Who is everyone going to cheer for in the Frozen Four? I gotta go with Providence. I liked the way they got there; they executed their game plan very nicely. Go Friars. It's unfortunate that the WCHA couldn't get out of the first round but a #16 seed beating a No. 1 overall seed is always a good time. I was sorry though for Michigan Tech since it was the first time in 34 years (or something like that) since they'd made the NCAAs.
The school announced yesterday that T.J. Jindra is heading down the road. Good on ya T.J. for all that you did over the last 4 years for the program. Matt Thomas will make another hire and it'll be interesting to see how the responsibilities get portioned out. I hope a local hire is a consideration. There's more than a few guys here in town that would be excellent additions to the staff. At least there'll be some sort of actual off-season news at some point.
I know some readers aren't super jazzed with my skeptical approach in the Recruit Update post. As always, it was a reflection of my state of mind as a fan. It was a hard year. I never really got into a writing groove and a big part of that had to do with the results the team got on the ice. It wasn't really very "head cheerleady" of me to be skeptical but sometimes the "head cheerleady" thing can get old for those of you who are natural skeptics.
There's some good hockey players coming here next year and no doubt every single one of these guys is going to be pumped to display their talents and earn a regular spot in the lineup. UAA has always recruited character guys. Also, if I start from a skeptical position then there's lots of room for guys to prove me wrong and there's nothing I'd like better than that. I've pumped recruits tire's more than a couple of times over the years and then been let down when for whatever reason they didn't pan out like I thought they would.
So that's the deal with that.
Now I'd like to talk about some program issues that I think need addressed. As has been the case for more years than I care to note, attendance at our games is ugly. I think I have ways to help address that. Tell me what you think in the comments section;
I think the Athletic Department should consider standardized pricing. What I mean is that every ticket should be 10 dollars. The usual promotions we see during the season to encourage more people to come to the game have often resulted in essentially a 10 dollar per ticket bottom line. There is some unfairness for season ticket holders perhaps if you do this but a reduction in the season ticket price can alleviate that. Two people coming to see a Seawolves hockey game shouldn't have to end up spending 50 dollars on parking, tickets and refreshments. It's important here to remember that people making a choice on whether to attend a sporting event actively rationalize the chances that the team they're considering going to see will win. As the price point rises, they apply a higher metric with regard to their win satisfaction formula.
The next thing I'd like to see given consideration is a major expansion of the "wet area". Make the entire south side of the arena wet. I think this is almost a no-brainer. The Aces have half of the arena wet and half dry so there wouldn't be any procedural problems for the Sully folks to deal with.
Now maybe ... just maybe, if you have ten dollar tickets and easier access to brew you'll attract the people that appeals to. Generally, that's a younger demographic than UAA has typically gone after. I know one of the aspects of UAA games that differs from Aces games is that Seawolves games are more geared to a family audience. Those fine folks will be all well and good on the dry side. The beer drinkers will be on the wet side. I say that's zero-effect for the family oriented fans.
With both of these things in place, the beer drinking folks won't be as rigid in their mental formulas about whether or not the team is going to win. They have beer. They got in for a reasonable price. So that's how that goes.
If the word gets out early and stays out throughout the season I'm thinking we'll see a steady increase in the fan base. Get people in the rink and win more games and they'll keep coming back. But you have to get them in the joint first.
Now I'm going to give one of my creative ideas away to the UAA Athletic Department that isn't strictly related to hockey. It's a TV promotional idea. It's called "You can do anything with UAA Sports" and is a series of commercials where we see UAA skiers playing basketball ... hockey players playing volleyball .... then we see gymnasts on the track and track athletes on the balance beam ... then we see volleyball players on the ice sheet ... etc ... Someone make that happen. I cede any and all intellectual copyrights to the idea.
Lastly today, I'm going to drone on again about the possibility of the Seawolves playing the Aces in a couple of December exhibition games. This needs to happen. There are some issues that would have to be overcome but nothing monumental. The only thing keeping this from happening is that there's no dialogue to make it happen. I know the UAA staff has give some consideration to the idea but I have no idea if the Aces have ever considered it.
Here's the April Fools post I did a few years ago about this. The basic format that I proposed would work pretty well I think. You can't have these games early in the season because there's 2-3 weeks difference in the preseasons of each team so December is a good time. Having the proceeds benefit a local organization like the Blood Bank makes the event good for the community. I'd make damn sure that the games would get some national college hockey press.
As I've discussed this with folks over the years the one stumbling block everyone seems to put up is the questions of "What do the Aces have to gain? or Why would the Aces want to do this?" There's little prestige for them if they beat a Division 1 NCAA team and there could be some downside for them in the same term if they lost a couple to the Seawolves. So everyone assumes that the Aces wouldn't be interested. But then, I don't think anyone's actually asked their GM and/or Coaches ... I'll do that when I get a chance.
Also, next season I think UAA Seawolves fans overwhelmingly want to see a #49 on the squad. On the back of one of the Alaskan players. Allow this to happen Coach Thomas; my little poll came out 30-8 in favor and most of those 8 just voted that way to troll me.
North Coast Posse represent!