Gross Misconduct Hockey Thoughts from a drifter on the hockey landscape

07/31/2009

RPI Plans To Take More Money From Fans

One of the collegiate guilty pleasures you’re going to have to get better accustomed to if you’re a follower here is my fandom of the ECAC’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI, if you’re nasty). The majority of my college hockey watching takes place at Houston Field House and I can virtually always be found there taking in an RPI game during hockey season.

So if you want to get into stalking me, enjoy beautiful Troy, NY.

So if you’re curious as to why this latest bit of information from RPI found its way onto my radar, well, there you go. It reads like the standard “season is approaching, get ready to buy tickets” type of news, but this year there’s a new spin.

The general public price remains as it has been in recent years for 14 home games, while four games feature premium pricing. The majority of contests will cost $10 for adults and $7 for children & seniors, while the four premium-priced games are $13 for adults and $10 for children & seniors.

The games with premium pricing are those against Cornell University on December 4, Union College on December 9, Clarkson University on February 6 and Princeton University on February 20.

That’s right, premium ticketing comes to ECAC Athletics. At long last fans can feel like they’re part of the big time as they’ll pay up more for tickets to the games they REALLY want to be at.

Great.

What do you think of this Dr. Horse?


Hmm… No sir, I don’t like it.

OK so I’m having some fun here because being dreadfully serious is dreadfully boring and this isn’t a topic that deserves to be lambasted, but it is a bit troubling for the future.

Premium ticketing for certain games is something that’s not new to sports fans in general (many NHL teams already do this including the Sabres) and, let’s face it, the cost for RPI games isn’t outrageous by any means. A weekend homestand will run you $20, there’s no price for parking and you’ll get a good night out of hockey in, at the least, a semi-festive college environment.

What’s a bit disturbing about this is, of course, the timing. RPI appears to be a team headed in the right direction.

After a poor regular season, the Engineers found their way in the playoffs upsetting and sweeping sixth seeded Dartmouth in the ECAC tournament first round and then taking ECAC Tournament finalists Cornell to three games in the quarterfinals before losing.

This year, the Engineers bring in two 2009 NHL Draft Picks with forwards Brandon Pirri (2nd round 59th overall to Chicago) and Jerry D’Amigo (6th round 158th overall to Toronto) as well as other forwards C.J. Lee and Marty O’Grady to join an already very young team. RPI has struggled and head coach Seth Appert has, for all intents and purposes, rebuilt the program in the last three years at the helm.

Whether the progress continues to bring success hinges a lot upon what this new crop of players can do immediately and with that the folks at RPI have apparently decided that folks will pony up no matter what, especially for certain games. The games they’ve got picked out are the traditional big ticket games each year taking advantage of the opponent or the situation.


Puckman wants to see you in Troy… And make you pay for it.

In the case with the game against Cornell, RPI is looking to capitalize upon the swarm of visitors that descend upon Troy from Ithaca each year and looking to make a few more bucks off of the fans from Cornell… Well really, paying more to come to Troy will really stick in their collective craws and that’s just fun to make them upset.

Much is the same with the fans coming from Schenectady from Union College. Making those folks pay a few bucks more for the pleasure of visiting Troy makes me laugh because they hate to do it.

RPI’s games against Clarkson and Princeton in February actually are premium tickets as far as RPI fans are concerned.

RPI and Clarkson are big time rivals in the ECAC, at least they are from RPI’s standpoint. Clarkson tends to have more rivalry-like hate for the likes of St. Lawrence and Cornell. In this case, RPI has chosen their game against Clarkson to be Alumni night and they’ll be honoring the 1985 National Championship as it’ll be the 25th Anniversary of RPIs last national title and hey, you don’t need a good excuse to bring Adam Oates and Daren Puppa back to town now do you?

Putting this event the same night as their game with Clarkson is a really nice coincidence though.

The game with Princeton is a convenient double-whammy as Princeton, traditionally, brings very few fans on the road which will not help them as this game is RPIs annual Big Red Freakout as well as senior night.

As that link explaining the Big Red Freakout says, fans can thank RPI for the NCAA rule banning noisemakers at games as the gift given out to fans in 1987 were horns and well… Wild, rambunctious and boozed up college kids with horns at a hockey game? I can’t see how that ever turned out badly.

RPIs record in the Big Red Freakout is something quite remarkable (18-9-5 since 1978) and they’ll be looking to get off a three-year winless streak in 2010 as well as avenging their Freakout loss to Princeton two years ago that saw the Engineers lose 4-0 in a game that wasn’t even as close as that score indicates.

Four premium ticket games, two of which are actually premium games that will very likely be sellouts. It’s a shrewd financially-driven decision by RPI to do this and, let’s face it they’re going to get the money they’re looking for here. It is a choice that I worry will be taken advantage of in future seasons and leading to ticket prices going up.

After all, RPI does have a nice new athletic facility to show off and try to make money off of (not that it has anything to do with the hockey program) but since RPI has made headlines locally for cutting jobs and talking about financial hardships making a few bucks off their only Division I men’s athletic program should be no surprise.

That’s a whole ‘nother rant entirely however.

I wanted to really tear ass about this more, but I can understand why RPI is doing premium ticket pricing for these games, I just hope that this isn’t a harbinger of doom for the future.

