Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Penguins Should Head North
The NHL is a funny entity and a complete mess amongst the 4 major professional leagues in the North America today. Sure they took a year of to provide the owners with cost certainty in an effort to actually have some interest in owning and partaking in NHL management. The year off comes at the time when arguably the best hockey player since Wayne Gretzky is able to join the NHL elite. Sidney Crosby is thrown into a team draft to determine who will get the #1 draft choice and Crosby’s services for the next 7 years. To no ones surprise he winds up in Pittsburgh along side the former savior of the city, Mario Lemuix. Could Crosby really ask for a better teacher and mentor other than being drafted by Phoenix and sent under the tutelage of ‘The Great One’ himself?
The Pittsburgh Gaming Control Board has almost certainly sealed the fate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. To some surprise the PGCB gave the gaming license to PITG Gaming Majestic Star instead of the heavily favoured Isle of Capri who were hand in hand with the Pittsburgh Penguins to not only keep the team in the city, but were also going to take the entire bill for a new arena in Pittsburgh. The city and the team desperately need this new arena.
Is this really a surprise? Is anyone in USA surprised that it was not a given that the IoC did not receive the nod for a gaming license even though they were going to purchase a new arena. Does anyone in the USA know that Pittsburgh has a NHL team? Is there anyone in the USA who knows what the NHL is?
This is clearly sarcasm but the ratings in the U.S. of A. show that Americans do not know, nor care that the NHL is back and becoming fan friendly. Granted no one in the US gets the Versus network or knows what channel it is on even if they have the packaged channel.
Now think about this. If a gaming license in the city of Winnipeg was up for grabs, and an applicant would create a new arena in hopes of getting a NEW NHL franchise back in this hockey-starved market. Every one in Canada would be petitioning for that company to get awarded the license. Don’t think it wouldn’t happen either. Canadians need 3 things. Hockey. Beer. and Women. There is never enough of the first two and it is rare to get the girl when those are your first two passions in life.
Pittsburgh is a great sports market in America, providing that it is an American past time. The Pirates and the Steelers were all able to get brand new stadiums, almost without hesitation. They are beautiful facilities, not that I know first hand. But the depictions of the stadium and the ballpark in Madden and MVP Baseball are beautiful. One day I will make it there to watch Jason Bay hit a dinger. This just shows you where Hockey is in a great sports market like Pittsburgh. The Penguins have won 2 championships in the last 15 years. The Pirates have maybe made the playoffs once in 15 years. I am sure some one will correct me if I am wrong. Yet people will flock to a pirates game and let the Penguins rot.
Pittsburgh does not deserve the penguins. Crosby and Malkin should be in a bigger market deserving of these two stars. Even if the team was moved to Kansas City or Las Vegas, yes they are smaller markets, but with a team relocation, do you understand how much marketing will be done to promote the new team? Perfect time to market the two biggest assets in the NHL.
But alas, this is why I just write it all down, and have no real authority to even have an opinion worth listening to. But Bottom line move the franchise, if not to a starved market like Canada, then to another strange market like the desert. The hockey may not be the best, but you have 2 aces in the hole, and that is a start to a full house. (Poker Pun).