Saturday, September 29, 2012

Its been quite a while......

Yes I know I have become a slacker when it comes to this blog. 
This is a hockey blog.  There is no NHL season.  That doesn't mean that hockey has died.  Hockey is alive and well in many places worldwide. The NHL players are skipping town in most cases and giving us a world hockey education in the process.  If the time change is too much to handle in watching the KHL, Elitserien, SM-Liiga then there are plenty of leagues right here. 
You have ECHL, AHL, CHL, FHL, NCAA all as choices of hockey to watch.
 With the NHL being closed for business your top league is going to be the AHL.  Tickets in most of these teams are much more reasonable in price than their NHL counterparts.  The atmosphere is generally very kid friendly.  Many teams do special nights geared specifically for kids. Plus the hockey is still pretty good.  The overrall bonus is that you get to know some future players for your NHL team which could help you in fantasy hockey down the road.
The next level down is the ECHL.  This level will also have some of your NHL teams prospects and many who are just trying to work their way up to the show.  I have seen some really good ECHL games and some really bad ECHL games.  This level is much more likely to be a brawl filled game.  Their existing fan bases are quite passionate as well.  Still very worth watching and highly recommended. 
Then the next pro level is the FHL.  This tends to be more regional in focus.  For me this is close.  There may be another similarly leveled league close to you.  These guys aren't playing at this level for the money.  Truly the ones working hard to get just up to the next level. 
The hockey isn't bad the fighting is frequent.  These games can be highly entertaining. 
Then you go to amateur levels such as the CHL and NCAA.  Canadian Junior hockey is great.  Often you can watch their games online and it is truly exciting.  Sometimes it can be a bit rough but you will definitely enjoy seeing these young guys leave it all on the ice.  College hockey can go either way.  Some teams are club vs being an actual sport for a particular school.  Most programs the teams are decent and can help those in need of a hockey fix. 

Truly I am disappointed as an NHL fan that this lockout is happening.  My gut feeling is that this will be a lost season.  I can understand it from the players perspective.  They are not the types to roll over and play dead.  These are the guys we root for night after night year after year.  They are tough.  Many seem to have planned in advance where they would pick up some money this season to wait things out.  The players were prepared this time to go toe to toe with the commissioner and his tactics.  We the fans are just bystanders in all this battle.  We have a voice too.  Except that is not what either side will listen to, our voices.  What really and truly gets their attention is revenue.  That is right the money.  My recommendation is to spend less money on the NHL if and when it returns.  Do not buy gear.  Do not buy full season ticket plans.  Do not get center ice.  This is what will get their attention.  If we do not all do this as a hockey fan community what is happening right now will happen over and over and over again because the owners think that it doesn't matter if they lock their players out our fans are loyal and they always come back.  The owners see us as easy targets to get money from now and always.  Personally I don't want to be anyone's easy target.  I would rather see my money go to the ECHL & AHL then to continue to give money to the NHL.   We all know how much an empty arena makes a statement.  I think that is the statement we need to make to the NHL if this whole season indeed becomes lost. 

Thanks for visiting. 

I will hopefully have some hockey adventures to AHL cities near and far this season.  Plus maybe a few lower leagues too.