis - lets see how they do with an aifl team first
Myrtle Beach - currently pee-dee
Macon - the thrashers ut the nail in this coffin
Athens - would follow in macons footprints
Savannah - if augusta just folds albany or savannah may pick up the renains
Rome - see athens
Albany - see savanna
Birmingham - Maybe.. but the bulls fell bad. it would take a lot of work
Mobile -arena suffered horrible damage in katrina. may never see light of day again plus Biloxi getting thier team back...
Chattanooga - too close to knoxville
Memphis - CHL team already there...
Tallahassee - probably in works
Daytona Beach - Too close to J'ville
Lakeland - Too close to failing KIsimme franchise
Just my opinion.
Pee Dee is completely revisited, has a new owner and a new budget, and a strong marketing campaign for "group sales" next year.
The two Florida teams, also, have revised their budgets, trimmed some fat off them, and also are revamping their marketing stategy.
Too most people, surviving on attendence of 1,500 people - would seem imposible; but not when you consider the "low cost" of doing business in the SPHL.
Firstly, the distance to travel in the SPHL is small, and at a cost $2.50 per mile for a motor coach - it can add up. Also many of the teams have only about a 11 or 12 overnighters, which also helps cut costs.
An SPHL team can survive on attendence of 1,500 when the salary cap is adhered to, and there is good Corporate sponsership.
Often times Corporations will make large group purchases; but not attend. Some teams announce big attendence; but they've given the tickets away, or sold them cheap. So attendence isn't always the best way to measure a team's economic stability.
And, we never know what kind of deal the team has - with the Arena.
The SPHL is not likely to expand past 12 teams. This makes it a good investment for prospective investors. Travel and costs will be kept to a minimum. Value will be built into the franchises as a consequence.
Perhaps the SPHL will start using younger players. Top Canadian, US and European Junior stars - this will make it a faster more entertaining brand of Hockey, and also cheaper too, as for example, top Canadian Junior players only get "room and board" and in some instances a "University deal" for when they quit playing. However, it is usually only NHL "can't miss" prospects, that get the deal.
So to get "room and board" a daily "per diem", and a couple hundred a week isn't too bad a deal for a 16, 17, or 18 year old Hockey player. And, they generally play with a lot more enthuisasm than an older guy that has kicked around the Cent' UHL or ECHL, for five or ten years, and is sick and tired of being in a bus for 2 1/2 months per year, sleeping over seats, and eating rotten food.
Don't forget that a lot would prefer to play in a League with a warm climate. It beats traveling for weeks on end, all over cold ravished Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec and points east! As best as I can remember young guys like scantily clad chics in bikinis, and I don't think ya see many of them on the long bus rides through wintery Canada.
All in all, look for the SPHL to prosper in the next few years.
When I was 16, 17, 18 - I was only 160 lbs. I would be surprised if anyone in Major Junior Hockey in Canada is less than that. In fact I would bet that most are 200 lbs. In the WHL, I hear these "kids" are on road trips for up to three weeks. I think that tends to seperate the men from the boys.
You may have a point; but you may also underestimate the skill levels of CHL (Major Junior) players. I know an older guy who just retired from the AHL last year. He played in every league there was in North America, and he said the teams always go for Major Junior players because they "are more proffesional".
I see a lot of guys in the Cent' and SPHL that played "Provincial Jr. A", and no disrespect to them, but frankly it isn't really a fair comparison. I've heard that the Alberta, and Saskatchewan Provincial Jr. is better than Ontario's but I don't know for sure. In essence, an 17-18 year old out of Major Junior is going to be quite a bit better than a 21 year old out of Provincial Jr. A.
It is just my opinion; but I think that if the SPHL had an age limit of 23-25, and reduced the cap a bit, and got better refs - they would be better recieved.