April 19th, 2018

Plenty of blame for lacklustre attendance

By Letter to the Editor on April 6, 2018.

Re: “Dwindling playoff attendance at Canalta Centre raises eyebrows,” March 31

Hopefully the timely article will generate much feedback on numerous issues: The Tigers, Canalta Centre and the fan support. This opinion is from a season-ticket holder for more than 30 years.

Unquestionably the relocation to an excellent facility at a terrible location has directly affected the fan support. And how about that bumpy Box Springs Boulevard?

Fans have different expectations. Personally the play on the ice, especially hockey’s different skills — skating, stick handling, passing, shooting and checking — makes it a great game when well-performed. A win is the purpose, but it won’t happen every time. It is disappointing when the team appears to be outcoached, when the players appear to lack the required effort, or when the play is the wrong game plan.

Unusual antics in the stands may add to the atmosphere, but it is doubtful that it will influence the outcome of the game. And neither will the hollering into the mics, nor the ear-piercing volume. The jumbotron’s lead for fan noise regularly drowns out the cheering. Why bother? Just have the jumbotron make the noise. The sense appears to be that the louder the announcing and the music, the better the entertainment. But it isn’t a rock concert.

Intermission entertainment is probably well-intended, but some are mind-numbing and overused. Reward the fans with a worthwhile draw; otherwise, soft background music will suffice. The fans should not have to holler to talk to each other.

The current head coach is not a favourite to many fans. He has a winning record, but his teams have regularly failed to win the big ones. It is puzzling why the Tigers continue to have so many short players compared to other teams. In a short series, our smaller team tends lose to the bigger, tougher players.

In the playoffs, a successful team will have all the players making their contribution. If younger players are not played regularly during the season, they will not be sufficiently developed and ready for the end of the season. Then the older players are overused, and they run out of gas.

The Tigers have provided generally enjoyable hockey during the regular seasons, but they have faltered again in the playoffs. This time the team has had key players out of the lineup. Did Mark Rassell have the same or different linemates in Game 6 than he had in Game 5?

The challenge to the organization is to develop the strategy to build once again stronger fan support. The first step is to assess whether the current program is moving in that direction.

Larry Samcoe

Medicine Hat

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