With the Arizona Sundogs and Denver Cutthroats suspending operations for 2014-15, the Central Hockey League now has seven teams for the upcoming season, and it’s very possible that the upheaval isn’t over yet.
Right now, any owner and management group in the CHL with any business sense at all should be recalculating revenue projections and the operating budget for the operating season based on the current seven teams.
As I’ve mentioned, seven teams means at least seven fewer Friday or Saturday night home games, which produce enormous ticket revenue for minor league hockey teams. You also have the specter of greatly-increased travel costs hanging over the remaining teams, especially for Rapid City and Brampton. As geographical outliers, Rapid City and Brampton have no day trips – meaning every trip has at least one extra day of bus rental, one extra night of hotel rooms, and at least half a day of per diem for the players and staff.
One of those two teams could sit out the season and perhaps normalize the disparity between revenues and expenses for the six that play, while at the same time saving the ownership group hundreds of thousands of dollars by not throwing money down the toilet.
Secondly, don’t be fooled by press releases about player signings into thinking that this team or that team won’t sit out. Both Denver and Arizona announced player signings just eight days before they announced their voluntary suspension of operations.
For the staffs, players, and fans of the remaining CHL teams, hopefully today was the end of the bad news. But don’t be surprised if the bad news keeps coming.
The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and not his current or prior employers.