NJ Devils buy Trenton Titans

September 21, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Sports 

As long-time readers of this blog know, I’ve been a season ticket holder for the Trenton Titans hockey team.  They are in the ECHL league – the hockey equivalent of AA baseball.

The Titans have been Philadelphia Flyers affiliates for years and have been owned by the Berman family – business owners from the area.

The NJ Devils have bought a controlling stake in the team.  The team will be renamed to the Devils for the 2007-08 season.
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One good move announced at today’s press conference is that the Devils will be giving free tickets to the Devils’ home opener to all Titans season ticket holders.  Sure, they’ll be nose-bleed seats but that’s more than we ever got from the Flyers.

The Flyers affiliation will continue this year and then presumably end.

Free the Stanley Cup II

February 23, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Sports 

A reader posted his suggested solution to the Stanley Cup problem this year:

I don’t think it should be given out.  Since the NHL stole it, it lost its Challenge Cup status, and thus shouldn’t rever back to it.  The NHL, while not playing, is an existing League with the rights to the Cup.  They should engrave it “No Cup Awarded Due To Stupidity”.

Now, the Cup should not sit in a vault, especially since travel to the HHOF will probably go down.  So what I propose is this:

Every Season Ticket holder to an NHL franchise should get to have the Cup for a day.  If the League truly wants to make it up to the fans and give back to the fans, reward them a day with the Grail of Sports.  After all, without their money there’d be no League.

Now, I agree with the sentiment.  However, I don’t think the math works.
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Let’s assume 3,000 season ticket holders for each team.  There are 30 teams.  That’s 90,000 different people who might want to take the cup home.  Let’s cut that in 1/2 for blocks of seats held by corporations and such to 45,000.

At one day each, it would take 123 years and about 4 months.  Unfortunately, that’s beyond any human lifespan, so you’d better hope that you got an early slot!

Now, if I had the cup, I’d invite friends and family over for a hockey party.  The cup would be placed in a location of distinction in the corner of the family room, and we’d watch a selection of great hockey games of the past (the Miracle on Ice – the game not the movie – and a few game 7’s).

Food would be beer, soda, hot chocolate, and hot dogs and French Fries.  None of this nouveau pizza or nachos – TRADITIONAL hockey food.

Free the Stanley Cup

February 16, 2005 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Sports 

There’s a movement afoot called “Free Stanley“.

The basic idea here is to free the Stanley Cup.  The Cup existed long before the NHL, and control was only given to the NHL in 1947.  The whole idea of the Stanley Cup was to be a challenge cup – for anyone to be able to challenge the current cup holder to gain control.

Now that the NHL season is dead, I agree that the Stanley Cup should be awarded to SOMEBODY.  The Free Stanley site lists a bunch of leagues (college and minor-league pro) that should be considered for a challenge.

It might work like this:  The winners of the Canada University Hockey Championship, the Allen Cup (senior league), the AHL, the ECHL, and perhaps the NCAA would play in a tournament to award the cup.

Currently, Free Stanley is primarily a Canadian phenomenon, but I think it should be more of a North American phenomenon.

See the site linked above and contact the Hockey Hall of Fame at info@hhof.com.

(Hat Tip:  A Small Victory)

Update:  My letter to the Hockey Hall of Fame:

Dear Board of Trustees:

I would like to recommend that you award the Stanley Cup to a team identified by a playoffs between several leagues who are playing this year, rather than leave it unawarded.  While the NHL players and owners are selfishly fighting for money rather than goals, hockey lives on in other leagues.
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I would suggest that a Stanley Cup Tournament be held between several of the following North American league’s champions:
Canada University Hockey Champion
Allen Cup champion
Memorial Cup champion

The teams would be seeded and then play a standard single-elimination tournament to determine the winner.

The Stanley Cup should be engraved this year – regardless of what the NHL does.

Mark Smith
Hamilton, NJ USA
ECHL Trenton Titans season ticket holder

RIP, NHL 2004-2005 Season

February 16, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Sports 

Today, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the entire 2004-2005 season has been cancelled.  This the first time since the league was established that the championship was cancelled with the exception of 1919 (when an influenza epidemic ended the season).

The NHL locked out the players after the players announced a strike against the league before the season started in September.  The league has pushed for a salary cap from the beginning – the players have resisted any salary cap.

I put the entire blame on the players.  There is no reason for someone who plays hockey to make multi-millions per year to play what is at best the lowest rung major league sport in North America.  The inflated salaries have priced the game out of the reach of most fans.  The owners have to raise ticket prices in order to cover these exorbitant salaries.
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In Philadelphia, the most expensive seats cost $85 each!  The LEAST expensive cost $23 each!  Contrast that with the NY Yankees, who only charge $12 per tickets for the cheapest seats.

