Due to some lagging ticket sales, St. Cloud is offering a 2-for-1 ticket special for both of their games this weekend against Minnesota-Duluth. It highlights a growing problem for St. Cloud. Tickets for the Duluth series were $30. I hate to say it, but I've been to many college hockey games, and many of them in St. Cloud, and very rarely is it worth $30 a game. It seems a lot of people in St. Cloud agree. St. Cloud's athletic department has had their share of financial troubles in recent years and need to make as much money as they can with one of their(only?) profitable program. And insane ticket prices aren't a St. Cloud specific problem. You could pick just about any WCHA team and make that argument.
I guess the question is: when did this shift happen in college hockey where schools decided they were big enough that they didn't need to grow the sport anymore and decided to milk as much out of their diehard fanbase as possible? Tickets that cost as much as three movie tickets and television deals with specialty cable channels doesn't grow the sport at all, in a sport that still has plenty of room to grow. Like many of the issues with college hockey we've discussed, this one seems to come back to the people running the sport being thoroughly convinced at how great they are, but unable or unwilling to convince anyone not already enthralled with the sport how great it is.
This is long, and basketball-y, but the great John Gasaway has a very in-depth piece about how the NCAA created the Ratings Percentage Index in the early 1980's, a form of which is used to calculate the NCAA hockey tournament field today.
Via Bruce Ciskie, it appears that now both NCAA semifinals will only be shown on ESPNU/ESPN3, while the final game will be shown on ESPN2. It's disappointing, and we can all bemoan ESPN's treatment of hockey coverage, but most of it boils down to simple economics, and the truth is ESPN can show just about anything else and get better, or least equal at cheaper cost, ratings.
Former Wisconsin Badger Blake Geoffrion was traded from Nashville to Montreal two weeks ago, and now has been called up by the Canadiens, which would make him the fourth generation to play for the Canadiens.Geoffrion will reportedly wear the number 57, honoring both his grandfather Bernie Geoffrion and great-grandfather Howie Morenz, who wore numbers 5 and 7 respectively, both of which have been retired by the Canadiens.
No link, because I don't think the concept of the printed word has made it to Quebec yet, but American Brandon Shea, who was pegged to be a star on this year's NTDP U17 team and had committed to Boston College, has reportedly left Moncton and gone home. It's too late in the year for Shea to go anywhere else, so it looks like he'll sit out the rest of the year and then wait to be traded or head to the USHL.
Meanwhile, ESPN hockey blogger--seriously--Mike Hume tweeted this stat that since 1996, only 26% of NHL 2nd round draft picks play at least 82 games in the NHL. That's a pretty harrowing statistic, especially for players that give up college eligibility, convinced they'll play in the NHL.
Momentum is picking up to ban fighting at amateur levels. It's ironic to see a piece like that come out at this time of year, when we're getting closer to most important games of the season, the playoffs, where, for some reason, the most important, untouchable facet of the game pretty much drops off.