What I would like to see (Hockey Topic)

"And now... introducing YOUR Hamilton STEELHAWKS!!!!!!!!! Make some nooooise!"

ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE in Hamilton!!!

I am home on leave to say my "see you soons" and one of the things on my to-do list while home (Windsor) was to hit up a Windsor Spitfires game. My goodness the atmosphere was amazing!

The American hockey league is a great league don't get me wrong. But it's not a league designed to work in hockey markets. I know that doesn't make sense but hear me out...

  • Not MANY future super star players spend much time in the AHL. Maybe a season or a handfull of games... but it's mostly a league full of guys that will end up never playing any significant time in the NHL and/or end up as a career 3rd line player.

  • Player turnover is insane. It doesn't allow fans time to really get to know their team and it's players.

  • Nobody playing in the AHL really WANTS to be in the AHL.

  • What if you hate the team that provides players to your team? I HATE Montreal... so how can you really feel that the Bulldogs are YOUR team when they're supplying players to your "enemy"?

  • The OHL is a place for future superstars to SHINE! Rick Nash, Joe Thornton, John Tavares, Taylor Hall, Wayne Gretzky, Eric Lindros, Steve Stamkos, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Kane, etc... The OHL is a place where these players become part of your community and really develop into the superstars that they are. The AHL cannot boast a roster as great as the OHL.

  • The Memorial Cup is THE HARDEST trophy to win in all of hockey.

I think that Hamilton really needs an OHL team. The Mississauga Majors draw TERRIBLE numbers... move them to Hamilton... PLEASE. Or move the Niagara Icedogs (but please change their name).

C'MON HAMILTON... BRING THE OHL TO TOWN! (but my loyalty to the Spitfires will never change)

  • Hamilton Steelhawks
  • Hamilton Dukes
  • Hamilton Fincups
  • Hamilton Mustangs (Get Rob Lowe to be an honorary coach - lol)

Any thoughts?

We have a junior team in the Junior A league that no one goes to see. (Red Wings)

Our arena is too big for an OHL team. (The stupid curtain doesn't hide anything)

It has failed multiple times.

The funny thing, is that the points you make are similar to that of the CFL.

-lots of player turnover, year after year
-players not wanting to be here
-no super stars come up here (duds from the NFL come up here, turn into superstars and go back to the NFL)

You want a suggestion. I suggest if you want junior hockey there is Guelph Kitchener Mississauga Brampton and Niagara to choose from, all less than 1 hour away. The Dogs are here for 3 more years. Either support them or don't, just quit trying to torpedo them

Yup, I'd be on board. It's hard to beat a good OHL game, that's for sure.
Also, the Hamilton Red Wings pretty much draw smack-dab on the league average. In and around 300. Definitely no Chatham, Sarnia or Pembroke, but respectable. But, in a big market like this, with not only a lot of entertainment options, there's a pile of hockey options for a paying customer.

Chatham, where I used to hail from, supported their Jr. B team in droves -- well, when the team had decent local ownership. Often averaging well over 1,000 a game. However, there is nothing...and I mean NOTHING else to do out there. The next hockey option is 40 minutes west or about 70 minutes east. Must say though, it is pretty cool to see large, loud crowds packed into smallish, classic arenas going nuts about the local Jr. B team.

There is something cool about junior hockey -- especially the OHL/ CHL in this country that has the potential to captivate communities. There's something more honest about it, too, since it's not the pro's.

Plus, I find the hockey to be much more interesting and volatile than watching the pro's. The players make more mistakes and are far more intense and emotional -- meaning the emotion hasn't been 'coached' out of them yet. That can make for some majorly boneheaded plays and penalties, but it also adds drama.

Wouldn't be a bad compliment to a new NHL team :cowboy:

May as well just keep the Bulldogs, a team few care about in a league few care about because the city built an arena that doesn't work for either the AHL or OHL so I'd rather a team be here in some American league that few care about rather than our own league we control.

The city ran the OHL out of town with the "NHL is coming to Hamilton" Copps, they only have themsevles to blame on that one.

I'm sure they'll run Bob Young and the Tiger-Cats out of town sooner than later, wouldn't surprise me at all to be honest. Just some Canadian sports league, who cares eh city hall?

Since this is a topic of "What I would like to see (Hockey Topic): Well…I’d like to see the Bulldogs get 10,000 fans come out for every game. Show the team and the rest of the country that Hamilton supports hockey…fervently. I wish I lived in Hamilton so that I could attend the games. I went to one game last Christmas when my family and I were back for a visit and we had a great time. Of course…I’m also a Habs fan so I don’t mind showing their farm team my support.

Hamilton Red Wings

Danny Lawson
Freddie Speck
Eddie Hatoum
Eddie Bush

ahh, the memories

geeez, thanks for reminding me that I must now be officially old :lol:

I don't know, Earl. I'm hoping that sort of sentiment is changing. And I do think the city hallers understand the importance of people like Bob Young to Hamilton. I'd like to think so anyway!!

I also (and have stated before) that I think the OHL ran themselves out of town. Granted I don't know all the ins and outs, since I was pretty young when the OHL was last hear. To me, a lot of the city's memory/ apathy can be pointed squarely at that Memorial Cup year. Despite the Dukes blowing a collossal opportunity, it still marks as one of most well attended Memorial Cup finals (Oshawa vs. Kitchener).

yea slo, it's too bad what happened. Right now the OHL is so strong with London, Windsor and Kitchener, Ottawa a bit further up being the anchor right here in southern Ontario with great buildings perfectly suited to and then the smaller cities like Guelph and Sarnia etc. working nicely with this with great buildings of their own, just a bit smaller.

The beauty of the OHL is that they don't even need a successful Toronto based franchise to work!

