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Calgary, AB • Canada • 50 Years Old • Male
HOCKEY FANS IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Today's blog idea came from a quote from a previous blog of mine. It is a quote by Brandon Felder from the blog Name one thing that is wrong with the NHL.

Brandon Felder

I believe that the one thing wrong in hockey is the way other fans look down at each other. In my mind, it doesn't matter what team you root for, we are all hockey fans. To hear that people are supporting an existing team being uprooted is a bit disturbing to me. I supported the Penguin fans when they were in trouble, and they supported us as well. Unfortunately, there are too many fans out there that do not see it from another fan's point of view. I would never WANT a team to move from an existing NHL city. I just wish fans were more respectful to each other when it comes to off-the-ice issues. Argue, debate, and sling mud over the game on the ice, but do not forget to think how you would feel in the shoes of a Pred fan.

I am going to post my personal reasons why I think losing Nashville to another city, or for that matter, any southern team, is not good. I am going to take this from a business point of view as well as a personal point of view.

First Reason

Every business wants new fans; but not at the expense of its old ones. In order for the NHL to survive, it must learn how to help its own before it can expand. The South has lot to offer, but the NHL has to learn how to access it. If the league wants to prosper in the USA, it must strengthen its own cities and not move them. In other words, the relocation to Canada might not be the best way to strengthen itself in the USA. How can anyone take this league seriously when it will not even help its own?


Second Reason

Simply put, the passion and intensity of their fans. Some of my best friends are from the Nashville area. I would like to mention two of the fans from Nashville that I have met on this site. The first one is the blogger who is the reason of this blog, Brandon Felder. If anyone who has any doubt about his spirit, please read his intro blog. I chatted with him over and over with how the process is going with the selling of the Preds. I went through this with the Flames, who almost left. Blue line is another chatter who has chatted with me many times, encouraging me with my blogs. I have never met two more knowledgeable and passionate hockey fans. Why would you want to lose these fans? You would not and neither does the NHL.

Now do not get me wrong; I do not begrudge Canada another team. In fact, I am all for another Canadian team in the NHL. I just wish they could do it through expansion. What really worries me and upsets me is that this will not be the last time that some rumour will come of a Southern team moving to Canada. There will always be some Southern team who has empty seats at a game this season. Then some Canadian yahoo will yell for that team to move again. And yes, he will gain support to move that team to a Canadian City. I want another team in Canada. Just not at the expense of Nashville, or Florida, or any other non-traditional market in the USA.

With my background, there is one thing I notice about hockey fans - we supposedly stick behind each other. The thing that bothers me the most is that Canadians are saying it. It just seems that once there is a team is up for sale, the fans are kicking the team out. So we can get another Canadian team. Can't we help or support the fans instead for wishing doom and destruction?

I would like to describe my background a little. I was born deaf, never heard anything until I was four. Never spoke in the first 5 years of my life. Throughout my childhood, I was made fun of. I was told that I could not amount to anything. The only thing I held onto was hockey, for there I had friends. My life was held together by the game of hockey.

I witnessed in childhood what it was to really be accepted. It was like finally fitting a square peg into a round hole. Since then, I always thought that hockey fans were a different mold. That somehow hockey fans had no different classes. Money did not matter, nor did school grades. There was no difference between the rich and the poor. I could sit beside someone who was smarter and not be tormented. I can sit beside anyone watching a game and discuss anything, having discussions with people without fear of repercussion.

This is the main reason I feel for the Preds fans having hockey taken away from them. For me, it would be devastating. I know what it is like to be kicked while you are down. That is the main reason I would never wish anything but the best for people. Life is too short to hate people and to wish destruction on people.


