Love for hockey growing in the southeast...

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by Laus723, Dec 13, 2006.

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  1. Laus723

    Laus723 25 years and counting, suckas! Sponsor

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    Good article in the Sun-Sentinel about how hockey is really reaching the youth in South Florida.
    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/...13,0,3594538.column?coll=sfla-sports-panthers

    Hockey has been in the north for well over 100 years, for obvious reasons, and is very new to the south. I was 5 years old during the 1980 Olympic 'miracle' and remember mom going crazy cheering on the US to beat Russia. She used to watch the Rangers games on the New York channel we got pre-cable. I used to want to watch the A-team or Dukes of Hazard, she watched hockey. I fell for the game, but there was nowhere close to play, and certainly nowhere to watch.

    Today, there are hockey rinks all over the place it seems, kids are getting excited about the game and want to play it instead of basketball, baseball, and football, and have the pro team to be able to see it up close. As much as I liked the game, it wasn't until I saw it in person that I fell for it. Kids here today have opportunities I never had when I was their age, it's awesome...I love watching this game grow!
     
  2. Fugu

    Fugu Guest

    This paragraph from the Sun-Sentinel article stood out for me, and I wonder how many diehards here were first exposed to hockey as kids? It goes without saying for the Canadians, but what about the Americans? I started watching hockey as a kid, as I grew up in an Original 6 city and my favorite uncle was a big fan.



    Is this the way to go for younger franchises? Very heavy focus on getting the parents to bring in the kids?
     
    Last edited by moderator : Dec 13, 2006
  3. missK

    missK Registered User

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    Yes, yes and yes. Hook the kids with the excitement & speed and the parents come along for the ride! That's why the growth of youth hockey is sooo terribly important to any type of new pro hockey team (doesn't have to be just NHL).

    The teams have to get involved in promoting and supporting youth hockey, it's the feeder for new young fans who can purchase tickets for a long time. And I'm not just talking about Ice Hockey but roller hockey and street hockey leagues too. Especially in warmer climates street hockey is the perfect compliment for the lack of ice rinks/ice time. Street Hockey can also be more affordable for parents because it requires less equipment and circumvents high prices for ice time. And you can play in sneakers!
     
  4. MiamiScreamingEagles

    MiamiScreamingEagles A Fistful of Dollars

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    This is probably one of those "you had to be there to understand" moments but I was in the Galleria (a 2-minute walk to Fort Lauderdale Beach) about 10 nights ago. In the clothing section of Dillard's, I saw a mom with her son. He was wearing an oversized Panthers' jersey, a Panthers' cap and carrying a hockey stick -- through the store:) . It was funny in a way but in that one instance a very good sign.
     
  5. GSC2k2*

    GSC2k2* Guest

    There is no evidence that this is true, despite it apparently being an article of faith around here.

    None whatsoever.
     
  6. XX

    XX Sticky Icky Icky

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    You don't think soccers popularity has anything to do with its accessibility?
     
  7. Fugu

    Fugu Guest

    What do you think, GC? I'm fairly certain you're Canadian so would've been exposed to hockey a long time ago. I also know a lot of Canadians who don't care much about hockey too- just like there are a lot of Americans who don't bother with some or any of the pro sports. The question goes back to the reporter's comment that the way to build was through the kids. I wondered what other people thought about that comment.
     
  8. Sotnos

    Sotnos Registered User

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    In terms of building a fan base, sure you want to encourage bringing kids to games. There are definitely plenty of kids that are just there to eat (or that's what it looks like anyway), but there are also a lot who follow the action. To me it's more important from a creating fans standpoint to get them to watch games than it is to get them playing.

    Again though, this takes YEARS, and not the 5 years that so many of our friends to the north demand.
     
