Posts Tagged ‘Whalers’

Peters
Puns abound as Keith and Ken breakdown the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Also we talk about the upcoming season schedule.

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Whalers 2014-15 Schedule Released

Posted: June 26, 2014 in 2014-15
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Cal   The OHL released the schedule for the 2014-15 season. There are some interesting things that stand out after looking at the schedule. Let’s take a look at the Whalers 25th season in the OHL. (more…)

We had the opportunity to pull the newly hired General Manager of the Whalers aside to ask him a few questions about the upcoming season.

Whalers on the Moon Podcast » Blog Archive » Episode 13 – Interview with Mark Craig.

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This past Sunday a report came out from Randy Russon on his website HockeyNewsNorth.com titles “OHL Whalers leaving Plymouth?” starting the speculations that our Plymouth Whalers were looking to move out of the Plymouth area. These rumors come up from time to time, so let’s see what Randy has for us.

Multiple sources, including one close to the team, have indicated that Plymouth Whalers are looking to relocate their money-losing, Ontario Hockey League franchise.

The Michigan-based Whalers have been playing out of Compuware Arena in Plymouth since 1997.

Founded by Peter Karmanos — who also owns the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League — the Plymouth franchise has been a part of the OHL since 1990 under other names, specifically Detroit Compuware Ambassadors, Detroit Jr. Red Wings and Detroit Whalers.

According to one source, the Whalers explored the possibility of moving from Plymouth to Perani Arena and Event Centre in Flint for the 2014-2015 season.

However, the Michigan Warriors of the North American Hockey League recently signed a one-year extension of their current lease to continue to play out of the Flint arena for the 2014-2015 campaign.

Undaunted, the Plymouth organization is now said to be looking at the Southern Ontario area of Hamilton to move the Whalers.

Despite considerable success in Plymouth under coach-general manager Mike Vellucci — the team has won nine West Division titles and one OHL championship — the Whalers have routinely averaged crowds of less than 2,000 over the years.

A number of OHL fans coming to me asking if this is true. Time to fact check this article, let’s start at the beginning.

Multiple sources, including one close to the team, have indicated that Plymouth Whalers are looking to relocate their money-losing, Ontario Hockey League franchise.

I’d be interested in who these “multiple sources” are. A number of times these rumors are started and spread by the fans because they hear something out of context. Who is this person close to the team? Is it an intern? They would be close to the team, but not accurate with news concerning the team. Note I am not trying to throw the interns under the bus here, but it seems the most likely that an intern would be his source, unless he was making it up.

The Michigan-based Whalers have been playing out of Compuware Arena in Plymouth since 1997.

Actually the Whalers moved into Compuware Arena in 1996. 1997 is when they changed from the Detroit Whalers to the Plymouth Whalers, but who’s counting?

Founded by Peter Karmanos — who also owns the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League — the Plymouth franchise has been a part of the OHL since 1990 under other names, specifically Detroit Compuware Ambassadors, Detroit Jr. Red Wings and Detroit Whalers.

This part is true. Let’s also add in the fact that Karmanos is also involved with the Detroit Compuware Hockey organization which plays at Compuware Arena as well.

According to one source, the Whalers explored the possibility of moving from Plymouth to Perani Arena and Event Centre in Flint for the 2014-2015 season.

However, the Michigan Warriors of the North American Hockey League recently signed a one-year extension of their current lease to continue to play out of the Flint arena for the 2014-2015 campaign.

Here’s where it start not to make any sense. Let’s just assume that the Whalers were looking into moving and they were looking to move to Flint. The Perani Arena and Event Center holds 4,021 for hockey games, just 517 more seats than Compuware. While there would be an opportunity to sell more tickets, the venue is not that much bigger than the venue that the Whalers are currently in.

Secondly, if this was a serious inquiry, wouldn’t you think that the people in charge of The Perani Arena and Event Center would want a team that would be a better draw than the Michigan Warriors? Currently this season the Warriors are averaging 920 spectators per game. That’s down from last season’s average of 1,014. The season before that? An average of 669.

That is also not including the fact that the Saginaw Spirit might have something to say about another OHL team moving closer to them. The Spirit have advertising and season ticket holders in the mid-Michigan area. With the team averaging just under 3,700 in attendance the past two seasons, do you honestly think that they would be ok with a team moving into their territory?

If you look at it, Flint does not make sense as a “profitable” move for the Whalers franchise. Moving on…

Undaunted, the Plymouth organization is now said to be looking at the Southern Ontario area of Hamilton to move the Whalers.

Oh look, it’s the [Insert OHL franchise] to Hamilton rumor that has popped up every other year. The last team to be associated with this rumor was Erie. Seeing as they just renovated their arena and a better team, it looks like that time to start up these rumors with another team. Looks like this time it’s Plymouth’s turn.

This is where this article saw any sense of credibility lost. Peter Karmanos Jr. fought hard to get the OHL to expand in the United States, eventually leading to being granted a franchise in 1989. This is just in addition to the Detroit Compuware hockey organization that he helped co-found in the 1970’s. Karmanos, a 2013 US Hockey Hall of Fame inductee also received USA Hockey’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2012, and in 1998 the NHL honored him with the Lester Patrick Award for his outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

Moving the team to a Canadian market does not sound like a move Karmanos would make.

Despite considerable success in Plymouth under coach-general manager Mike Vellucci — the team has won nine West Division titles and one OHL championship — the Whalers have routinely averaged crowds of less than 2,000 over the years.

If Mr. Russon did his research, he would have found that his statement about attendance is false.

