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Some final thoughts regarding Carolina's win...

Obviously the fans that have remained by this team surely are overjoyed, and that's cool. But how is it possible, after all their defensive caterwauling, that I'm still able to open the paper, and on Page 3, read the following headline:

"Raleigh fans give hockey showdown the cold shoulder"

Keep in mind, this was the day after their Stanley Cup victory -- the hardest championship to win in all of sports.

One of the most interesting quotes came from an actual hockey fan, who said, "People need us to win the Cup in order for the interest to grow."

Planning on growing a large crop of fair-weather fans, are you Raleigh? It wasn't enough that the team had been to the finals twice in four years? What happens when you don't win it every time? What occurs when you need to spend a few years rebuilding, as all teams eventually do?

The question of fan growth is still being asked, even after a long and illustrious Stanley Cup run. It may not overshadow, but it's constantly there. It's a source of irritation to the legitimate fans that do reside in North Carolina and its surrounding areas, but all they can do is defend. The rest of the hockey world is waiting for the proof.

It's not anyone's right to maintain a NHL team in their particular city -- it's a privilege. And it makes it exceedingly difficult to convince on-the-fringe hockey fans (not Carolina ones, just general, potential hockey fans) that they should be supporting this league when questions are being asked about one of its now-elite teams. "Why should I follow the NHL, when the majority of Raleigh doesn't even care that they might win a Stanley Cup?" Do you have any idea how many times I've heard that? Do you realize how bad it looks and sounds?

Raleigh is in the spotlight now, and they had better produce, because talk is cheap. No one's asking for the NHL to replace basketball as the sport of choice. To do so would be extremely foolish. But when you win a major sports championship, and people are still asking where your fans are? How is the rest of the NHL supposed to respond to that? How are we to defend that to the critics? 30,000 fans coming out to a Cup celebration is a great start. But you had better work hard and show some legitimate results -- it's your duty to the rest of the league as Cup champions.

There's Hockey Country, and a Hockeytown. Right now, Raleigh -- the Stanley Cup champions -- barely qualifies as a hockey hamlet. They might want to start changing that. They were just given the biggest, shiniest reason in the world to start.

6 responses to "Nothing changes if nothing changes"

  1. I can't wait for Acid Queen to get her thong in a tangle over this. My Lord what senselessly defensive person.

    Everything stated here is the Gods honest truth when it comes to hockey in the South States. The true fans in the region know it too, but they buckle everytime it's put to them. Their spineless responses lack any constructive thought. Inten years when they become the Houston Hurricanes, they'll all be scratching their asses wondering what the hell happened!

    reality check

  2. Everyone, please, stop dumping on the Caniacs.

    This is a city/region where just about nobody followed (or knew about?) hockey 10 years ago. And where so many people are invested in football, NASCAR, and other sports.

    30,000 fans at a Stanley Cup parade in Carolina -- that's a great number. Do you think more would show up in any other American city?

    Anonymous

  3. Where's the dumping? Nowhere here. Where's the defensive nature? Everywhere. Once again, Canes fans, prove the masses wrong. Until you can, the questions will continue.

    30,000 is a decent number. It's not great, especially for a city that's proclaiming that it has fans ferreted in every nook and cranny that outside media are unable to witness.

    Another American city that would have pulled down 30,000? Perhaps you've heard of Detroit. Fabulous hockey town.

    10 years of building a fan base (or so the claims go) -- two final appearances in four years, one Cup -- and still questions remain. Stop making excuses, stop whining and start showing the proof.

    The Universal Cynic

  4. I understand what you're saying, Anonymous. And I'm not trying to dump on you, here...

    But - yah, I can think of a couple U.S. cities that would come up with more than 30,000 fans for the Cup Parade:

    "The Detroit Red Wings exorcised the biggest demon in hockey by
    halting their 42-year drought and winning the Stanley Cup. The
    summer-long party continued with a parade today as an estimated
    750,000 cheering fans lined the streets of Detroit."

    http://www.canoe.ca/StatsHKN/BC-HKN-LGNS-WINGPARADE-R.html

    Wardo

  5. Oops, she beat me to it.

    Wardo

  6. Back in 1980, my hometown Junior hockey team won the first of two back to back Memorial Cups. The Cornwall Royals were the pride of the city then and feature such names as Gilmour, Hawerchuk and Crawford. We had a parade for them when they returned from Calgary with the Cup and estimated 15,000 people lined the downtown streets from the Civic Complex to City Hall. We are a town of 45,000! Small by QMJHL or OHL standards. I imagine any Junior hockey City worth its salt would actually outdraw the Canes victory turnout, and that's a crying shame. This is what happens when an American is appointed commisioner of the NHL. In a perfect NHL, there would be Quebec, Winnipeg, and Hamilton instead of Carolina, Phoenix (and take your pick of) Atlanta, Florida, or Anaheim.

    reality check