Sid: It's a sad state of hockey as Wild, Gophers lose fans

BleedGopher

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per Sid:

Mariucci empty

While the Wild can at least say a decent amount of fans are attending every game, the Gophers men's hockey team has really been struggling in the stands.

Some of the photos of the Gophers during major games — including the Big Ten tournament against Notre Dame in March — showed a nearly empty arena. Whatever the reason, it just doesn't make any sense.

And it's not a good look for either the Gophers or the Big Ten when the most notable hockey team in the conference has a 90% empty arena at its biggest event.

The numbers show that Gophers attendance has dropped every season for seven consecutive seasons.

The Gophers went from 115.5% of tickets sold in 2013-14, for a total of 231,057 tickets, to 74.6% of tickets sold this season, for a total of 164,027 tickets.

The decision to leave the WCHA for the newly formed Big Ten Conference in 2013 was a move the Gophers had to make, but there's no doubt it has hurt their ticket sales, even as they have likely made more money from the Big Ten Network TV deal.

On top of that, the team has struggled of late, after it finished first in the Big Ten the first four seasons of conference play.

In 2017-18, their final season under coach Don Lucia, the Gophers finished 19-17-2 overall and 10-12-2 in the Big Ten, good for fifth in a seven-team conference. This past season they went 18-16-4 overall and 9-8-7 in the Big Ten, finishing third when they had a chance to win the conference title in the final weekend of the season.


Go Gophers!!
 

bonin21

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Here are my two notes:
1. No one likes the Big Ten. Duh
2. 2013-14 tickets were at 115.5% of capacity because there was an outdoor game at TCF which is calculated against the Mariucci capacity for the average. Anyone following the Gophers should have known this. The real number in those years would have been 95-99%.
 

Deleted_User

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Uhh. The Wild are more like the Mild, or the Mold. Stale, run of the mill, play to the lowest playoff seed type of team. Gopher men have not been great for several years. At least since the Wooger or Herbie on a consistent basis. Build a championship caliber team with exciting play, and you will pack them in. Playing .500 puck is not going to do it. Just saying things would need to get better to pack em in.

By the way, please tell me why the arena is Mariucci and not Brooks? And, why do we claim to be the state of hockey when Michigan clearly outpaces Minnesota with hockey championships. Michigan has almost twice the NCAA championships as Minnesota and in the NHL have 11 championships. Every time I hear that ignorant Minnesota Wild state of hockey nonsense, I cringe. Not a single NHL banner of any note.

Mediocrity should not be rewarded.
 

UncleSam'sMisguidedChild

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Uhh. The Wild are more like the Mild, or the Mold. Stale, run of the mill, play to the lowest playoff seed type of team. Gopher men have not been great for several years. At least since the Wooger or Herbie on a consistent basis. Build a championship caliber team with exciting play, and you will pack them in. Playing .500 puck is not going to do it. Just saying things would need to get better to pack em in.

By the way, please tell me why the arena is Mariucci and not Brooks? And, why do we claim to be the state of hockey when Michigan clearly outpaces Minnesota with hockey championships. Michigan has almost twice the NCAA championships as Minnesota and in the NHL have 11 championships. Every time I hear that ignorant Minnesota Wild state of hockey nonsense, I cringe. Not a single NHL banner of any note.

Mediocrity should not be rewarded.
Michigan has won like 2 titles since the 60's. Michigan Tech was terrific in the 70's but have been pretty much trash since. Lake Superior State had a good run in the early 90's, but that's it for them. State is usually a .500 team. Point being, Michigan has a ton of D1 hockey (7 teams off the top of my head) and titles are won by the team playing the best at the end of the year. Not necessarily the best team overall. Much of the talent they utilize doesn't actually come from Michigan. Some does, to be sure. The Wolverines dominant teams of the 50's and 60's if I recall correctly were paced by a bunch of iron range Minnesotans.

Minnesota, on the other hand, fields a team that is EXTREMELY home grown year after year. Duluth is very similar but to a lesser degree. North Dakota's roster is full of guys from MN every year. Same with Wisconsin. Yes, those three teams each have more NCAA titles. Again, not the best measuring stick in my opinion. One bad bounce can cost you a season. Minnesota is the winningest team in all of D1 and I think only 2 teams have an above .500 winning percentage against the Gophers. I can't recall who exactly, but it's not one of the big boys. I'm pretty sure that relatively recently the Gophers led the nation in tournament games won, but don't hold me to that. Might have been appearances. So while we aren't the title leaders, we sure have done plenty of winning. Everyone outside of MN hates the Gophers for a reason, right?