Flamestr]
Filed Under:   NHL   PREDS   SUPPORT  
June 9, 2008 11:38 AM ET | Delete
Very nice blog. Thanks for the support, it means a lot.
June 9, 2008 11:39 AM ET | Delete
Great read. Thanks for the kind words. I was born and raised in Nashville and I've been a Preds season ticket holder since the day they got here. I truly think I would move to an NHL city if my Preds left. That's how much I love it.
June 9, 2008 2:14 PM ET | Delete
Thank you for the message. I try to be supportive and respectful of the other teams around me. I even cheered for the Wings in the Cup Finals. :) All of this to say.... Respect each other! My husband got me hooked on the game of hockey. Im not saying I know everything but I understand the game and LOVE THE GAME OF HOCKEY! I appreciate your comments and hopefully you will have tons of reads on this blog and more people will just "get it." Thank you for supporting your fellow fans.
June 9, 2008 4:13 PM ET | Delete
I was not born in Nashville. Nor was I raised anywhere near Dixie. I am a transplant, and there are millions of people in the state of Tennessee just like me. Many of us are hockey fans, and just because we've chosen to make this state our home doesn't mean that we should suddenly be invalidated as hockey fans. I've followed hockey since I was three. I'm four decades older now, but somehow, to many people, my hockey knowledge and experience doesn't count simply because of where I live. Nashville fans are passionate about their team. There are still more people who need to be awakened where hockey is concerned, but once you open your eyes to it, there's no going back to sleep. Thanks for a very empathetic post. I appreciate it immensely.
June 9, 2008 4:26 PM ET | Delete
well said, as most things are when they come from the heart. we do appreciate the support and i agree whole heartedly in support of even our rivals fans when issues such as these arise.
June 9, 2008 4:38 PM ET | Delete
thanks guys IAppreciate the words just need some postive words getting tired of the negative crap
June 9, 2008 7:31 PM ET | Delete
Sorry but this leauge needs less sunbelt teams, not expansion.The product is already watered down as it is.
June 9, 2008 8:00 PM ET | Delete
Teams need to be where they can succeed. Nashville, Tampa Bay, Hamilton...wherever. If they get good ownership in Las Vegas...do it. If Balsillie can make a team in Southern Ontario work, that's fine. It's all about us...our passion, our willingness to support. This game belongs to no country or city anymore. It's the world's.
June 10, 2008 10:06 AM ET | Delete
Some very good comments. Always knew how Flamestr felt. Jprobber I couldnt agree more. Hockey has moved way beyond the frozen neighborhood pond and is truly a worldwide sport. As for you Vancanuck, please remove your head from your posterior. Watered down, I think not. There are more people playing hockey than ever why shouldnt there be more top level players?I was born and lived in Tennessee practically all my life. Have never played hockey but that doesn't mean that i don't love it as much as someone who has played all their life. Hockey is without a doubt the most exciting and action-packed game of this planet.
June 10, 2008 10:49 AM ET | Delete
I wish more people had felt this way in the early to mid-90's, when the Nordiques and Jets moved to Colorado and Phoenix.
June 10, 2008 11:00 AM ET | Delete
Flamestrrrrrrrrrr! Nice blog and heartfelt words my friend. Thanks. And thanks for the generous words to me, Brandon, and all of us Pred fans. Your support has always been there and it is much appreciated. Hockey is by leaps and bounds the absolute best sport there is. I realize that is a biased opinion, but I believe it to be true. Many things about us evolve and grow. There is no reason that hockey won't do the same. Who knows what place the NHL will assume in the coming years? Meanwhile, if we truly care about the game, we definitely need to stick together.
June 10, 2008 11:41 AM ET | Delete
Ditto on all the kudos to Flamestr. Its wonderful to hear someone being POSITIVE for once. It truly is appreciated by all the Preds fans. Hockey can't survive as just a niche sport in this ever-shrinking world. To me the notion of not trying to sustain the league elsewhere is like protectionist ideas. "Let's just bury our head in the sand and ignore the world." Its foolish and will lead to the stagnation of the league.The league doesn't need less sunbelt teams, nor does it need to expand any more in the South till it makes its existing teams work. Figure out how to make the product marketable and then consider expansion. The league needs less fans like vancanuck. That kinda of moronic BS kills fans more than the location of a team. Period.
June 10, 2008 1:52 PM ET | Delete
Awesome work Flamestr.. I think this was your best post yet!
June 10, 2008 3:41 PM ET | Delete
This is a great post and a great insight. Every hockey fan should be a fan of the game first, before any team loyalty. What hurts the game hurts EVERY hockey fan. New fans don't come from watching hockey on T.V.--they come from having the exciting live experience of attending games! How can it possibly HELP our sport to make the live experience more limited? If we want the game to survive, we have to get out of the mentality that the original six teams are the only REAL hockey or that Canadian teams are the only REAL hockey. I'm glad those folks are fans, I'm glad their proud of the heritage and legacy of their teams--but don't deny that to someone else because they live in the "wrong place."
June 10, 2008 4:06 PM ET | Delete
June 10, 2008 4:08 PM ET | Delete
YOU SIMPLY AMAZE ME HOW you can write so well.AWESOME WORK STR.
June 10, 2008 4:35 PM ET | Delete
