Day Nine – It’s About Time, But It Still Won’t Work

9 01 2010

As I stumbled through my daily readings across the internet, I found an article that I thought I’d see much sooner, but still never really expected to see. It was about a website called Be Fair to the Fans. These fans are the loyal to a fault fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It seems a group of them, though a small one, have decided that a 28th place team has no right to charge the highest prices in the league.

Their demands are a little hopeful, but here they are:

  • Reduce ticket prices by 20% until the team is a legitimate contender (starting in the 2010 season)
  • Reduce concession and merchandise prices by 10% for 2010 season
  • 3 less games broadcast on Leafs TV for the 2010 season

    I don’t see any of the three happening any time soon.

    Here’s why:

    1. The Air Canada Centre has to be the hardest arena to get tickets to at any time, let alone quality tickets. I’ve never had a problem finding tickets in Detroit, and most times I could get my hands on decent ones. There’s a reason for that. For every one ticket in Toronto, there are three others trying to snatch it up. Would you give up your seat knowing you may never get it back again or would you just suffer through the crappy team and hope for better days?

    The 28th Placed Toronto Demands the Highest Ticket Prices in the NHL

    2. Though the concessions are outrageously priced, people have associated eating and drinking at a hockey game with watching one. Until you’re able to bring a two-four into the arena with you, I don’t ever see this going down. Regardless, if they were to do so as a loyalty, people would definitely be losing jobs. The Toronto Maple Leafs are a business more than any other team in the league and the last thing they’re going to do is lose out on blue chip profits.

    3. Leafs TV has a contract. It can’t be broken because some fans are upset that they can’t watch a game or two against Nashville or Carolina. I’m sure Rogers, who now offers Leafs TV as a part of their regular package, wouldn’t be happy about losing this incentive they’ve given to potential customers over a handful of unhappy fans.

    In any other city, something like this might work. Buffalo has to earn their fans. When they’re doing poorly, it’s a ghost town in the HSBC Arena. When things are going well, good luck finding a ticket. Difference is, Toronto has a much larger, and wealthier, hockey market. New York has a much higher population, but it’s not a hockey exclusive market. A Rangers fan may just as likely be a Yankees fan. Or for that matter, a Islanders fan.

    If there was a second team in Southern Ontario to flock to, then maybe the Leafers would have something to worry about. Until the league expands to 32, Toronto fans will have to put up or shut up.

    Which is why you can find me in Joe Louis Arena.

    Go Wings Go!


    Day Two – Follow the Play, Not the Puck

    2 01 2010

    As the NHL wraps up the celebration on what’s sure to be the most watched game of the year, I have to be thankful that one thing didn’t show its face at the game. Not head-shots or diving plays, but bad camera work.

    Toskala may not be the best goalie in the NHL, but the camera crew surrounding him is.

    It’s not a problem in every city, but I find that majority of the men and women behind the cameras don’t have the greatest hockey sense. They always seem to be trailing he play, trying to catch up with the puck and not predicting the flow of play. All this does is make them lose the puck when they pass back to the blue line or when it’s cleared on the penalty kill.

    The action on the blue line is just as important as the play in front of the net. The puck will inevitably end up at the defense, unless there’s a goal scored. Yet many cameramen choose to focus the play in the middle of the screen. This puts the crowd in the unused and wasted space, especially with te new widescreen format. It’s true that the camera should direct the viewer’s attention, but there has to be some trust that the viewer can follow the play, even if it’s not dead centre.

    I’m not a Leaf fan. Quite the opposite, as I regularly make the four-hour drive down the 401 to Detroit to see my beloved Red Wings. But the sad fact is that Toronto has some of the best camera men in the league. Regardless of how many circles visiting teams skate around the Leafs, the Toronto cameramen are with the play so you don’t miss a beat. In Toronto, the net cam has an easier time following the play than the main camera in a city like Chicago, even with Vesa Toskala flipping around in front of the net.

    I’m not sure how this could be fixed across the league. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if the people behind the camera had no interest in the game of hockey. Work behind a camera is definitely not easy to come by, so if I was offered a job to shoot a game of Cricket, I would take it, regardless of my knowledge of the game.

    Even though it would be wishful thinking, I think it would be great of the league to sit all these camera men, directors and producers down together at a big conference and get everyone on the same page. Have some seminars, some hands on classes and just general lessons on the game of hockey.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath though. If it were that simple, Hamilton would have some of the best camera work in the NHL today.