Hey, did you hear the news? No? Come closer and I will tell you.
HOCKEY IS BACK!!!
What’s that you say? This sport we call hockey has never left? Are you trying to pull the hockey sweater over my eyes?
Oh, the Whalers have been playing this sport the whole time? Huh. Well… this is awkward.
The NHL is back and while people have been caught up in the hype of lockout by claiming that “Hockey Is Back”. You and I both know that the sport never left. It was just one league that had a labor dispute that lasted for four months.
With Joe Louis Arena being rented out by Ford for the North American International Auto Show, the Wings needed a place to hold training camp. What better place could there be than the home of the Plymouth Whalers?
After the memorandum of understanding was signed and in place, the Wings took to the ice Sunday. The training camp was open to the public and the Wings followed it up with a Red and White scrimmage game on Tuesday night that was also aired live on Fox Sports Detroit and re-aired on NHL Network.
Oh did I also mention the Wings held a press conference while they were there? Something about a “new” captain. Ok, I will stop with the sarcasm. Before the Red and White game, the Red Wings announced that Henrik Zetterberg will be the new captain of the team.
There was a lot going on at Compuware Sports Arena this past week, gaining some valuable positive coverage of the arena and the teams that play there.
Yet, not everybody was happy as Hometownlife.com explains:
True fans of the Plymouth Whalers understandably must be having a spike in blood pressure this week.
Numerous media reports keep returning to the phrase “hockey finally is back,” when it never left venues such as Plymouth Township’s Compuware Arena, longtime home of the OHL Whalers.
As for now, the Wings will be gone by Thursday and Compuware will be back to normal. The Whalers play Friday and Saturday and not one TV station will be there.
That’s just how it is in Red Wing Town. It’s enough to give headaches to genuine hockey lovers who appreciate all levels of the game.
Look, I agree with Tim Smith here to a point. Yes this has been a Red Wings dominated media town, and you don’t hear the Whalers on the sports talk stations (unless you are listening to Sean Baligian), and the statement that hockey is back is an exaggeration at best. The Whalers have been here playing some great hockey since the start of the season, albeit their December showing was a little lacking.
What I have a hard time figuring out is the segment of the Whalers fan base that is hurt that Compuware Arena was filled with people who love pro hockey that may have little to no knowledge of who the Whalers are.
I’m going to be completely serious here. Why should we be mad?
Starting off as a hockey fan I grew up as a fan of my hometown Red Wings. As I grew I learned to love the sport. That grew to other players and teams. Even to other leagues. That’s how I found the OHL and the Whalers. Now I am running a blog and a twitter account dedicated to this OHL team.
Go back to me from ten years ago, would the fan base be angry that I had no clue what the OHL was and really only knew who the Red Wings were? If they were, would I even want to join that fan base that judged me for a lack of knowledge?
We all get in to this league sometime for some reason or another. We should open and respectful to the visitors that come out here. They will learn what a great team we have here, and that should start with the fans and go all the way up to the management.
I have a small issue with the article by Mr. Smith as well. Where are articles like this when the Wings are playing? Also, take a look at the other side of the story as well. Are the Red wings the only reason why people don’t know of the Whalers, or does it have to do with the marketing of the team?
BIG HINT: It’s both.
How we the fans portray ourselves is also a form of marketing. If we turn our backs on the new people coming into this arena, be prepared for them to turn their backs on us.