Posts Tagged ‘nhl’

It’s draft day here in Newark, NJ and this is the day that a lot of young hockey players have been dreaming about. First question I have is when Hartman will be selected?


Hey, did you hear the news? No? Come closer and I will tell you.


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 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.

Mike Vellucci was the guest of a live chat courtesy of the Detroit Free Press. It really is in interesting read and I highly recommend reading the full transcript.

Here are some of the highlights of today’s chat.

  • When asked how Colin MacDonald compares to former Whaler captains… Well we will have to wait and see. He is a great kid and very mature for his age. He works hard on and off the ice. The best is that he was a 15th rd pick of ours and has work so hard to just make the team and get better. He is a driven player.
  • Not expecting Heard, Levi, or Wedgewood back this year at all.
  • About Simon Karlsson… He got all the way here and was sent back home. He did not have proper paperwork. He should be here next week.
  • When asked what he would say to NHL fans affected by the lock out…Come watch us play you wont be dissapointed!!! I am as frustrated as they are. I love watching my old players play.
  • Albertini was sent back to Junior B.
  • Asked about Plymouth ever hosting the Memorial Cup…I am not sure we meet the criteria. I would never say never because Mr. K is such a huge supporter of Major Jr Hockey. He later stated that part of the criteria included lack of seating as the main reason and lack of hotel space near the rink.
  • When asked about Compuware Arena rink upgrades…The arena is only 16 years old and I like it alot. It is way louder than Windsor or London. We have looked at a new video sign.
  • Broadcasting of Whalers games… Comcast will be doing some live games this year. I think about 10. We have been trying to get our away games broadcast back here on Comcast for a few years. We are making some ground.
    • EDITOR’S NOTE: Sources with knowledge of Schoolcraft College Sports Network has told me that the final number of live home games will be closer to 5 due to conflicts between Comcast and SCSN, but this is a huge step for the Whalers and their broadcast partners.
  • Best nickname on the team… Curcuruto his is Chinner
  • Winterfest and the lock out…It will not go if there is no Winter Classic.
  • Who keeps the locker room loose? Willy, Miller, Whaley to name a few. Oh I almost forgot Muers. He makes me laugh.

Overall a good look into the upcoming season for the Whalers. The season starts for the Whalers this Friday in the Soo and the Whalers head back to Plymouth to host the Belleville Bulls in their home opener.

Photo Courtesy: Plymouth Whalers Facebook

We all knew the NHL Lockout was coming. Many people, myself included were optimistic that a deal would get done and everything would start on time. While it currently looks like both the NHL and NHLPA are far apart on many issues, the one thing that we as fans can take solace in is the fact that the OHL season starts this week. Without further delay, let’s get to the news.

  • Yahoo Sports lists the 10 Junior bandwagons to board until the big leaguers come back. (Buzzing The Net)
  • Even though there is a NHL Lockout does not mean that the AHL training camps are locked out. Word is Whaler J.T. Miller will be heading to Connecticut for the Whale’s training camp when it opens on the 29th (NY Daily News) and Whaler favorite Mitchell Heard will be playing in Lake Erie this season. (Denver Post)
  • Does the NHL Lockout pose a threat to the non-NHL events at the Hockeytown Winterfest at the end of this year? Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press tackled this subject in her live chat today. (Detroit Free Press)

Later this week I will post my review of NHL 13 and a 2012-13 season preview. In the meantime let us welcome the bandwagon into Compuware Arena and show the newcomers that the Whalers are worth the price of admission.