The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/30/14 at 04:20 PM ET
The Plymouth Whalers announced a significant number of front office shuffling today, and Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples reports that Whalers owner Peter Karmanos addressed the future of his tea...Well, I read this stuff and simply said, "Oh, boy..."
“Well to be frank about it, it’s tough running an OHL team in a major league city. Our attendance has been good, but it’s not great. You look down 401 and you see the London Knights selling out every game, you know that if you had to sell the team you might want to move it to one of those cities, rather than keep it playing here. Like I’ve said, it’s become an expensive business, it’s a big business. If we could get the attendance where we think it should be here, I think the future is great. If we continue to draw a couple thousand people a game, we’ll have to take a look at some options.
When asked what time frame he would be looking at, Karmanos continued with:
“Next year? I can’t really answer that question. We’ve stuck it out for a long time, we have one of the best franchises, if not the best, on the ice, in the OHL. But we’re operating in Hockeytown. It’s an NHL city. It’s tough. It just depends on how long all these guys want to fight the good fight. I think as the OHL grows in popularity, I think we’ll benefit in Plymouth as well. It’s a great brand of hockey, it’s fun coming to games, they’re generally on the weekend or Thursday night, which is sort of the weekend or the weekend for some people. It’s well worth the dollars that you pay for the ticket.”
After the conclusion of the formal press conference, Karmanos was asked if that was in some ways a challenge to the hockey fans in the area. He said it certainly was.
“Yeah. Not in some ways. Directly. Start coming to games.”
Caples continues, and the Free Press's George Sipple confirms that Karmanos suggested he'd be open to selling the team and/or the rink, regardless of whether doing so involves moving the team or keeping it in Plymouth.
The Whalers and the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor are two woefully under-spotlighted hockey programs which provide Metro Detroiters with incredibly affordable and high-quality hockey on a regular basis. Even I will admit that I'm baffled as to why the Wings and Whalers don't work together to make sure that Compuware Arena's packed on the nights the Wings aren't playing, but that's just me.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.