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Giving Back To The Fans

from Jack MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal,

Each of the 30 clubs will makes its own decision how to balance celebrating the onset of a new, if truncated, 48-game with a gesture of goodwill toward the faithful.

“Each club is planning something,” said Oilers president Patrick LaForge. “It’s up to them (each club). If they want to do something, great. They live in their own market, they deal with their own fans.”

The league is planning some sort of outreach, as well, but hasn’t finalized those plans just yet. It is aware it has repair work to do that could last years.

In the meantime, as LaForge said, the focus will be local, club-by-club.

“Every club I talked to — and we haven’t made our plans firm yet — is (looking at) some specials on food and beverage for the opening night, maybe opening couple of games,” LaForge said. “Some merchandise features, maybe some autographed jersey giveaways, that kind of stuff.”

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UMFan's avatar

Every club I talked to — and we haven’t made our plans firm yet — is (looking at) some specials on food and beverage for the opening night, maybe opening couple of games,” LaForge said. “Some merchandise features, maybe some autographed jersey giveaways, that kind of stuff.”

Ummm…no. Try again. Tampa is on the right track with the 200 season tickets for $200.

I don’t want to downplay 113 days (of lockout). You do what’s appropriate.

Its not just the 113 days this year that ticked people off. Its this year compounded by the prior two lockouts.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 01/10/13 at 10:08 PM ET

awould's avatar

Free Center Ice for this season is both a good place to start and about the only way I’ll watch any hockey since I’m not giving them any of my money.

Posted by awould on 01/10/13 at 11:20 PM ET

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I’m a Islander fan, living in Los Angeles.  The only way for me to see my Isles, is to subscribe to NHL Center Ice.  I’ve been a subsciber for the last 8 years.

I also missed out on the opportunity to see the Isles play back in NY, which I do every christmas, and under the abbrieviated schedule, the Isles won’t be coming the west coast to play the Kings or the Ducks.

Since we’re stuck with 48 games, instead of the usual 82, I think the best way the NHL could show their loyalty, to fans like me, is to offer NHL Center Ice free.  It’s the least they can do, after all of the disappointment we’ve been through. 

Come on NHL, show us that you care!!!

Posted by RogerNYLA on 01/10/13 at 11:27 PM ET

awould's avatar

Yeah, I’m a Wings fan in Phoenix. Luckily, the Wings get decent enough coverage on OLN, I mean Versus, er, NBC Sports. But I’ve paid for Center Ice for the past 6 years or so. Not anymore, not this half-assed season anyways. And if I do without and don’t miss it too terribly, it’ll be harder to justify next season, especially with 2 kids under 2* in the house requiring most of my free time anyways.

* last day I can say that since my little girl turns 2 tomorrow!

Posted by awould on 01/10/13 at 11:52 PM ET

Avatar

Happy Birthday, to your little girl!  WIll she be a future WIngs fan, or is she getting a Shane Doan jersey for her Birthday?

I took a road trip last year and caught the Islanders - Coyotes game.  Of course the Islanders lost.

Posted by RogerNYLA on 01/11/13 at 03:21 AM ET

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If I remember correctly, the hockey product between these last two lockouts has surpassed itself in each subsequent year. This is partially evidenced by the increasing annual revenues for the NHL.
If the NHL wants to continue that trend and really grow the sport beyond its current potential in just a couple of years, they should 1) comp the fans Center Ice for this abridged season, and 2) give each subscriber a nice 50% discount on the following season. You owe it to the die-hards, new fans, and the bad ass boys and girls that are the next generation of players. Don’t be the assholes you never thought you think you weren’t . It only makes sense.

Motherfu^^^^s almost cost us one Pavel Datsyuk.

Posted by Jesters Dead on 01/11/13 at 06:33 AM ET

Avatar

There’s no reason at all for the NHL to give away anything, and they likely won’t.

They may ‘reduce’ the rate of CI a bit to reflect the half season, but they won’t give it away this year and they certainly won’t reduce the price of it next year.

It’ll be stuff like the article suggests:  A few bucks off food, some foam fingers, thunder sticks, mostly meaningless dreck.

If attendance ends up looking soft or even down after a month or two the NHL may roll out something more significant, but until it’s demonstrated such a thing is actually necessary there’s no real reason to give out free stuff to address an issue that might not even exist.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/11/13 at 09:29 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Center Ice isn’t even really the NHL’s product to give away. They’re not doing that for free.  The fact that they can’t give CI away for free probably means no more than a discount for Gamecenter.

It’s still a gate-driven league, so they’re going to do discounts which involve getting people to come through the gates first. In-arena discounts on food, merchandise, etc. Whatever to get people comfortable with the idea of showing up and spending money at their arenas.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/11/13 at 09:57 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Where did this “Center Ice is going to be free!” rumor even get started?

A few guys I work with are convinced beyond all reason that this is going to happen.

Even if it’s true, what’s the big deal? Blacked out games for teams in your area and almost exclusively crappy standard definition feeds for all the other games. How exciting!

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/11/13 at 10:20 AM ET

yzer19man's avatar

I don’t think I would want Center Ice even it were offered for free. Like Mandingo said, the standard Def feeds are horrible and that just won’t do in our HD world. The blacked out games are out of control as well.

If gamecenter were offered, it would be a different story, but you deal with the crazy blackouts there as well. Pisses me off.

Posted by yzer19man from Chicago, IL on 01/11/13 at 12:59 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Apparently, DirecTV has a bunch more HD feeds for Center Ice than the two I had when I had Time Warner Cable.  Of course, I just made the switch this summer, so I haven’t been able to see that for myself.

The blackouts issue may be solved fairly soon as there’s a pending class action lawsuit against MLB and NHL for their local blackout rules.

I really hope so too, because every time the Wings play St. Lois, I get to scramble to watch it because they black it out on my center ice channels despite the fact that our regional version of FS Midwest isn’t showing Blues games.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/11/13 at 01:11 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Free Center Ice for this season is both a good place to start and about the only way I’ll watch any hockey since I’m not giving them any of my money.

Posted by awould on 01/10/13 at 10:20 PM ET

My sentiments exactly. As someone that has had Center Ice since day one, I think it’s just one way to start compensating Fans. Plus my provider has the package in HD. All blackouts should be lifted as well. I cannot believe that some teams think free hot dogs and pop is any kind of way to woo the Fans back. Hot dogs?(lips and a$$holes).

Tampa Bay has the right idea. Most teams should follow suit.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 01/11/13 at 02:45 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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