While I’ll miss the season (and I already have missed it from October until now), it’ll only affect my TV viewing as I really can’t afford to go to many NHL games.  I’ll be watching my ECHL Trenton Titans where the entire 36-game season costs no more than $27 per game (including parking), and the cheapest seats are $10.50 for adults and $8.50 for children (who are $8.50 for all seats but the two rows next to the glass).  The caliber of ECHL play has been above par this year, as the lack of injury callups has kept the AHL and ECHL rosters full of high quality players (who would normally move up due to NHL injuries).  In fact, I’ll be at tonight’s game in Trenton!

Blaming the Victim

October 22, 2004 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs, Sports 

In Boston, 21-year-old Victoria Snelgrove was killed by police firing “pepper balls” into a crowd of revelers celebrating the Red Sox victory over the Yankees in the American League Championship series. (AP Article via Yahoo)

The mayor blamed the revelers for her death. Apparently, someone standing near her threw a bottle at a mounted police officer, and another officer fired the plastic balls filled with pepper spray into the crowd. One of the balls pierced her eye and she later died of head injuries.

As a result, the mayor is storming about banning alcohol in Boston during the World Series, and asking colleges to expel any students involved in criminal activity.

I think we have two problems here:
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2. The police overreacted. According to the story, the police are supposed to avoid shooting the pepper balls at people’s faces – something that clearly didn’t happen.

I think that the rowdy fans take responsibility for the riots, but that the police have ultimate responsibility for Victoria’s death. Training was clearly broken in the use of pepper balls anywhere near someone’s head.

(Disclaimer – my brother is a police officer. He probably wouldn’t be too happy about what I’ve written here.)

Stupid People #1 – Texas Rangers

September 15, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs, Life, Sports 

(Plenty of people being stupid – it’s time to write a few up.)

Texas Rangers rookie reliever Frank Francisco was arrested Tuesday after an altercation at Monday night’s Oakland A’s game vs. the Rangers in Oakland. (AP Story at SI.com)

It seems that the game was very close in the bottom of the ninth, and the Rangers had just tied the score with a home run. Some trash talk (note, that *talk*, nothing physical) started between the A’s fans and the Texas bullpen. This apparently enraged Francisco, who threw a metal folding chair into the stands. It bounced off one man’s head and hit a woman in the face, breaking her nose.

He’s been arrested and charged with aggravated assault. The game was suspended for about a half-hour and the fans were cleared from the area. The teams and umpires decided to resume the game rather than declare a forfeit (for which side is unclear).
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This guy is an idiot. He’s playing in the majors – he’s gotta be making a few hundred thousand dollars in salary. Anybody making that much can afford to hear a little trash talk without overreacting.

Even stupider is the Texas coach, Buck Showalter. He claimed that it was the fans’ fault that one of his overpaid players just had to throw a heavy object at fans.

I hope the league comes to its senses and suspends Francisco and fines Showalter.

USOC to Athletes – Hide Your Pride

May 17, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs, Sports 

This report in the Washington Times states that the US Olympic Committee has told athletes NOT to wave the flag after their wins or during medal ceremonies.

This gets the big Raspberry from me. It’s one thing for an athlete to avoid confrontation, but it’s entirely another for a country to tell its athletes to hide their national pride. This instruction is improper and must be reversed (or ignored).

Tell ’em what you think:
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My Sister – the Writer

April 13, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Sports, Web/Tech 

My sister, Laura Smith (scroll down – that’s her with the Phanatic), has started writing for a Philadelphia sports fan site. Here is her first article on the Lakewood (NJ) Blue Claws single-A baseball team.

I haven’t seen anything she’s written since she was using the special paper with the solid and dotted lines (the stuff that elementary school kids use), but it looks like she’s learned quite a bit over the years.

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Click the link and give her some more hits!

Bachelor for a Few Days

March 31, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life, Sports 

My wife is off to a company training class in Orlando, FL. She flies out today, and back on Saturday.

That makes me a bachelor for a few days. But will I be doing anything exciting?

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I’m so boring.

The Weekend

March 26, 2004 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Flying, Sports 

The weekend is coming up. The weather is looking pretty good for here – temps around 60-70F with just a little rain overnight tonight and Sunday evening.

I’ll be doing the following:

  • Tonight – Trenton Titans vs. Greensboro Generals in Trenton.
    I have season tickets. The Titans pretty much have to win their remaining 5 games to make the playoffs.
  • Tomorrow – Flying Lesson.
    Probably my second supervised solo at Flying W (N14).
  • Sunday – chores and relaxation.

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What are you doing this weekend? Answer in the Comments, or Trackback to your own site.

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