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Less Violence, Less Fan Interest In The ECHL?

from Rebecca Davis O'Brien of the Wall Street Journal,

Forty years after the Paul Newman film “Slap Shot” immortalized the rough-and-tumble world of minor-league ice hockey, the sport has changed directions: It is more polished, less pugnacious. The game is faster and more artful, which helps attract corporate sponsors and makes the minors a better pipeline to the big leagues.

The decline in violence also reflects the heightened concerns about concussions, which are especially acute in hockey after the deaths of several enforcers were linked to head trauma.

Yet attendance is down across most leagues and most of the teams aren’t profitable, leading some to wonder if the minor-league game has lost its way. At least 16 teams in the ECHL alone have folded in the past 10 years due in part to financial difficulties stemming from dwindling attendance and corporate sponsorship.

The latest casualties are the Elmira Jackals, in western New York, who announced in March that they would fold after this season ends on April 8. After years of ownership turnover and mounting debt, county officials assumed ownership of the Jackals last year, but couldn’t support the costs of the team.

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Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

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That’s how they’ve always pitched the game to these markets.  But I think the depression that no one talks about that is occurring in small town America is the real culprit.

There is no money in upstate New York.

There are thriving minor league franchises in area with disposable income that market the game properly.

Posted by Henry on 04/06/17 at 10:40 AM 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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