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Official: River Rats sold, will move to Charlotte


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#41 BCdevil

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 02:21 AM

Just a hunch on my part, really. I think having the team close by for development and travel purposes trumps attendance, sales, and logic in this case - but again, that's only me and only a general feeling I have.

I was a STH in Lowell for the first two seasons and I have to disagree with that assessment. First of all, Lowell is very close to Newark. Hockey people spend their lives traveling. 4-4.5 hrs is a quick car or train trip. Also, there is not all that much to do in Lowell for a young guy. Yes, it's close to Boston but not close enough to make it worth going to Boston regularly. It's easier for these guys to stay out of trouble and focus on hockey in Lowell. It pains me to say that Lowell is not a long term answer because I really enjoyed having seats there, but moving the AHL team to NJ would be a disaster as far as I am concerned.
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#42 skeeter

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 03:06 AM

Honest question: In the days of the Flyers/Phantoms/Titans (before changing the name to Devils and alienating a bunch of the Flyers fans who were supporting Trenton anyway), how well did each team draw?


As someone who's gone to games in Trenton since day 1 I can say the Titans drew extremely well for their first several years of existence. Friday and Saturday night games were always sold out, and the atmosphere was incredible. They actually added seats above the upper level behind the goals to accommodate more fans. You'd have Flyer, Devil, and Ranger fans sitting side by side by side and all cheering for the same team and getting along. Titan games used to be broadcast on CN8 once in a while and I remember them interviewing a visiting player and he said it was the most feared building in the league to play in.

Somewhere around 2004 or so the crowds began to thin. I think season ticket holders were beginning to get upset with management but I'm not sure. What struck me as weird was the lockout year when you'd think the place would be packed with fans starving for hockey and it was actually pretty empty all season. Their cup run that year kept me sane and is a great memory for me. They even got Bob Arsena to do many of their playoff games and Raymond Foose to sing the national anthem.

Anyway, it just got worse from there, and now is downright depressing going to games there. They were bragging tonight on their twitter that they won in front of the largest crowd of the season tonight. It was a crowd of 3600 people. They used to draw twice that every Friday night as the Titans.
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#43 DevilinLA

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 03:40 AM

If i read that right, are you saying Mass. started having a strong culture of hockey because of 1980 and the Bruins of that time?

I disagree strongly. Mass. was a hotbed of hockey long before that.

Of course you are right SPJ - there's a long history of it.
I'm just saying that when the 1980 miracle game hit, every kid in MASS was on skates.
Having grown up in MASS, every kid I knew was into hockey. Probably similar reaction nationwide.
I'm just saying people in MA appreciate hockey at any level.
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#44 FlyerCub

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:10 PM

Why do people think Trenton is "Flyers Country"? Last I checked Trenton is in Mercer county which is in Central Jersey. not South. Trenton isn't as close to Philly as you think it is. By your logic Lowell is "Bruins Country"


It's in a part of NJ where the team loyalties begin to split but I don't think it's as far from Philly as you think and it does count as "local" for some people who are in definite Flyers territory (Bucks County, especially the Yardley/Morrisville areas just across the river). It's approximately 13 miles for me to go to Trenton and about an extra 10 miles to get to South Philly although the drive times are comparable without traffic. The Sun National Bank Center is slightly closer to the Wachovia Center than it is to the Rock.

I used to go to a few games a year when they were the Titans but I think I've only been back twice since the Devils took over. If the Devils ever moved their AHL affiliation to Trenton, that might actually be enough to draw me in since the Phantoms moved out of the area and it would be the closest chance to see AHL prospects. The ECHL games alone without a rooting interest unfortunately aren't a strong enough draw for me.
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#45 bostondevil11

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 11:16 PM

I'm just saying people in MA appreciate hockey at any level.


I don't know about that so much now. The Bruins are an after thought here right now. I struggle to find people to talk hockey with.
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#46 PeteyNice

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 12:38 AM

The only reason the team is still in Lowell is because they have a sweetheart deal with the arena. When that expires I see no reason why they wouldn't move the team to Trenton. They can draw flies in Trenton just as well as they can draw flies in Lowell (both teams average around 2k). As for the travel considerations, the Hurricanes want to move their prospects to Charlotte!
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#47 MDPucks

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 11:59 AM

I lived in the North Shore of Mass for 8 years and still travel up there often. Boston/Eastern Mass are huge with the Bruins and have seen a revival in interest since the insane Montreal-Boston Game 6 of 2008 after a down period where the franchise was mired in mediocrity and public relations hell. The truth is nobody in the Merrimack Valley and/or Eastern Massachusetts cares about a non-Bruins affiliated AHL hockey team especially when they can drive to Providence to see the Baby B's. Anybody who needs a spectator hockey fix can get it with college hockey at BU, BC, Harvard, UMass, UML, Merrimack, UNH, and Providence College which are all within 90 minutes' drive. Lowell has always been a terrible AHL market and Tsongas Arena has been a white elephant from the moment it opened.

Manchester works because while people in NH are "New England" fans there is a provincial "New Hampshire" rooting interest locally (similar to UConn fans that live in Fairfield County), Worcester kinda works thanks to it being the most populous city in New England and its toughest to get into Boston from the west, Providence works because they're the Baby B's.

Edited by mdsieve, 24 January 2010 - 11:59 AM.

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#48 NCDevsFan

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 12:21 PM

Worcester kinda works thanks to it being the most populous city in New England...



At least after Providence and Boston...
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#49 PeteyNice

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 01:12 PM

At least after Providence and Boston...