  9. KeydGV21

    KeydGV21 Registered User

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    You know, in the case of Florida who's now been around for 13 years kids who were of a prime age to become attracted to them from the start (6-13) are now 19-26, entering a prime age for being a fan of the team and most importantly being a ticket buyer (especially season tickets)….while still a small part of the overall population the number of people who had the chance to grow up with the Panthers is only getting larger. I’ll admit that winning 1 playoff game in 10 years doesn’t help matters but it is getting dangerously close to the point where a team and it’s fan base can fairly be judged.
     
  10. kdb209

    kdb209 Registered User

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    I agree. Any comparison between youth Hockey and Soccer w.r.t. interest in the professional sport is way off base.

    Based on my experience (nieces & nephews, friends, friends' kids, a couple of stints helping friends who coach, etc in California, New York, Boston, and DC), many/most kids who play soccer do not have much of an interest in the professional sport, and those who do are as likely to follow European soccer as they do the MSL. On the other hand, all the kids I know who plays youth hockey (both ice and roller) are NHL fans, with favorite teams, and favorite players.
     
  11. Jazz

    Jazz Registered User

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    How can there not be some correlation to it?

    Many people don't follow hockey simply because they can't relate to it, the skating, the rules etc.

    Those that play youth hockey can relate, and are thus more likely to be fans in the future.
     
  12. EbencoyE

    EbencoyE Registered User

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    The youth is definately the key for success. Soccer is exploding is popularity because it's the most played youth sport in the U.S. The same with Lacrosse, the fastest growing sport in America. The NLL and MLL are on the rise, as are high school and college programs.

    Hockey reached it's peak in the 90's because of the sudden rise in youth interest and kids actually playing hockey. Roller hockey and Street hockey became popular and allowed for hockey to be played in more locations for a cheaper price and it was alot easier than finding and paying for ice. Ice rinks and youth hockey also exploded in numbers with the expansion of the NHL to southern markets.

    Minor league hockey also played a big role. Minor league hockey got me into the sport. I lived in a small mountain town without much to do after football season. So my family went to minor league hockey games occasionally. I got interested and started following the NHL (as much as a little kid could).

    And thanks to the town's hockey team, we had an ice rink built not far from my house for the pro team to practice on. This led to the creation of a youth program which I eventually joined and began a life of playing and loving hockey that I haven't quit on yet.

    Unfortunately, to this day, that pro team left town, the ice rink went bankrupt, and the youth program is gone. This is happening in alot of places around the country. I've moved since then and even in the more populated area I live in now, rinks are closing - and FAST. Youth programs are dying, there are few opportunities to play, minor league teams fold after a few seasons and don't keep the local interest.

    It definately has an effect. Anyone who thinks otherwise is mistaken. The lack of attention given to the youth in recent years is having a bad impact on hockey and the NHL.

    But it's hard to give the youth attention it needs when you can't even get the NHL on mainstream TV.
     
  13. missK

    missK Registered User

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    Maybe in your world you believe it's not true but I have lived in two different states (one north and one south) where it was TRUE. I lived it, I was there and you obviously weren't. Your loss.

    P.S. The hockey culture in Canada and the US are totally different so you can't compare them at all.
     
  14. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    They were suggesting recently that ottawa had more youth participation in soccer than hockey. It was hard to believe at first. But there are more i know now than i ever knew before who watch the premiere soccer leagues.

    In Canada, i would guess many of our top athletes play hockey. It would seem there has to be more than just the fact many play it though to grow the pro games tv ratings, there must also be some cachet with the pro league.
     
  15. GSC2k2*

    GSC2k2* Guest

    Yes, I am Canadian, and no, I don't think it has the slightest bit of correlation. I believe a study was done indicating that there was no material increase in fandom where hockey programs were instituted, but I have no link.

    Study or not, however, it is intuitively not the case. What interests the 10 year old boy or girl is just as likely to be of no interest to that person when they fgrow up as not.
     
  16. GSC2k2*

    GSC2k2* Guest

    I always laugh at people who say "well it was this way for me, so it must be true".

    Therefore, I must laugh.
     