  • 2013/14 – 2,478
  • 2012/13 – 2,850
  • 2011/12 – 2,657
  • 2010/11 – 2,730
  • 2009/10 – 2,685

Compuware Arena has 3,504 seats for hockey games. Using this number and comparing it to the average attendance, it means that the Whalers just topped 70% occupancy in the arena. If you use the number for seated and standing room (4,500), that percentage drops to 55%. Still no where close to the “less than 2,000 over the years”. In fact, only 8 home games this season were under 2,000.  There were 2 in the 2012-13 season and 6 in the 2011-12 season.

Yes, this season the attendance average dropped by 372 per game. However, I can honestly attribute that to mix of a very bad winter that lead to bad roads, and an underperforming team this year. It did not drop enough to spark a “We need to make a big change” moment.

After reading this article I contacted a few of my sources within the Whalers organization. I was met with the same response… Laughter. If there is any truth to these rumors, the people I talked to have not heard anything to move this from the crazy rumor bin.

Call this idea crazy, but Randy Russon is a person running a website. A website that publishes news and opinion articles that he writes.  What drives websites? Traffic. That is what advertisers pay for. What gets you traffic to your website? What better than an exclusive scoop on an OHL team moving?  I’m sure that his article has had a lot of views for his site in the past few days.

In an article also posted this past Sunday he posted an article in which he posted some opinions that he had. It’s his comment that he is “thankful and humbled with the advertising support that I have received to date.” For a site created this past December, I am glad he is doing well with his site.

In saying that, Mr. Russon, like any responsible person in the media, should check all of the facts of the story before they publish it. Clearly, research was not done in this case.

Currently all signs point to this being nothing more than a rumor. We have seen these rumors come and go in the past. Please remember, just because one part of the story is true, it does not mean that the entire story is true. A lot of the relocation stories that we see come out on the internet have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Malysa
In this episode Keith and Ken talk about the recent Whalers games, the magic number to clinch a playoff spot and interview Nick Malysa on his milestone of playing 280 regular season games as a Whaler, the most of any Whaler player.
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The Whalers beat the Belleville Bulls on Saturday, but Kitchener also pulled out the win over the Ice Dogs. The win lowers the amount of points needed down to  34. What needs to continue to happen…

  • The Whalers win.
  • Kitchener  and Sarnia loses.

All three teams play on Friday, but Kitchener play the Guelph Storm tonight. So we have four games to look at going into Friday.

  • Guelph (38-9-2-1 | 79 points | 3rd place in the West) at Kitchener (17-30-1-1 | 36 points | 9th place in the West)
    • Season Record: The Storm have had the Rangers’ number this season winning all five meetings so far. Guelph has also shutout the Rangers two times this season.
  • Oshawa (32-15-0-4 | 68 points | 1st place in the East) at Kitchener (17-30-1-1 | 36 points | 9th place in the West)
    • Season Record: Kitchener beat the Generals 5-3 back on September 29th.
  • Sarnia (15-30-1-5 | 36 points | 10th place in the West) at Ottawa (17-28-1-3 | 38 points | 9th place in the East)
    • Season Record: This is the meeting between these two teams.
  • Sault Ste. Marie (35-12-1-4 | 75 points | 2nd place in the West) at Plymouth (18-27-0-5 | 41 points | 8th place in the West)
    • Season Record: The Soo hold a 3-0-0-1 lead in the season series against these two teams.

There are a lot of scenarios that can happen with these four games, too many to list really. What I can tell you is that best case scenario, the Whalers will be down to needing 28 points to clinch. Worst case is that we are stuck at 34 points.

 

I cannot stress this enough, the Whalers are in the drivers seat in this situation. They cannot control the games that Kitchener and Sarnia are playing this weekend and they have the sights set on overtaking the Whalers in the standings. Like the Seahawks did in the Super Bowl this past weekend, you don’t let up.


36. That’s amount of points the Whalers need to get to secure a playoff spot and there are two ways that number goes down.

  • The Whalers win.
  • Kitchener (as of now) loses.

There are nineteen games remaining for the Whalers including two against the Rangers and another against the Sting. Here’s what the matchups look for the next game for each of the teams.

  • Kitchener (16-30-1-1 | 34 points | 10th place in the West) at Niagara (17-27-2-4 | 40 points | 8th place in the East)
    • Season Record: Niagara beat Kitchener in OT on January 10th.
  • Mississauga ( 19-27-1-3 | 42 points | 7th place in the East) at Sarnia (15-29-1-5 | 36 points | 9th place in the West)
    • Season Record: Mississauga beat Sarnia 4-3 on November 10th
  • Belleville (14-31-2-2 | 32 points | 10th place in the East) at Plymouth (17-27-0-5 | 39 points | 8th place in the West)
    • Season Record: Belleville beat Plymouth 4-1 on December 18th

What happens if:

  • Plymouth, Sarnia and Kitchener win
    • Whalers would need 34 points to clinch
  • Plymouth and Sarnia win, Kitchener loses. / Plymouth wins, Sarnia and Kitchener lose.
    • Whalers would need 32 points to clinch.
  • Plymouth, Sarnia, and Kitchener lose
    • Whalers would need 34 points to clinch
  • Kitchener wins, Plymouth loses
    • 18 games remaining for the Whalers and they would still need 36 points to clinch.

It should be of note that Kitchener has a game in hand on us right now, but they will catch up when they face Guelph on Tuesday. In the best case scenario that number can drop by four by the end of the day. Worst case, we will still be at 36.