In their first year the Colorado Eagles sold out every home game, garnered community support and made it to the Central Hockey League playoffs. The guys achieved most of their goals for the 2003-2004 season, sans winning a championship. Now the owners and coach look towards 2005 and 2006 where they want to continue improving the "game product" for the fans and hopefully host the CHL All-Star game in 2006. At this point, the team needs to remain flexible when it comes to player personnel and a television contract with Stan Kroenke's Altitude television network.The Eagles have signed a 10-game contract with Altitude, but with a looming National Hockey League lockout the contract may be expanded. "We think this brings a lot of value back to our partners who spend money on promotions and signage," said Bill Stewart, CEO of the Colorado Eagles. "Having the viewers on TV and having an extended TV deal, going from three televised games (last season) to potentially 10 this season is very important to us."If the NHL lockout occurs when the collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15, Stewart said he hopes Altitude network will want to televise more Eagles games."After they commit to 10 games they can commit to further games and playoff games," he said. "If there is an NHL strike we are hoping that Altitude will consider expanding that package."Kroenke Sports Enterprises, the managing arm of Kroenke sports holdings, is "cautiously optimistic" about the future of the NHL this season. Kroenke sports holdings include the Pepsi Center, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and Colorado Mammoth lacrosse team, as well as stakes in the St. Louis Rams and the Colorado Crush indoor football team."We are set up to expand the Eagles contract. If there is a labor dispute we are set up to expand our programming. We are looking at offering more games and filling holes with college programming," said Tom Philand, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Kroenke Sports Enterprises.With a potential expansion of the number of televised Eagles games, the fan base of the team could expand further south into Denver or possibly statewide."It is a natural progression that more hockey feeds further interest," he said. "It does not take a fool to see the success the Eagles have had in the northern market."
Should there be no NHL season, I will only have 4 World Cup games at the X to pacify me. Blasphemy it is, but I just don't get into WCHA puck, in spite of having the Gophers in my back yard.There's no minor league puck in my area, but there's always the WM Trashtalkers, feturing Mrs. 6Speed on defense.6Speed, hocky parent, sort of.
Maybe I can check out the Gwinnett Gladiators (since I now work up in that neighborhood).FuskieWho enjoyed the IHL Knights until the Thrashers ran them out of town...
For Canucks fans, I think the only pro hockey in the general vicinity of Vancouver will be in Victoria (if you consider an island two hours away by boat being close) with the "Salmon Kings" (yuck) playing in the ECHL (yep, a west coast team in the "East Coast Hockey League"). There will be lots of amateur hockey with various WHL and BCJHL teams. Unfortunately, it seems WHL coaches are adopting the "system oriented" snooze-fest style used by many pro teams.
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