I just got done reading an article in the Des Moines Register about the owners of the Iowa Chops intent to sell their franchise and pull it from Des Moines. Their plan would be to replace the AHL franchise with a Central Hockey League team; the CHL is a lower division than the AHL.
After reading the article, my initial question was:
Why is Des Moines getting screwed?!!
Let’s recap for those non-hockey readers:
Our first attempt at an AHL franchise in Des Moines was two years ago with the Iowa Stars, a team affiliated with the Dallas Stars. After a year, the Dallas franchise decided they wanted to have their team closer to home and moved the team to Austin, Texas. Why didn’t they think of that option in the first place? I realize the first year’s ticket sales were not much to be admired, but they had to have planned lower tickets sales in the first year of the franchise….right? Why would a company, not located in Des Moines, decided to invest in Des Moines only to pull their investment after 365 days. (not sure the exact daily count, just providing an example here) That seems fishy. (I stand corrected, after I posted this Blog I received notice that my facts were not accurate. The Iowa Stars were in Des Moines for three years, starting in 2005 when the Arena was completed.)
Then, the Anaheim Ducks decided the Stars had opened up enough of a window they may be able to swoop in and capitalize on the already created market. The second franchise in-as-many-years had a very successful year considering the circumstances. I even seem to recall a stat (that I cannot find now) that said the Chops had the largest increase in ticket sales year-over-year than any AHL franchise. Yet, a company, not from Des Moines, screwed the Ducks and did not own up to their end of their agreement. That company, Schlegel Sports located in Dallas, failed to pay a substantial amount of debt to Anaheim, which prompted the Ducks to pull their team from Des Moines well after a year when they nearly made the playoffs!
I seem to see a very glaring trend here; companies not from Des Moines have been screwing us! We have held up our end of the bargain and purchased tickets for an AHL affiliated teams two years in a row. We threw away the Stars sweaters after the first year and purchased the pork affiliated gear last year, even after other teams laughed at our choice of a mascot. Yet, we are now going to be subjected to a third team in-as-many-years, a fact that can not be disputed, and possibly a team in a lesser division than the AHL. Des Moines deserves an AHL team and we deserve a team that is willing to invest in our city and stay for the long haul. We have shown that we can support the most “farm teams” of any city in the nation and do it with great pride. We need a team that has no plans to pack up their sweaters and move after a year, or realize that their initial investment may take a few years to show a solid return (as is with any new business investment). We deserve a team that is willing to invest in us as we have in the past two teams…only to be let down by companies that are not in the Des Moines area, or even the region for that matter!
Where are the Minneasota Wild