Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Early Off-Season Thoughts

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.

Whaddya think?

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!


Suze said...

I agree that ticket prices are too high. We can't compete with the Aces $5 promos through Subway. I have already spoken face to face with Hackett and McDiffit on this, but it seems I ran into a brick wall. Even the Aces are struggling for fans, and they have cheaper promotions, so UAA really has nothing to lose by giving it a try. Speaking of Subway, years ago UAA used to have ticket promos with purchases of Subway sandwiches ... I would like to see more of this in the community.

I think expanding the wet side is a great idea. It really irks me to see so many fans standing above the seating in the drinking section ... right under the signs that say "no standing, please take your seat". Ironic! That is one section that is always more full ... so expand it. Other universities serve beer in large sections, we can too.

I'm sure the University will be looking at a lot of ways to improve ticket sales during the off season, I hope they consider your suggestion.

Alaskana said...

Hey Donald, I think you have some great ideas regarding increasing attendance at the Sullivan Arena during Seawolves games.

Increasing the size of the beer areana would definitely help to bring in fans who like to enjoy an adult beverage or two without having to worry about being stuffed into a corner of the arena. I would also add that increasing the # of beers on tap would be beneficial as well, particularly craft beers from Anchorage and other areas around the state.

I have also held the belief that holding yearly exhibition matches between the Seawolves and the Aces would be a net benefit for both UAA and the Aces. It might bring much needed exposure to the Seawolves and also might help bring UAA fans into the Aces fold and help their flagging attendance numbers as well. I think the two teams should treat each other as 'siblings' and help each other out, not remain mutually exclusive. Maybe something could be worked out to where they could give shout outs to each other at their own respective games. Maybe have 'mock' shootout matches between Spirit and Boomer? If Boomer wins during Aces games the crowd gets 2 bucks off any food or drink item, and likewise for Seawolves games?

The 10 dollar pricing seems spot on as well. They may argue that they need to keep ticket prices higher to support the costs of the program, but if no one is coming to the games anyways, they are not making the money either way. It's better to get the seat filled for 10 dollars than to have it empty and make 0 dollars. Maybe once they get people in and the Seawolves start winning more games due to better attendance numbers, then they can slowly start to increase prices, but only when the program is more successful.

Anyways, thanks for keeping this blog going. I know it's a time and resource drain on your part but your readers do appreciate the effort.

Anonymous said...

@OTBPuckWatch: Twin brothers Jonah and Nathan Renouf, freshmen Fwds at Quinnipiac, will be at UAA next season. Prolific scorers in Jr. prior to Qpac (0GP).

Looks like they were point per game scorers in the bchl.

Anonymous said...

I saw that too, came here to post it but was beat. Any idea on 2015/16 schedule?

Anonymous said...

Beer yes, but will the university allow it? Hackett seems like a good\smart man but he doesn't call all the shots.

Aces, also yes. A little cross-bredding of fans could be very good. Some competition between our two hockey teams seems like a no-brainer, but again will the university allow it?

$10 tickets yeah please, but again will the university even consider it?

Perhaps if we could hoot and holler, and convince Thomas & Hackett we could very well accomplish all of these ideas.

Twin bros eligible 16-17 right, but still have three years left?

Many pucks for keeping the blog alive, we need it!

Anonymous said...

Jonah has the slightly better offensive numbers, both majoring in engineering, perhaps that's why they came here. Get exposed to a brand new engineering building and future employment?

Hope they stay, both put nice point per game numbers. Both are 5'8 and 160, unless I already got messed up.

Anonymous said...

What was the deal with Jindra?
Anybody know?

Anonymous said...

Channel 2 news said TJ left for "employment opportunities" in the Lower 48.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the idea of cheaper tickets, not cause I'm cheap, but due to the expense of taking a family to see a game. $50 bucks for two and $100 for four people is far too expensive, and I am frustrated that I have to pay a service charge of $7 when purchasing tickets in advance. Even at the sully box office I am paying a service charge, and outside the sully box office and ticket master I can't buy tickets for the games. Why doesn't UAA sell game tickets at the arena box office so we can avoid the mark up of other ticket venues? Actually, why doesn't UAA put in an ice rink at the new arena, sell their own tickets to the games, and do the whole thing right in the first place!

Anonymous said...

^ that is just too darn easy, UAA likes things complicated and backwards.

Donald Dunlop said...

I've been trying to figure out exactly which twins were coming to UAA after learning about this a week or so ago. I pumped a couple of people for info but everyone was tight lipped other than the person who gave me the tip.

I'll do a write up tonight or tomorrow after I research them a bit. With these guys coming in there'll be a boatload of competition for playing time.

Only thing I noticed so far is that they played with Anthony Conti in the B.

Suze said...

Jonah's stats:

2011-12 Milton Icehawks OJHL 47 games - 23 goals - 39 assists for 62 points
2012-13 Oakville Blades OJHL 53 games - 29 goals - 65 assists for 94 points
2013-14 Surrey Eagles BCHL 52 games - 20 goals - 41 assists for 61 points

Nathan's stats:

2011-12 Milton Icehawks OJHL 47 games - 12 goals - 40 assists for 52 points
2012-13 Oakville Blades OJHL 54 games - 21 goals - 56 assists for 77 points
2013-14 Surrey Eagles BCHL 40 games - 15 goals - 34 assists - 49 points

Suze said...

I agree that the fees for hockey tickets are utterly ridiculous, but UAA can't do anything about it. When I went to the gymnastics championships at the AAC, it was $10 at the door and no fees. Wish it were that cheap for hockey. And anon, it's too late to put ice in the AAC, it was not in the infrastructure from the beginning and cannot be added now.

When UAA had their 2 for $20 promos, it cost almost $30 with the fees. They need to consider the cost of these fees when setting their prices for next season, IMO.

Anonymous said...

The fees are in the contract with Ticket Master.
You pay the fee no matter where the ticket is purchased.
It was a 10 year contract which I do not know the ending date of.
Not next year.

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