Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rocky Mountain Rage - Is it the End of the Line?

If you haven't made the trip to the Broomfield Event Center to see a hockey game, you may be too late. Sure the CHL is populated with a lot guys that didn't make it to the NHL, but you would never know it by the way these guys play. Hard hitting, hard skating and hard shots are all part of the game. Maybe they feel like they have something to prove?
The Rage made their first playoff appearance in the CHL, drawing the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in a best of 3 series. But they lost the series and the chance to play the second round against the Colorado Eagles, just up the road. Surely that would have been a beneficial result for all involved in the Colorado sports scene. If you think minor league hockey is tough on the ice, just imagine the grueling bus travel of the season. Traveling a mere 60 minutes between venues would have kept both teams fresh and the proximity of Broomfield to Loveland would surely bring in the Eagles fans. And their money is green, no matter what color jersey they are wearing.

But it didn't happen and now a shaky organization is on a knife edge financially. Would a seven round playoff series have saved them? Doubtful, but it couldn't hurt. Apparently the whole organization is up for sale, the arena, the Rage, together or separate. What are the chances someone will buy this team and keep them here? Your guess is as good as mine. But wouldn't a guy like Joe Sakic be a great idea for an owner of the Rage? I don't know what Joe's plans are post-retirement. He has been here so long I don't that he would go home or if this is his home. After Patrick Roy retired he couldn't seem to leave town soon enough. But if Super Joe is planning on staying, maybe he could breathe a little more life into this team.

Nothing like watching hockey up close. You see just how fast these guys are going. And fights? You never get the staged fight feeling at a CHL game. When these guys throw a punch, they mean it! It would be a shame to lose this team. But clearly this is going to be a challenge. If this team and arena was hurting before, the current economic climate isn't going to help. While hindsight is 20-20, it's arguable that there have been some foreseeable mistakes made in the management of this endeavor. Refusing millions of dollars in arena naming rights to name just one.

New management, some good publicity (and high profile at that if Sakic was involved) and continued winning could get this team turned around. Current Rage coach, Tracy Egeland, played a couple seasons with Sakic and the Swift Current Broncos. I don't know if they are old buds or what. But maybe there is more of a connection there than just a couple guys that used to play together. So if you've got a few million dollars and a love of hockey, come on down Joe!

Posted by: From the Point

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