Quite the response from the quote I posted on yesterday's entry. At last check, there were seven comments on my site, and 18 comments on the blog where it was originally posted. In fact, here's a link to the 18 comments. Everyone brought in some great perspectives. Not sure if today's statement is going garner a similar response, but here goes:
Toronto has the worst hockey fans.
Last night, the AHL's Toronto Marlies (the minor league affiliate of the NHL's Maple Leafs) hosted the Syracuse Crunch at the Ricoh Coliseum. There were only 3128 spectators at the game. The Coliseum holds 9500 people for hockey, which means the arena was only 33% full.
That is unacceptable.
There is absolutely no reason why the Marlies got such a poor turnout last night. If anything, there should have been at least 8000 fans at the game. Here's why: First, neither the Leafs, nor the Raptors, were playing last night. Second, the World Junior Hockey Championship is taking place in Sweden, which means the games are played in the morning in Toronto. Third, Marlies' tickets are pretty cheap, with lowest price being $10. Fourth, the kids are off from school. And fifth, where else can you see the "future stars" of the Maple Leafs? I think my fellow CHEV co-worker, Dan Deeley, said it best: "Toronto is not a hockey town. It's a Maple Leafs town."
If the Marlies, Ice Dogs, Battalion, and Majors were to suddenly leave the Toronto area, then the majority of so-called "hockey fans" would not care because they still have the Leafs and that's all that matters. Hell, if the Blue Jays, Raptors, Argonauts, FC, and Rock were to leave the Toronto area, then the majority of "sports fans" would not care because they still have the Leafs and that's all that matters.
It just boggles the mind how most hockey fans in this city are content on paying enormous prices to watch a subpar NHL team, instead of watching young, entertaining hockey at very affordable prices. I've been to a number of Jr. A Markham Waxers games this year. They can barley attract fans; maybe 300-500 people and the arena can hold 2300. Meanwhile, the games are pretty entertaining and you get to watch some talented players. What's really funny is that there are some people in Markham, who want to bring in an expansion OHL team. With the support the Waxers get, there's no way that's going to happen.
Some might say that there is just too many hockey teams and it's impossible to support them all. In that case, I would like to point out the state of Michigan. There huge support for the NHL's Red Wings, the local minor league teams, and you should see the huge crowds that attend hockey games that involve either the University of Michigan Wolverines or, the Michigan State Spartans. Ottawa is a similar case as the fans there can equally support the NHL's Senators, the OHL's 67s, and the Gatineau Olympique of the QMJHL.
It's no wonder why Toronto is never listed as a "top sports city" by ESPN or Sports Illustrated. The majority of people only care about one team.
- After discussing, catch Episode 23 of the Audio Circus -