The reason we're the state of hockey is our passion for hockey is near rabid and because we absolutely have the best youth through high school programs in the country. By far. Michigan and Massachusetts have great hockey talent, no question, but they DO NOT have the depth of talent MN has. Our state hockey tournament is on par with Indiana's basketball tournament and Texas's football tournament. Michigan's, Massachusetts', and anyone elses for that matter, is not. Professional hockey has nothing to do with it. No such thing as a home grown professional team. If they had a regional draft in hockey like they did in the NBA back in the 40's-50's, the Stanley Cup could just as well be bolted down in Minnesota. How many Red Wings players are from Michigan?

As for the arena....John Mariucci is the reason Gophers hockey is what it is, a top shelf blue blood. Herb Brooks didn't do that. Yes, Herb built the stellar Gophers teams of the 70's, and obviously the 80 Olympic team (which was half rostered by Gophers). But it's Mariucci who is the Godfather of Gopher Hockey.

Sorry this is so long, but there was a lot to rebutt.
 

Deleted_User

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Michigan has won like 2 titles since the 60's. Michigan Tech was terrific in the 70's but have been pretty much trash since. Lake Superior State had a good run in the early 90's, but that's it for them. State is usually a .500 team. Point being, Michigan has a ton of D1 hockey (7 teams off the top of my head) and titles are won by the team playing the best at the end of the year. Not necessarily the best team overall. Much of the talent they utilize doesn't actually come from Michigan. Some does, to be sure. The Wolverines dominant teams of the 50's and 60's if I recall correctly were paced by a bunch of iron range Minnesotans.

Minnesota, on the other hand, fields a team that is EXTREMELY home grown year after year. Duluth is very similar but to a lesser degree. North Dakota's roster is full of guys from MN every year. Same with Wisconsin. Yes, those three teams each have more NCAA titles. Again, not the best measuring stick in my opinion. One bad bounce can cost you a season. Minnesota is the winningest team in all of D1 and I think only 2 teams have an above .500 winning percentage against the Gophers. I can't recall who exactly, but it's not one of the big boys. I'm pretty sure that relatively recently the Gophers led the nation in tournament games won, but don't hold me to that. Might have been appearances. So while we aren't the title leaders, we sure have done plenty of winning. Everyone outside of MN hates the Gophers for a reason, right?

The reason we're the state of hockey is our passion for hockey is near rabid and because we absolutely have the best youth through high school programs in the country. By far. Michigan and Massachusetts have great hockey talent, no question, but they DO NOT have the depth of talent MN has. Our state hockey tournament is on par with Indiana's basketball tournament and Texas's football tournament. Michigan's, Massachusetts', and anyone elses for that matter, is not. Professional hockey has nothing to do with it. No such thing as a home grown professional team. If they had a regional draft in hockey like they did in the NBA back in the 40's-50's, the Stanley Cup could just as well be bolted down in Minnesota. How many Red Wings players are from Michigan?

As for the arena....John Mariucci is the reason Gophers hockey is what it is, a top shelf blue blood. Herb Brooks didn't do that. Yes, Herb built the stellar Gophers teams of the 70's, and obviously the 80 Olympic team (which was half rostered by Gophers). But it's Mariucci who is the Godfather of Gopher Hockey.

Sorry this is so long, but there was a lot to rebutt.
And rebut you didn't. I don't care where the Red Wings got their players from, they win championships, Minnesota has never. 26 North Star seasons. Two championships attended. Zero Stanley cups. Minnesota Wild, zero Stanley cups, 2 Minnesotan's on the team of 27 players. Detroit has 4 players from Michigan on their team. Zero from Minnesota. Minnesota does have 50 active players in the NHL. Michigan has 38.

In 2017, Michigan's state hockey tournament drew a whopping, get this, 1,492,469 fans. Minnesota's high school tournament drew 585,845 attendees, or about 39% of the crowd in Michigan. There is no comparison. None. Not even close.

So, again, I said Minnesota is crazy to say it is the state of hockey.

