On NHL Realignment

Jakub Kindl celebrates a goal during Detroit's win over the Lightning in Tampa Bay on February 17, 2011. As you can see in the background, there were a lot of Red Wings fans in attendance. Probably 65%-70% of the building was wearing red that night.

It’s fine, I like it. But they’re making the long-term future of the two Florida teams even more of a challenge.

The problem is that the following quote seems to be the generally accepted sentiment behind the idea of putting the Lightning and Panthers in with the Northern snowbirds (here put in to words by The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek):

The idea of tucking the Florida-based clubs into the same conference as teams in the Ontario-Quebec corridor is brilliant, too. It gives all the snowbird Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators fans more chances to buy tickets when they’re wintering in the Sunshine State.

This is so far from brilliant. All selling tickets to fans of the opposing teams does is continue to feed Crack to the sales and marketing offices of these two Florida franchises. They need to move beyond this quick fix.

Sure, they will still sell some tickets to Leafs and Sabres fans, but they also need to charge a ton for them too and to do that the Florida franchises need to build the demand / supply ratio up high enough that snowbirds can’t walk in off the street and find tickets. Also, there’s a problem in these Florida markets of season ticket holders selling their tickets to these premium games to snowbirds and pocketing the money. So it’s on the fans there too.

The focus has to be on building their own community, their youth hockey and their season ticket base.

But right now with realignment, the NHL just upped their product.
It’s on the Florida franchises now to resist the urge.