Worcester is bigger population wise than Providence.
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#50 Shtikl

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 01:21 PM

Worcester is bigger population wise than Providence.


Not drawing that well, though. AHL says they're 3rd-worst in the league, just above Springfield and, of course, Lowell.
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#51 NCDevsFan

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 01:23 PM

Worcester is bigger population wise than Providence.



Indeed. Just looked it up. Not sure why I thought Providence had more. Maybe at one time...

Edited by NCDevsFan, 24 January 2010 - 01:24 PM.

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#52 MDPucks

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 06:17 PM

Not drawing that well, though. AHL says they're 3rd-worst in the league, just above Springfield and, of course, Lowell.


Springfield is only still an AHL market because the league offices are there. Its a dying rust-belt city that is being fled in droves by people with disposable income for either Eastern Mass or the Southern US. There is a very good hockey tradition and hockey population in the towns around Springfield, however, the Falcons have stunk with terrible affiliations since the Whalers left (Tampa, Phoenix, Edmonton) over the last decade. Plus the most entertaining hockey product in that area is now at UMass which draws 5K-8K depending on the opponent and if the students are in session.
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#53 RSC

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 05:59 PM

Wysh wrote a good article on Puck Daddy today about the Rats' possible move: http://sports.yahoo....?urn=nhl,215619
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#54 Prucenterrules

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:05 PM

I'm surprised more teams don't move their AHL teams closer.
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#55 manbearpig

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 12:44 AM

I'm surprised more teams don't move their AHL teams closer.


Man, I know this is a total pipe dream, but the current capacity at Tsongas Arena is just under 6,500 and the current capacity of the largest rink at Mennen Arena in Morris Township is 2,500. I don't know how much they fill up in Massachusetts, but from what I read and hear, it can't be much. The main rink at Mennen could use a bit of an update from my experience of playing there; it's a rink that hasn't been updated since my uncle played high school hockey back in the 70's. A bit of an investment by the devils to upgrade the place (it has three rinks and other pro/semi-pro sports teams playing there), and seating for 4,000 would be awesome. The rink is within five minutes of Routes 24, 287, 202, 53, 10, ten minutes of Route 80 & 15 minutes of Route 78. Again, it's a total pipe dream, but it's in the heart of Morris, Essex, Union and Somerset Counties and I know that area could support the $10-$15 tickets afforded to an AHL team. Besides, how awesome would it be to have our prospects within 20 miles of the big club?
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#56 DevilinLA

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 03:46 AM

I still don't get how some folks can't look past their own selfish desires regarding moving the AHL club closer.
Let's been honest, this team is having a rough go supporting its own building.... yet some people still want to dilute the cash flow into the Rock with other options.

Again, I think one reason most NHL clubs keep their AHL clubs at a distance is it does gives the younger players the opportunity to have THEIR OWN fanbase and identity(albeit small), and to develop without the constant pressure and expectations of the NHL fanbase and surrounding media.

I (seriouslly and not sarcastically) am interested in hearing logic for moving the AHL club to NJ other than how cool it would be for those in NJ.

I don't buy that Lou wants to drive to yet another location in NJ, weekly or daily to watch players develop. If he can't trust his son to GM the baby devs....he wouldn't still be there.

Edited by DevilinLA, 26 January 2010 - 03:47 AM.

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#57 DaneykoIsGod

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 09:13 AM

I still don't get how some folks can't look past their own selfish desires regarding moving the AHL club closer.
Let's been honest, this team is having a rough go supporting its own building.... yet some people still want to dilute the cash flow into the Rock with other options.


You seem to think big league and minor league clubs compete for the same dollars, and they don't. If they did, the seven (seven!) minor league baseball teams in New Jersey would have failed because there are three major league teams within driving distance of all of them.

People who go to minor league games are looking for something relatively cheap and local to kill some time. People who go to big league games plan and budget for it months in advance. Saying minor league teams compete for the same dollar as big league teams is like saying opening a movie theater will discourage people from going to the city for a big concert. Don't get bogged down by the fact that they're playing the same sport, the scale of the two events is incomparable. Going to see the AHL club five minutes from my house is not gonna give me my Brodeur/Parise/Elias fix, but for me it's better than spending that money at a bowling alley, local bar, pool hall, etc.

Trenton was doing fine until they changed the team name to something that most people in Trenton could never root for. Atlantic City failed because it's freakin' Atlantic City. Even their baseball team folded. A well-placed, well-managed team would do just fine in New Jersey. I mentioned Lakewood (even though it's already been shot down) because I'm confident it would have worked. The BlueClaws play across the street from where the arena would have gone and they break SAL attendance records every year.
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#58 slimegoat

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 09:25 AM

Didn't the Phantoms draw well at the Spectrum? And, that was across the street from the Flyers.
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#59 DaneykoIsGod

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 09:40 AM

Didn't the Phantoms draw well at the Spectrum? And, that was across the street from the Flyers.


Yep. And broadening it again to minor leagues in general, the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees do pretty well even though they're both in New York City, which already has two major league teams.

Both literally and figuratively, they're just in a whole other league.
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#60 bostondevil11

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 09:46 AM

Yep. And broadening it again to minor leagues in general, the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees do pretty well even though they're both in New York City, which already has two major league teams.

Both literally and figuratively, they're just in a whole other league.



It can effect the big club I won't spend money on the Bruins anymore ecept for Devils games. They priced me out so now I go to college and Lowell. The Flyers were able to have their farm team next door because they sold out pretty much every Flyers game. I think it would be bad for the Devils to have their team too close to Newark.

It is also hard to compair baseball and hockey since baseball is a MUCH more popular sport esspecially in NY.
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