Thursday, February 28, 2013

WARNING!! Is The CHL On The Brink of Collapse?

Found the article below from the online publication, "The Junior Hockey News" (TJHN), which questions whether we are at the beginning of the end of the Central Hockey League. Anything that would get the Americans into the more stable environment of the ECHL would be welcome from my point of view. I also saw in a recent article about the new Brampton CHL franchise a concern about ticket prices and the ability to draw fans. "Brampton’s cultural diversity means that many residents haven’t grown up with hockey and they will need every incentive to get them into the seats.  Low ticket prices are an easy way to accomplish this.  Currently on their website tickets are broken into five categories with prices ranging from $10-$18 a game for season ticket holders claiming a savings of 50% off box office pricing.  Simple math says they are therefore planning on single game ticket prices ranging  from $20-$36. The departing Battalion (with all their attendance issues) current single game ticket prices range from $10-$20.  In order to get Bramptonians into the arena a reassessment of ticket prices is a must."

From what I have read the investors involved in the Casper, Wyoming franchise have to raise the necessary funds my tomorrow (March 1st) or that project will most likely be delayed.

You can never tell where the exact truth lies as these rumors about the demise of the CHL come up every year about this time but there are definitely some facts about several franchises that cause concern.

The End Of The Central Hockey League Could Be Opening More Junior Markets

tjhn1 Sources are reporting to TJHN that the minor pro circuit the Central Hockey League is possibly on the brink of collapse.
The Quad City Mallards have been operated and funded by the league for this season.  While good leadership is in place now, and attendance is up, the team is still reportedly operating in the red.
The Bloomington Blaze are not only operating in the red, but sources are informing TJHN that the league is now operating the team after Sandy Hunnewell-Vitale has abandoned the Central Hockey League Team.  Yes, just left town owing money and the league is now trying to clean it up.  David Holt, Blaze General Manager is now allegedly the owner of the MWJHL’s team in Bloomington after that team was also abandoned.  A quick look at the team pages shows no more evidence of the Hunnewell-Vitale Family.
This is not the first trip around the block for the Hunnewell-Vitale family as they did almost the same thing with a project in Muskegon just a few years ago.
The Tulsa Oilers are also said to be talking to the NAHL and USHL, investigating all avenues of what one source termed “escape”.
An email being sent around is saying; “A Central Hockey League team in the southwest US has made a minority ownership position available and I’d like to speak with you about it if you have the time. The team has a strong relationship with the local community and has performed well over the years. The current ownership group is very strong and has holdings in the NBA, MLB and Minor League Baseball.”
TJHN has learned that other teams in the league are now talking to the ECHL as well as junior leagues to examine their options for the future.  With this information, one would have to believe that planned expansion into St. Charles MO, and Brampton Ontario have to be seen as less than timely.  Another rumored franchise in Wyoming does not appear likely.
If the rumors are all to be believed, it is not likely that the CHL will see too many more seasons.  With several prime markets the USHL and NAHL could not only expand, but expand into markets with long hockey traditions.
When the CHL lost its agreement with the ECHL which amounted to a toster protection agreement, the end of days horn began to blow.  Contiued team defections to other leagues look to only increase.  The next six to eight weeks will determine the fate of the CHL and the opportunity for leagues to capture some of those markets.


  1. Barry, stay away from Hesler and that site. He hates the league and is very very seldon right on anything.

  2. Barry,
    Timing wise with the renewal of season tickets about tracking down Owner Doug for few words about the Americans' future committment to the CHL and possibility of joining the ECHL. What is the financial impact (penalty) to get out of the CHL and join the ECHL? Its very obvious that the CHL will not be around much longer. It's absolutely bad business/insane/suicide to make a go in Brampton when its been historically proven that it won't work. Additionally, Casper can't fund an ice plant for their arena. What league, if any, will we be watching next year? We have a right to know as fans since we are prepaying our season tickets.