When I want a great hockey atmosphere here in southern Ontario without the NHL, it is there with the OHL, you aren't attending a game like at Copps with 3000 people or so in a 17,000 arena, just comes across as not very exciting last time I went even though the quality of the hockey is great. OHL atmosphere kills it though in the centres where it works as I say.

Big time! Totally agree. I used to love going to that old Windsor Arena -- man, that was hockey. You do raise a good point though.
Look at Mississauga. It's a big city with a Jr. A team that gets ignored by the populace. They built something like the arena you describe (...albeit, those cookie-cutter, 5,000 seaters can't be compared to JLC) and they aren't exactly bursting with atmosphere either. Brampton as well. They could use a real cannon to celebrate Batallion goals on many nights.

I'm not saying either of those towns have the character and civic identity that Hamilton does -- and thus, getting people to cheer on the local boys might be much more difficult. But, I do know that those centres get passed over for headline events that land in Copps and ACC.

Man you ar batting 1000 today sloedrive. I agree that Hamilton would likely have the same type of junior attendance as those centers because frankly its not the NHL. At least our building gets some big time events they cannot draw

I don't get Misissauga and Brampton, no idea, 5000 seaters would seem to be great but I guess being so close to Toronto they get sucked into the "Leafs or nothing" propaganda, and I'm wondering if Hamilton is basically right in line there as well now?

Yes Earl it is, that is the primary reason the OHL failed twice in Copps and that the AHL has never taken off even if the Dogs have survived longer than any other Hamilton hockey franchise in the history of the city

Bah...post got torched...will try again.

I just don't think that the people of Brampton and Missy identify with their city the way people in Hamilton do. We do have our own history and identity that is unique -- and we also have a hockey history as well. So, we don't have the "Toronto-lite" type of apathy the real bedroom communities deal with. (Which is why I think a GTA NHL team would be fairly lukewarm compared to rallying around a team in Hamilton.)

The "Leafs or Nothing" is a natural thing for most in the province -- with regard to the NHL. Barrie, Owen Sound, Oshawa, etc., all would have major allegiances to the Leafs, but still get behind their local OHL team.

I still think that the Bulldogs could average 6 - 8,000 per game. They've been close -- though believe it was when the Oilers were the parent club. I remember them being at about 6k and were toying with bidding for the all-star game. I also find it funny that, aside from uniform colours, there wasn't much overly-Oilers cheerleading. When Montreal took over, almost in the heart of Hab-hating country, the C-H was everywhere. Dumb move.

I think I'm decently indicative of the Hamilton hockey fan. Has grown up cheering for the Leafs but would leave them in a heartbeat if/when Hamilton got an NHL team. And, given the Leaf issue, have little interest in anything to do with Montreal Canadiens.

Totally disagree. Poor management, poor marketing were reason’s 1 and 2. Everything else was tied for a distant 3rd.
If you field a team, in a year where you host the Memorial Cup – one of the most prestigious trophies in North America – that pulls off about 10 wins, then you don’t deserve the honour of having anyone watch your team.

Remember. Sports teams are a way of expressing civic pride. When the team that claims to represent your city serves up a collossal, national embarrassment then it gets, rightfully, rejected.

The Steelhawks had a decent folowing, but anecdotally had horrible marketing. In that, as a kid playing minor hockey in the city, had no idea when they played their games…virtually no exposure to the players or the rest of the league. Unless coach Bill Laforge was sending his players over the boards (again) to take on some less-tough team…not something that endeared the team to my parents, who would’ve been buying my tickets. Then, they fled for a cheaper lease/ rent in Niagara Falls.

Let’s also not forget that they played in an era well before the days of packed OHL arenas. That was around the time Ottawa was on their death bed, too.

And, if you want to go back to the FinCups and Red Wings, I’m pretty sure ‘lack of suitable/ uncondemned arena’ could shoulder much of the blame.

I just don’t think we should be too quick to jump all over the paying public.

Here's another opinion of mine...

Take a look at the OHL right now...

Windsor and Plymouth just completed their 2nd round series. Yeah, it was a 4-0 sweep... but the games we INTENSE! ANYTIME Windsor and Plymouth play it's a rock'n house.

Kitchener and London... Another great rivalry... game was won 8-7 last night in OT. Tell me that wouldn't have been a great game to attend!?!

The rivalries in the OHL and the history is amazing.

Honestly...

Who really cares about a Bulldogs - Monsters match up?

Oh yes, the history is fantastic for sure and having the ability to vie for Canada's great Memorial Cup. It's a real shame this city isn't in on this any longer.

I can't related to the AHL to be honest. When I was young, going to a London Knights game vs the Hamilton Red Wings was utterly fantastic growing up in London. In London when the playoffs came, we would go out to the London Gardens and lineup for tickets.

Again, unbelieveable. They should knock Copps down and build condos there and then build a great junior arena beside the new football stadium here.

Well, it would be nice to know what they're doing in places like Hershey, Chicago, Winnipeg and Providence to make it work.In the case of Chicago and Winnipeg, I know they have (or, used to have) a much more independent feel than other teams do. The same could be said for the longstanding teams like Hershey and Rochester. They have their own identies -- and when the parent club changes, the fans connection to the team doesn't change. Could anyone imagine the Rochester Americans changing to San Jose acqua/ teal?

What they should have done here was build Copps, obviously Hamilton needed a new arena at the time, but build it with one level so it held about 8,000 and build it with the design of a roof that was easily removed so they could build another tier should Hamilton have ever gotten an NHL team.

I just can't believe for the life of me why a city like Hamilton so close to 2 other NHL cities would build an arena thinking the NHL was going to drop a team on the doorstep because Ron Joyce was involved, or it was Hamilton or because the arena was built? I don't understand at all. They should have known that it would be difficult to get an NHL team being so close to Leafs and Sabres markets.