The Lethbridge Hurricanes for those who do not know is a Junior Hockey league team that plays in the Central Division of the Western Hockey League. This Division includes other such teams as the Red Deer Rebels, Calgary Hitmen, Kootney Ice, Edmonton Oil Kings and the Medicine Hat Tigers. All of these teams are yearly competators who rarely rebuild and constantly compete for playoff spots on a yearly basis, except the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes, as of today have been in a rebuild Since what the Hurricanes faithful have taken' to calling the "Zach Boychuk" era (06/07-08/09). The upcomming season will start the fourth, yes the fourth season that this team has been in a full rebuild and many believe that it may take another two plus years to see any results. The real question isn't why is this happening? No, it's way passed that, the question is now who is to blame? Here are the answers.
1) The first thing that this franchise needs to understand is that this is first and foremost a Scholarship Program in which young men from the ages of 15-20 can further develop thier skills in hockey. Whether they choose to go the Hockey Career route is entirely up to them and thier level of Development. This is about the players and not about managements pocket books.
2) the players themselves are not to blame. If anything, thier scouting has been terrible at picking out (on a yearly basis) different kinds of players. How do you expect your team to score goals if you don't have any Goal Scorers? A team is really easy to figure out and play against when all you have to do is counter one kind of player. Having 12 Defensive Minded Forwards is not really a great plan.
3) Fans have lost thier faith in Rich Preston. When things are just not working out, its just time to say goodbye. Being is a Rebuild for 5 years is ok when your an NHL Franchise but this is Junior League. No young player is going to look back and Brag about being part of a rebuild his entire Junior Career.
4) While attending a game, a staff member told me that Management couldn't care less about winning or loosing games. They only care about people buying tickets. That to me right thier was a red light that told me that Management couldn't care less about the players or thier fans, but only about how much money they can shove in thier wallets before the day is done.
5) Appreciating your fans and interacting with them is crucial if you want to keep people interested. One of the things that I noticed since Rich Preston took over as GM was that Fan Interaction with players declined almost completely to the Point that it was no existant. It used to be that people could go down by the locker rooms for autographs and players would come up and Associate with people. You just don't see it anymore. You even used to get to give out the games first star (if selected). My mother was selected once and got to give the award out to Dwight King, she was thrilled and still to this day talks about it.
6) The Franchise needs to be owned and operated by a Private Buyer. Someone who is willing to put the money into the team and it's Future in Lethbridge. For Example, this team needs a seperate GM and Head Coach, not one person who does both.
7) More Incentive Programs for Season Ticket Holders. Getting a Free Coffee mug is great, and I really appreciate it, but the look on my Parents faces when they spend over 5 thosand Dollars to Recieve 2 free coffee mugs is enough to make you want to crawl under a rock and stay there afraid for your life. Intermission Programs and Games, They do So much on the Ice but very little in the stands (Nothing if your a club seat holder, appearantly you don't pay enough).
The List can go on and on with the issues, but the fact is this team is in dire need of help. This is the 4rth largest City in Alberta and they can't even fill the seats enough to break even. The cold hard truth is that if this Team doesn't start drafting better and more Consistantly better. If they do not part ways with thier current Board Members and sell the team to a Private Investor. If they can not find ways to appreciate the die hard fans they do still have and the ones they could easily gain back then they will uproot and move somewhere else and try again. This could happen as quickly as next year.
The Prior information was the opinions and theories of Myself and the Fans of the Lethbridge Hurricanes