I wish more people had felt this way in the early to mid-90's, when the Nordiques and Jets moved to Colorado and Phoenix.***************************************************************To be honest with you, I've always been against relocation of sports teams. This is a bit hypocritical of me because I grew up rooting for the Dodgers, Rams, and Lakers. All were moved from different cities before I was born. That being said, I remember how painful it was to watch the Rams leave the field for the last time in Southern California. I don't personally want to ever feel like that again, and I don't want anyone else to have to go through that pain either. I truly felt for the Nordique fans. They put up with a perennial loser for years, and the moment they were primed to win it all, they were swept away to Colorado. No, it's not fair. That city deserved to have its team remain there. It's also not fair to judge a fanbase that's still in its infancy as to just how viable it is as a hockey fanbase. Nashville is still getting a foothold here, and given the time, it will prove to be one of the most solid fanbases in the league........given the time.
Al
June 10, 2008 6:29 PM ET | Delete
Well said Flamer.
June 10, 2008 9:02 PM ET | Delete
I would agree that you have some valid points, however other than a small handful of hockey fans in Nashville, how many actually know what the team is called? Strengthening the league may also include addition by subtraction. Further expansion got them into this mess. It won't get them out. The NHL has a history of relocation. And Calgary was one of the cities. How did Atlanta fans feel after losing their team? Winnipeg? Quebec? Minnesota? Did anyone CARE THEN?Expansion happened way too fast in the southern US when there were more viable locations both in Canada and the US. Now the US is worried about losing teams. Deal with it. Half of the NHL revenues from ticket sales and TV deals are from the Canadian teams. And Canada has less than 1/3 the teams. Start talking $$ when presenting a business case though. And that is why Nashville or Los Vegas or KC is not viable. Take a city out to show loss. If you can get the backing again, maybe consider an expansion team in the future. Learn from the mistakes so they don't happen again. Don't repeat them.
June 11, 2008 12:18 PM ET | Delete
Flamestr...Great Blog. Thx for the support. I wish more people above the border felt like you do. But, then again, you know because you have been there. The Flames have been away and back again and I hope that you never have to experience that again. (Or any fan for that matter) It never ceases to amaze me that no matter what you do or say that there is always someone there to kick you even when you are not down. It's people like Killjoy and Vancanuck that are ultimately hurting the NHL. You can blame this (Bettman) or that (expansion) but, until the fans start supporting it's own product you can't expect it to grow. Killjoy, if you want to talk $$, then why is it that every country wants to put it's product in the US? Why does Korea, Japan, China, Russia, etc., etc. want our McDonalds, Pizza Hut, etc.? The NHL is not watered down. Only hockey extremist think like this. IMHO, I think that in the past 3-5 yrs we have had the best group of young players hit the ice in a long time. Grant it, every generation has it's known superstars but, just look at how many big names there are now. In some cases, there are now teams that have 2 or 3 BIG time players. The game is getting healthier by the year. Let's continue the growth by supporting each other and introducing the game to new people, not drag each other through the dirt. Someone once said "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say it at all." Those are good words to live by no matter what country you live in.
June 11, 2008 1:13 PM ET | Delete
Great blog....nice read and valid points, but you have to understand a die-hard Canadian's perspective (I do realize your Canadian, though I sense your perspective is different). We are a small country, neighbouring the most powerful country in the world, be it sports, culture, military, or economics. The one thing Canadians thump their chest and get passionate about is hockey...it's ours and we've given it to the world - of which we're proud. However, Mr. Bettman over the past fifteen years has done absolutely everything in his power to 'Americanize' the NHL. That includes shutting down the Nordiques and Jets and moving them to places were people didn't realize what hockey was. We had teams packing buildings night after night, only to lose their stars to southern american teams - where very few people care (ask Tiger Woods). We've recently had a Canadian billionaire who is extremely passionate about hockey, turned down multiple times in attempts to gain ownership when he's offering above market value...why? Because Mr. Bettman is hell bent on ensuring the southern U.S markets survive, even as they are propped up by the Canadian clubs through revenue sharing. Even when a team owner is bankrupt (Boots....nice call Gary...that's really too bad Nashville isn't moving to Kansas f%$^ing City!!!), Gary denies the Canadian's money. To all the American hockey fans out there...this isn't personal with you or the teams you support. All of our angst in directed at Gary Bettman. He ripped the heart out of this country in his early years and has done everything in his power to ensure hockey only grows in the U.S....but not Canada. It's absolutely critical that a Canadian become the next commish.....but it won't happen. Why? Because a Canadian won't 'know' how to grow the game in the United States.....turns out Bettman doesn't either.
June 11, 2008 3:12 PM ET | Delete
Blueshirt, Thanks for the take on the "Canadian viewpoint." I understand better now, why you guys feel like you have been taken advantage of. My husband has recently (within the last 6 years) gotten me totally and ultimately hooked on Hockey. I cant imagine a world without it. To have gone through what the Nordiques and the Jets Fans have gone through is horrible. I wouldnt wish that on my worst enemy. Trust me, If I lost the Predators, I would be b*
June 11, 2008 3:17 PM ET | Delete
Opps. it cut me off. I would be upset if I lost the Predators. I just think for the sake of the game we should really all try to get along. Doesnt mean you have to like me or I like you but at least have respect. Rivalry is one thing. :) Whether North or South of the Border, its the game of hockey we are all passionate about. But thank you for helping a little Southern girl understand the Canadian Hockey way of thinking.
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