Hockey Could Be Gone For Long Time.
Cincinnati Post by John Lachmann
After less than six months
of the Cincinnati
' existence, it turns out the American Hockey
League team will not even be leaving the
Cincinnati could be without hockey for a long
announced Wednesday they will not affiliate with
an NHL team in 2006-07 after their season-ticket
campaign fell short, leaving the AHL franchise
in dormant status.
launched its season-ticket campaign in October
and stated it needed 2,000 full-season ticket
holders to move forward and lure an NHL
affiliate here. The
only secured 80 percent of that goal, or about
grateful for the support we received from fans,
media, and the American Hockey League during the
ticket campaign," franchise CEO and president
Pete Robinson in a press release.
"Unfortunately, the numbers, while strong, were
not where they needed to be."
Robinson had said
throughout the campaign that the 2,000 figure
was necessary for the
just to break even financially, and also to lure
an NHL affiliate to Cincinnati.
as much of a factor as the support. Most AHL and
NHL teams work out agreements well before this
time of the year, which is why the
could no longer continue trying to build their
begin making their affiliation plans in February
and March, and we just did not have the numbers
to secure an arrangement," Robinson said. "We
had talks with two NHL clubs as late as
Robinson would not
say which teams he talked to. Columbus, an ideal
potential NHL suitor, dropped out of the running
about two months ago because of the lag in
Cincinnati's ticket sales.
The Robinson family
owns the Cincinnati Gardens, and Pete Robinson
probably will not make another attempt to bring
a team here. The only other viable rink for
professional hockey in the area is U.S. Bank
Arena. The Cyclones' International Hockey League
franchise was drawing poorly there when that
league folded, and the ECHL version drew even
worse before going dormant.
Gardens has now gone nearly a full year without
a full-time tenant. If Robinson does not intend
to bring hockey back to Cincinnati, it would
make sense to sell his now-dormant AHL
"We haven't really
spent any time talking about what other options
we may have," Robinson said. "I'm sure that
after today we will take some time -- and we'll
evaluate every opportunity."
The Gardens still
holds concerts and other events, and also had
hockey this past season, albeit at the high
school and youth levels. Robinson would not say
whether the Cincinnati Gardens would continue
hosting hockey games next season.
"I don't know, I
can't answer, 'what's going to happen?'"
Robinson also is
unsure why the ticket drive failed. The team
hired an advertising agency and ran a commercial
spot for months to attract potential fans. The
push seemed to work, since most of the 1,600
season-ticket deposits were from new business.
A few possible
reasons for the shortage:
* Too few hockey
fans in Cincinnati. Worcester, Mass., ran a
similar campaign, and it went so well the owners
ended it months early because it achieved a
* Lack of clarity
in marketing. Some fans believed the team was
already set to hit the ice this fall, and were
oblivious to the team's urgent need to build a
* Ducks' lack of
success. Cincinnati won just one playoff series
in eight seasons, and the Ducks' attendance
lagged well below that of the Cyclones when they
made deep playoff runs while playing in the
Gardens in the early 1990s. If the Ducks had a
better resume, that success probably would have
carried over to the
point my finger at anything," Robinson said.
"Maybe from our perspective it's just not there.
Maybe to be in the second-best league in the
world isn't as big of a thing as we certainly
feel it is."
Farewell To Pro Hockey A Look At the
Last Year Of Events For Cincinnati's AHL
May 1, 2005 -- The
Cincinnati Mighty Ducks win their first-ever
playoff series, rallying from a 3-games-to-1
deficit to beat the Milwaukee Admirals, 4-3 in
Game 7 at the Bradley Center with 13 seconds
May 11, 2005 -- The Ducks' last game in the
Cincinnati Gardens, a 3-2 win over Chicago in
Game 4 of a division final to fend off
May 13, 2005 -- The Ducks are eliminated from
the playoffs by the Chicago Wolves,
4-games-to-1, with a 4-1 loss at Allstate Arena
in the last pro game played by a Cincinnati
May 16, 2005 -- The Anaheim Mighty Ducks
announce they are moving their affiliate from
Cincinnati to Portland, Maine.
Oct. 5, 2005 -- The AHL and NHL seasons begin,
and Cincinnati enters its first pro season
without hockey since 1989.
Oct. 20, 2005 -- In a press conference headed by
AHL president David Andrews, the Ducks announce
they are changing their name to the Cincinnati
and launch a season-ticket campaign.
March 31, 2006 -- The
' season-ticket drive ends.
April 5, 2006 -- The
announce their season-ticket campaign has failed
and hockey will not return this fall.