  17. Laus723

    Laus723 25 years and counting, suckas! Sponsor

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    Well, since it was that way for them, it is therefore truth, for them, so therefore...it is true. Be it for them or not, the fact remains that there are a lot more places to play and a lot more increase in interest and love for the game than there was 15 years ago.

    I always laugh when people try to be witty and just wind up looking foolish.

    Therefore, I must laugh.
     
  18. Sotnos

    Sotnos Registered User

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    I see what you mean, but being that I'm not a Panther fan, they can defend themselves. :D I think you hit the nail on the head about the lack of success though, it certainly doesn't help.

    I'm wondering where this is, if you don't mind saying. It's the opposite in the Tampa area. I'm getting the feeling you're talking about someplace people are moving out of as opposed to moving in to.
     
  19. GSC2k2*

    GSC2k2* Guest

    Don't try to match wits with me, chum.

    If it helps you clue in to my original intent, I will modify my earlier statement to read:

    "I always laugh at people who say "well it was this way for me, so it must be universally true".

    Does that help?

    Oh, and by the way, go steal someone else's material. Alternatively, at least be a little more subtle about it.

    Hmmm, after months of boredom on this board, I am starting to feel a little feisty ...
     
  20. Sotnos

    Sotnos Registered User

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    Uh oh :(
     
  21. Laus723

    Laus723 25 years and counting, suckas! Sponsor

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    And yet still I say...

    I always laugh when people try to be witty and just wind up looking foolish.

    Therefore, I must laugh.

    You're just embarrassing yourself...chum, especially since you missed the original intent of the thread, and what I was saying in my previous post, just to try to look all witty.(see above)
     
  22. GSC2k2*

    GSC2k2* Guest

    I got your original point, pedantic as it was. I had no problem with it. I was responding to the logical leap that someone else made. They put a spin on your original point in stating that youth hockey has anything to do with developing a fanbase for any market. In fact, if anything your point was the reverse of theirs. From your post, it would appear that the influx of hockey leads to the youth being interested in playing, whereas the poster to whom I was responding was assuming that kids playing hockey leads to increased fandom in a market.

    Repeating my original line did not make it more amusing. Repeating it twice makes it even less so. You are now exploring the edges of plagiarism.
     
  23. KeydGV21

    KeydGV21 Registered User

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    You are aware that he was just stating that just because it's true one place doesn't make it true everywhere else right? I'm afraid it's you that is embarassing themselves.
     
  24. EbencoyE

    EbencoyE Registered User

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    I think Tampa is an exception considering hockey has found a good following in the area thanks to the Lightning. And as this article proves, it's the same in South Florida thanks to the Panthers. (Though I'm pretty well connected with youth hockey in Tampa too, and it didn't seem very much more promising there. They only have 2 arenas over there to my knowledge. And the youth programs aren't any better than in my area.)

    Oddly, both the areas I was talking about are growing population-wise. The small town I moved from up north is a growing college town bringing in more kids from all over the country every year. Yet ice hockey is totally dead in that city now. (Roller hockey is still played some, though.)

    And I live in Florida now. North of Orlando. And the Orlando/Daytona/Jacksonville areas are definately growing areas. Yet hockey is on the decline in these parts of Florida.

    There's only two ice arenas and one indoor roller hockey rink in the Orlando area now. There used to be two indoor roller rinks in just my suburb alone along with very good youth programs which are completely gone now. All that's left are outdoor pubilc roller rinks. Youth ice hockey is getting worse too, prices are rising and interest is falling. And the local youth team used to be a AAA program, but now only has Tier II AA as it's highest level.

    There were also plans for building an ice rink around here about 5 years ago. But obviously that didn't work out. If it wasn't for the local Florida Seals minor league team, and the wealthy owners of RDV, there probably wouldn't be ANY ICE AT ALL in the Orlando area.
     
  25. Bear of Bad News

    Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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    He didn't say or imply that.

    If you say that there is no evidence, and he provides evidence (whether it's based on his experiences or not), then he's proven that you're wrong.
     

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