And, the U hockey program needs a swift kick in the ass for not developing talent and winning. There is nothing that draws in fans like great hockey. I am just not seeing it in Minnesota for quite some time. That is the reason hockey tickets are not being snatched up. And, please, don't try to snow me with platitudes again and parlor rhetoric. Michigan has more to claim the title of State of Hockey than Minnesota. We get to say it because of copyright. They can claim it as an artifact of history and real accomplishment.
 

Deleted_User

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How many attended the Michigan high school hockey tournament in 2017 and how many in Minnesota same year? I'll give you a clue, Minnesota had only 39% of what Michigan drew for fans. The state of hockey, my ass.

I am a born and raised Minnesotan, but I have an active brain and not Minnesota hockey lore to stand on.

The problem with hockey ticket sales is poor records and poor performance. End of argument. If you want to fix that, put a better team on the ice.
 

UncleSam'sMisguidedChild

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How many attended the Michigan high school hockey tournament in 2017 and how many in Minnesota same year? I'll give you a clue, Minnesota had only 39% of what Michigan drew for fans. The state of hockey, my ass.

I am a born and raised Minnesotan, but I have an active brain and not Minnesota hockey lore to stand on.

The problem with hockey ticket sales is poor records and poor performance. End of argument. If you want to fix that, put a better team on the ice.
Wrong about attendance numbers, by a mile. 1.5 million attended their state tournaments across ALL sports. Ice hockey had 51,812 that year. Look it up.

Red Wings have 4 locals on their team. They're also terrible now. No titles, you are correct. Detroit has also had the benefit of being in a six team league for years as well as the expansion era in the late 60's. I know, they were a force for years in the 90's-00's. Good for them. I'll still claim that the state doesn't produce the team. They had smart people in place and had enough good fortune to go on a long successful streak. Pretty sure Lidstrom, Forsberg, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Yzerman aren't from Michigan.

As far as attendance now goes, we are in agreement. Gophers need to be better. It's sad how it's been lately. There are other reasons too, but fielding a winning team will do wonders, and I believe they are close to getting there. The Wild, I dunno what the problem is there, but it isn't attendance.
 

UncleSam'sMisguidedChild

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Thinking a bit further about this, I recalled ESPN had an article about this not long ago. They asked people from all levels of hockey from many places in the country where the center of hockey resides within the US. Though journalists can choose which quotes to use, I believe it was a unanimous consent that Minnesota is. Also, by your logic concerning professional sports, Massachusetts is the state of both basketball and football considering the Celtics and Patriots championships, and New York is the state of baseball. I doubt you'll find anyone to agree with that.

Because messages on these boards can come across to some readers differently than a poster intends, I want to be clear that I am not angry and trying to come across as such, or am I in any way offended by anything said to me. I am only making my case as to why I believe Minnesota is indeed the state of hockey. Disagree with me if you like and know that I will not insult you for feeling differently.
 

Gophers1992

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Uhh. The Wild are more like the Mild, or the Mold. Stale, run of the mill, play to the lowest playoff seed type of team. Gopher men have not been great for several years. At least since the Wooger or Herbie on a consistent basis. Build a championship caliber team with exciting play, and you will pack them in. Playing .500 puck is not going to do it. Just saying things would need to get better to pack em in.

By the way, please tell me why the arena is Mariucci and not Brooks? And, why do we claim to be the state of hockey when Michigan clearly outpaces Minnesota with hockey championships. Michigan has almost twice the NCAA championships as Minnesota and in the NHL have 11 championships. Every time I hear that ignorant Minnesota Wild state of hockey nonsense, I cringe. Not a single NHL banner of any note.

Mediocrity should not be rewarded.
1. I guess you just wanted to skip over those two national championships Lucia won?
2. The state of hockey thing was just a marketing campaign, which people have taken way too seriously on both sides of the aisle. However, MN produces more hockey talent per capita than any state in the US and it's not really that close.

It's ok if you're not a hockey fan and/or not happy with the program right now, most of us are very frustrated with the past 5 years or so other than 16/17 maybe, but try to have your facts together and make more informed comments.
 

Gophers1992

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And rebut you didn't. I don't care where the Red Wings got their players from, they win championships, Minnesota has never. 26 North Star seasons. Two championships attended. Zero Stanley cups. Minnesota Wild, zero Stanley cups, 2 Minnesotan's on the team of 27 players. Detroit has 4 players from Michigan on their team. Zero from Minnesota. Minnesota does have 50 active players in the NHL. Michigan has 38.