Sure, college hockey ticket prices are a bit higher in the midwest (Denver University’s single game tickets range between $17-$35 for example), but the demand out there is much higher as well so it makes sense. If RPI starts winning again, the long lost dormant RPI fans will come back and the students will be out in force if for no other reason than to be seen at the games.

As it is, the exhibition game with Prince Edward Island on October 3rd is a date most RPI fans cannot wait for just so they can finally get a look at guys like Pirri and D’Amigo on the ice in cherry, white and black.

I’m sure the coaching staff is hoping that the new class is able to inspire more goals and victories and make the fans want to come to Troy on the weekends once again.

03/23/2009

ECAC Weekend With A Twist

Normally I’d make this my recap post from a great weekend in which there were three fantastic hockey games played. Yale’s 5-0 whitewashing of Cornell doesn’t exactly qualify as a great game, but hey, two one-goal games on Friday night including a double-overtime thriller in which both games winners had to come back from a deficit late in the game to win it is pretty awesome.

Something came to light yesterday thanks to a couple of folks dropping me an e-mail to let me know that there were a couple big time hockey luminaries in attendance in Albany.

One of them is TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Now I had assumed that Bob would be in Albany since, you know, his son Mike plays for St. Lawrence. Bob has made a couple of posts on USCHO’s message board to say that he was indeed in town and that he tries to be there for all of Mike’s games.

Pretty cool dad, wouldn’t you say?

Bob was on NHL Live this afternoon discussing his trip into Albany where he let it be known that it was indeed true he wasn’t the only familiar NHL face there that weekend. The other guy that was here?


Some might say he’s got a complex.

That’s right – Gary Bettman.

I’m sure you’re wondering what in the world would Gary Bettman be doing at the very poorly attended ECAC Championships in Albany. Perhaps he was learning a few more tricks on how to think a half-empty arena is acceptable for attendance.

Maybe…


Gary might’ve thought he was in Atlanta, not Albany.

Turns out he was there to support his alma mater.

You see, Gary is a Cornell University graduate, something which Cornell is proud of. I’d like to think that Cornell might want to, you know, keep that one a little more under wraps considering he’s not exactly a glowing example of academia.

Oh sure, the title is great, he runs a major professional sports league – a fantastic level of achievement and distinction. Then again, he’s helped make the sport into a joke and has mismanaged it into a consistent punchline of how not to do things.

Wonderful.

Now here’s where I’ll out myself a little bit as I was a faceless, anonymous Internet blogger and make it seem as if I knew he was going to be in the house to throw things in his face. I came dressed for insult for Gary.

Any of you who were in attendance at the ECAC Championships may have spotted one suave individual wearing the finest of old school throwback NHL jerseys and it turns out you can really stick out like a sore thumb when sitting in amongst the red and white clad Cornell folks when you’re wearing these fine relics of past NHL greatness:


Hockey Joe on a Friday night.


Hockey Joe on a Saturday night.

No, I wasn’t decked out in a Red Wings jersey meant to fit in with the Cornell folks. I wasn’t wearing a new, snazzy, overpriced Reebok Edge jersey to show how much more money I was willing to fork over to Gary’s Empire of Bad Ideas.

Old school, baby.

Old school squads that Gary’s Raw Deal helped run out of existence.

I’d love to say I knew that he would be there and I did it on purpose to shove it all in his face and have it be my way of providing him with the middle finger that only Ken Holland can give him best.


You still can’t hear me Gary? Allow me to turn it up.

I’d love to say that.

But I can’t.

It’s pure coincidence that it worked out that way and while that sucks for me that I didn’t scheme up this MENSA brainchild of a reminder to Gary that the way things used to be are more beloved and more cherished than anything he’s schemed up since taking charge of the league.

I will pat myself on the back for pulling it off anyhow.

I’m just a little disappointed that either I didn’t spot Gary myself or he didn’t spot me and then commend/berate me on my choice of fashion. I think it would’ve gone down similar to an infamous movie encounter…


Dream Sequence: Hockey Joe (left) runs into Gary Bettman (right) at the ECAC Championships.

OK so that’s a bit overplayed, but that’s how it plays out in my head.

Bite me.

Gary, next time you’re in Albany I’d love to chat. I’ll be easy to find as I’ll have another relic from the past to help me stand out, just don’t think I’ll go changing up my site after we get to talk though. I know you pulled some fun on Wyshynski over at Yahoo because after you talked to him, his link for “Gary Bettman – Commissioner For Life” topics seems to disappear from the right side of his page (although it still can be found at the bottom of entries).

The invitation is always open, just drop me a line next time.

Kisses!

03/20/2009

Back To School: ECAC Championships

I’ll be there in downtown Albany, New York this afternoon and evening for the ECAC Championships.

You can bet your sweet ass I’ll be posting scoring updates to Twitter as well.

It’s going to be an Ivy League three-way dance with Yale, Cornell and Princeton taking part with the outliers from St. Lawrence joining the fray. Yale and SLU drop the puck at 4 p.m. while Cornell and Princeton are scheduled to let it drop at 7 p.m.

There is an added fun bonus to being in Albany this weekend. Should the games get done on time this evening, events at the Times Union Center will be wrapping up right before Siena College and Ohio State tip off in the NCAA basketball tournament first round game, set to begin at around 9:40 p.m.

Siena College, of course, is based out of Loudonville, NY – a suburb of Albany.

March Madness, indeed.

VS.

VS.

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