After a really interesting discussion on the 1250 facebook page, i decided to put my thoughts down on the idea of the NHL in the Brew City (now accepting team names...)
Would an NHL team succeed in Milwaukee? While I don't think the timing is right in 2013, I think its an interesting discussion. The NHL surely doesn't need to expand. This league needs expansion like it needs another lockout. I mean, here's 6 teams i'd cross off the NHL landscape without worry: Phoenix, Tampa, Florida, Carolina, Columbus and one of the teams in California. So coming to Milwaukee is not likely. As a matter of fact, The Blackhawks would have to 1st give the "ok" to allow Milwaukee to have a team in the vicinity.
But could this town support an NHL team? I don't know. No, the Admirals don't sell out a single game that doesn't include a concert, but they're an AHL team. They're a MINOR LEAGUE TEAM. Would an NBDL sellout in ANY city? Nope. Milwaukee doesn't exactly sell out the BC for Bucks games not involving Lebron or Kobe...or Marquette games when Syracuse, Notre Dame or Georgetown isn't around. Yes, you'd have your core fans but what happens if the local team isn't any good? Would ANYONE go?
I wonder how the sports dollar would get stretched in the brew city. I'm not saying Milwaukeeans are cheap, let's call them "frugal". The biggest complaint I hear about the Bucks?? Ticket prices are too high. BTW-The Bucks have the CHEAPEST ticket in the NBA, and well, like the NBA, NHL tickets aren't cheap. In comparison, the cheapest Blackhawks ticket is about 85 at the United Center in Chicago, but yes- that's chicago. The cheapest Bulls ticket at Bulls.com?? $61. You and I both know you can get into the BC for a Bucks game cheaper than $61, so Brew City Hockey would be more affordable too.
Is hockey a draw in Wisconsin? Ummmm....not sure. It surly is in Madison. The Badgers pack the Kohl Center. High school hockey is growing in popularity, but that's HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY. How many hockey fans do you REALLY know? BE HONEST....Not many. Would the allure of an NHL team get out of towners to come downtown? Not a few thousand...18,000?? Would cheeseheads learn the neutral zone trap? Dump & Chase? Icing? Could you embrace Barry Melrose? Hockey night in Canada? wait- let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Sorry hockey fans. I love the "coolest game on ice" but it's probably a pipe dream to get a team up here.
Oh and one more thing: Dear NHL, give cable subscribers the NHL Center Ice package for free for the shortened season. It would go a long way to a pissed off fan base that you've cut in half (maybe more) for the 2nd time in 7 years.