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Bring Hockey Back to Richmond

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by JBondurant804, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. JBondurant804

    JBondurant804 Member

    A grassroots Facebook campaign has been started to find a way to bring minor league ice hockey back to Richmond, Virginia.

    The page went from just a few hundred likes to over 3,500 likes in just the last few weeks.

    Richmond used to be home to the Richmond Renegades, who played in the East Coast Hockey League, now just called the ECHL. The team has since ceased operations.

    A meeting was held last week that featured the former Renegades owner, the president of the Richmond Generals, the local junior hockey team in town, and other folks who have direct knowledge of the ins and outs of running a pro hockey team. The meeting drew over 150 people.

    The Facebook page needs at least 10,000 likes to really garner attention from the powers that be in the hockey world. As of my last check moments ago, the page is at 3,509 likes.

    I'm having the founder of the page come on my podcast so I can pick his brain about the meeting, and find out what the next steps are to keep this ball rolling.

    If you want to help, just search Bring Hockey Back to Richmond on Facebook. The founder of the page is very active in the discussion. At this point, it's really about getting the page out there to the public. Tell your friends, tell your family, co-workers, anyone and everyone to go like this page. Also listen to my podcast this week. You can find it on iTunes, just search for The Third Truth.
  2. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    Well, might as well try to start another ill-fated minor league hockey team to take the place of the Flying Squirrels when they leave because Richmond can't get its shit together on a baseball stadium for the 79th time since the Battle of Appomattox.
  3. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    Done, but Meat is right. All the hemming and hawing over a new baseball stadium has me convinced that Richmond will lose the Squirrels within the next two years, and will never get another baseball team, much less a hockey team. Also, with the Admirals and Checkers now playing in the AHL, along with Roanoke not having a team, it won't be close to the old ECHL days, but I really would like to see it happen.
  4. One thing I've learned about social media is a Facebook "like" is a definitive indicator of willingness to spend money on a product.
  5. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Even with the shitty stadium, the Squirrels draw the most fans in the Eastern League and have always drawn well, even back in the days on the R-Braves.


    There will be baseball in Richmond.
  6. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    But hockey in Richmond pretty much does not have a chance.

    Now a D-League NBA franchise? I could see that working.
  7. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    The Squirrels moved because Richmond said they'd build them a stadium within a time window that has since expired. With the Shockoe plan tabled and likely dead, at some point their patience is going to wear out, just like the Atlanta Braves' did.

    Richmond will be lucky to land a South Atlantic League team if they don't replace the Diamond, and fast.
  8. JBondurant804

    JBondurant804 Member

    It is a bit of a cluster with the whole stadium thing. But the Richmond liberals would rather see the slave ground stay a VCU parking lot than have something actually be done with the land. Apparently the Shockoe Bottom plan isn't completely dead, although the City Council has done a good job of forcing it into the grave. I'm not opposed to seeing it built on the Boulevard. The Braves, at one point, had a sweet plan to just renovate The Diamond. This was like 10 years ago, but as we can see it never happened.

    As for the hockey side, there are still teams in the ECHL that were around when the Renegades still played. Ideally we'd like to bring back the Norfolk/Hampton Roads/Richmond rivalry, but I don't see it happening. Apparently, this is according to Alan Harvie, the former Gades owner, the Richmond Coliseum would need about $200k to make the arena hockey-ready once again. This would go toward ice, new boards, glass, goals, all that good stuff. Then you'd need about $4 million to be able to pay the players, coaches and team staff.

    I think, given the right ownership group, that a team could do well in Richmond. You'd really need someone with the marketing sense of Todd Parnell at the Squirrels to make it successful. While hockey is a very niche sport in this area, where the Squirrels are successful is that they cater a lot of the time to people who don't necessarily give a crap about baseball. Minor league sports is about making it enjoyable for casual fans and their families and not forcing them to break the bank to do it. I've been to plenty of Admirals games in recent years. They don't sell out Scope. Even when their squad in 2011-12 set the North American record for consecutive wins and won the Calder Cup, there were still thousands of empty seats at Scope.

    The Squirrels can easily pack the house using fireworks, $1 hot dogs, peanuts, $2 beer nights, BOGO ticket nights with McDonald's, and washed up TV personalities. That's what it all comes down to.

    Norfolk has averaged about 4,500 fans per game the last two years, and that's middle of the road as far as rankings go in the AHL. Scope easily seats 10,000. The Coliseum seats 12,000. I definitely think, given strong marketing campaigns and cheap prices, a team in Richmond could easily average about that.
  9. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Good lord how will the city survive?

    Time to bust out $50 million or so for a free stadium for millionaires.
  10. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    The nearest ECHL team to Richmond is Greenville, South Carolina (Charleston) or Wheeling. None of which are ready rivals. Anything below ECHL is fly by night (and perhaps at that level too, given how many teams have folded or suspended operations). If you're going to invest that kind of money into getting the RC up for hockey, might as well try to buy an AHL team where you'd at least have Norfolk and Charlotte as potential rivals. Presuming any of them are on the market.

    The Richmond RiverDogs never topped 3,700 a game in their three seasons. The SPHL iteration of the Renegades came close to 4,000 in one of its three seasons, but that's it. And the last time the original Renegades topped 4,500 in a season was 1999.

    I mean, good luck if you're really hoping for a minor-league hockey revival in Richmond, but outside of a nice stretch in the mid-90s, the numbers aren't in your favor.

    A stadium would have been a big boost to the area in which they planned to build it, an area that's been in transition for seemingly decades now. It's not as though those nasty mean ol team owners were going to get every direct and indirect dollar spent there. But it's a moot point -- the plan is likely dead and within three years, they'll have no minor league sports of consequence past a third-tier soccer club, for better or worse.
  11. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Interest in hockey in Virginia dies pretty much around Quantico.

    People have always attended baseball games in Richmond. Owners see that.

    Heck, move the damn thing up to Ashland or out to Goochland. It doesn't take any time at all to get around this city once you hit a highway.
  12. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    R-Braves struggled by the end. And moving the thing to Ashland or Goochland isn't as easy as that, because Richmond and any or all of the three major counties could raise issues. Plus Goochland, last I checked, is big into slow growth.

    It's not an easy fix. If it was, the Diamond would have been turned into a smoldering pile of broken cinderblocks and compressed rats long ago.
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