In 2017, Michigan's state hockey tournament drew a whopping, get this, 1,492,469 fans. Minnesota's high school tournament drew 585,845 attendees, or about 39% of the crowd in Michigan. There is no comparison. None. Not even close.

So, again, I said Minnesota is crazy to say it is the state of hockey.

And, the U hockey program needs a swift kick in the ass for not developing talent and winning. There is nothing that draws in fans like great hockey. I am just not seeing it in Minnesota for quite some time. That is the reason hockey tickets are not being snatched up. And, please, don't try to snow me with platitudes again and parlor rhetoric. Michigan has more to claim the title of State of Hockey than Minnesota. We get to say it because of copyright. They can claim it as an artifact of history and real accomplishment.
Someone already corrected you, but common sense would tell you that the MI state hockey tournament probably doesn't draw 100k + per game. Unless they're filling the big house for every game.
 

Deleted_User

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Someone already corrected you, but common sense would tell you that the MI state hockey tournament probably doesn't draw 100k + per game. Unless they're filling the big house for every game.
Yep, I am wrong on the total number. That was for all of their sports tournaments. My bad.

But, they do play 96 total games in 3 division in their tournament. And, the attendance is small. But, that does not discount their impact on hockey on this planet.
 

bonin21

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How many attended the Michigan high school hockey tournament in 2017 and how many in Minnesota same year? I'll give you a clue, Minnesota had only 39% of what Michigan drew for fans. The state of hockey, my ass.

I am a born and raised Minnesotan, but I have an active brain and not Minnesota hockey lore to stand on.

The problem with hockey ticket sales is poor records and poor performance. End of argument. If you want to fix that, put a better team on the ice.
Any credibility on the debate was lost right here.

Most youth hockey players
Most HS hockey players
Biggest HS hockey tournament by a thousand miles
Most D1 college hockey players
Most Hobey Baker winners (10 vs 6 for Mass and 4 for MI)
Most NHL hockey players
Huge part of 1980 team that is the reason US hockey is where it is today including the head coach
 

Gophers1992

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Yep, I am wrong on the total number. That was for all of their sports tournaments. My bad.

But, they do play 96 total games in 3 division in their tournament. And, the attendance is small. But, that does not discount their impact on hockey on this planet.
Nobody is discounting Michigan's contributions to the hockey world at all. You in fact brought them into this. If anything one could argue that you are discounting MN's contributions. Again, the state of hockey thing is a marketing campaign. BTW, Detroit calls themselves "Hockeytown" - I doubt anyone is up in arms over that.
 

bisonation

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No offense, I used to goto Gopher hockey games 20 years ago. but in the 80's 90's you could follow a kid thru HS at state tourney and then into the U so you watched them and connected to them. .. Now they all go junior at 16 years old and you have 0 connection to them. Plus mainstream doesn't care about hockey, sorry. its a dying sport.

just 2 cents from a northern minnesota kid
 

Gophers1992

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No offense, I used to goto Gopher hockey games 20 years ago. but in the 80's 90's you could follow a kid thru HS at state tourney and then into the U so you watched them and connected to them. .. Now they all go junior at 16 years old and you have 0 connection to them. Plus mainstream doesn't care about hockey, sorry. its a dying sport.

just 2 cents from a northern minnesota kid
No offense taken, you're not alone in that camp. Hockey may be behind other sports in terms of popularity, but I don't believe it's "dying". Not sure there's reason to believe hockey will be dead at any time in our lives.
 

bisonation

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yea, dying was harsh and itll always have those niche fans that are crazy exuberant over it.

I just feel the last 20 years that's the real reason , not the wcha or anything else.
 

Lady Gopher

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yea, dying was harsh and itll always have those niche fans that are crazy exuberant over it.

I just feel the last 20 years that's the real reason , not the wcha or anything else.
I am one of those niche fans of Gopher Hockey but not exuberant over its fall from the top. Over 40+years I saw the best of Gopher hockey. so it is so hard to give up the dream of a return to the top. While I understand those fans who have fallen away, I am hoping for the return Pride on Ice with Coach Motzko.
 
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