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View Full Version : Cyclones about to fill hockey void in Cincinnati (4/22)



TeamBoone
04-22-2006, 10:14 AM
Saturday, April 22, 2006

Cyclones about to fill hockey void
ECHL team coming to U.S. Bank
BY COLLEEN KANE | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Professional hockey will return to Cincinnati next season, but not in the form that might have been expected two months ago.

Seventeen days after the Cincinnati RailRaiders announced their American Hockey League franchise would not have a 2006-07 season at Cincinnati Gardens, U.S. Bank Arena announced the return of the Cincinnati Cyclones, an East Coast Hockey League team that suspended operations after the 2003-04 season. The two announcements are directly related, said Jim Moehring, vice president of programming and business development for U.S. Bank Arena.

The RailRaiders did not play this season after undergoing an identity change when they lost their NHL affiliation with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2005. Since October, the team had been trying to secure 2,000 season-ticket deposits to ensure the team would be financially viable. When the RailRaiders reached only 80 percent of that goal by the beginning of April, the ownership group decided it would not play this coming season.

Moehring said the Cyclones would not have returned if the RailRaiders had met their goal. He also said the Cyclones organization tried to keep the possibility of their return quiet so as not to impede the RailRaiders' season-ticket campaign.

"Even though we haven't played, we always thought Cincinnati was a good hockey market. We just didn't think it was a two-team market," Moehring said. "... (After the RailRaiders' announcement), quite a few people from the (Cincinnati Area Hockey Association) and other amateur leagues around town approached us. They really feel Cincinnati needs a professional team to anchor the hockey community."

The Cyclones operated in Cincinnati as an ECHL and IHL team for 13 years before calling it quits because of attendance that dwindled to just more than 2,000 fans per game in their last season at U.S. Bank Arena. But the Nederlander Co. retained ownership of the team and kept current with ECHL policies and dues in case a return looked promising.

The Cyclones hope to have a general manager and coach in place by summer, Moehring said. They will be one of 27 teams to play next season in the ECHL, an 18-year-old minor league that's considered one step below the AHL.



http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060422/SPT/604220348/-1/CINCI

Yachtzee
04-22-2006, 10:53 AM
Good for them. It did seem like Cincinnati liked their minor league hockey a few years back.

Caveat Emperor
04-22-2006, 11:10 AM
Good for them. It did seem like Cincinnati liked their minor league hockey a few years back.

They liked it when you could go and see it without having to deal with downtown Cincinnati and all the issues involved: traffic, parking, and safety concerns

The Gardens was a MUCH better venue for a minor league franchise, IMO, than the US Bank Arena is. Cheaper parking, cheaper concessions, fewer hassels.

KronoRed
04-22-2006, 02:41 PM
US Bank arena needs to be bulldozed, it's an outdated facility with little use, put the hockey team in the gardens.

reds1869
04-22-2006, 04:33 PM
US Bank arena needs to be bulldozed, it's an outdated facility with little use, put the hockey team in the gardens.

Outdated? The Gardens opened in 1949, USBA opened in 1975. They are both perfectly fine for minor league hockey, and I prefer downtown for a venue. I'm not a Cincinnati native, but I've never understood local belief that anywhere in this city actually has expensive parking--or that downtown is unsafe. You can park downtown for a dollar any day of the year if you are willing to walk a bit, and downtown Cincy is one of the safest downtowns you'll find if you know 3-4 areas to steer clear of.

reds1869
04-22-2006, 04:38 PM
More on the outdated arena from its website:

"The arena was virtually rebuilt in 1997. On the outside, the facade was redesigned and the entrance was changed. On the inside, concession areas were redesigned, restrooms were redone, and all the seats were replaced. Also, we installed a new sound system and Sony JumboTron. The bowl itself was redesigned to have the ability to shrink down to a "theater" type setup, or to be opened up to allow over 17,000 patrons room to enjoy a show."

KronoRed
04-22-2006, 04:59 PM
From its website ;)

Ask people who down there for the CUSA tourny a few years back.

reds1869
04-22-2006, 05:10 PM
From its website ;)

Ask people who down there for the CUSA tourny a few years back.

I've been there to see basketball and hockey and thought it was equal to most arenas of it's kind. It is on par with 'big league" venues like The Q (Gund Arena), though not nearly as good as something like the Cintas Center. Not the best, but certainly better than almost any other arena in the ECHL. I have no gripe with the Gardens, I just find it odd how harsh people are to U.S. Bank Arena and downtown venues in general.

BTW, Cincinnati Gardens is pretty much a replica of the original Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. It was built by the same company. Pretty cool trivia for the hockey fans out there.

TeamBoone
04-22-2006, 05:11 PM
More on the outdated arena from its website:

"The arena was virtually rebuilt in 1997. On the outside, the facade was redesigned and the entrance was changed. On the inside, concession areas were redesigned, restrooms were redone, and all the seats were replaced. Also, we installed a new sound system and Sony JumboTron. The bowl itself was redesigned to have the ability to shrink down to a "theater" type setup, or to be opened up to allow over 17,000 patrons room to enjoy a show."

And guess who footed the bill for this renovation (and it is a nice facility).... the Cyclones organization!!

BTW, there are a few $1 parking places (after 6 and on weekends), but not a ton by any stretch.

reds1869
04-22-2006, 05:28 PM
BTW, there are a few $1 parking places (after 6 and on weekends), but not a ton by any stretch.

It's after 5 P.M. now...the kinder, gentler Cincinnati. :)

Even if you pay parking near the arena it will cost less than ten bucks. The most I've ever paid at a Reds or Bengals game is $10, and I usually pay $5. Pity my poor sister who pays $60 to park at Fenway!!!

Regardless of pricing, I'm thrilled that hockey is coming back. I had a team in my city everywhere I'd live up to this point, and loved going to Cyclones games when I was dating my wife. Hockey is a thrilling sport to watch live and I hope that we stick to being a one team market this time around.

Caveat Emperor
04-22-2006, 06:24 PM
I've been there to see basketball and hockey and thought it was equal to most arenas of it's kind. It is on par with 'big league" venues like The Q (Gund Arena), though not nearly as good as something like the Cintas Center. Not the best, but certainly better than almost any other arena in the ECHL. I have no gripe with the Gardens, I just find it odd how harsh people are to U.S. Bank Arena and downtown venues in general.

Cincinnatians just seem to have a general aversion to the downtown area. I imagine that part of that is just in the city's makeup as a very suburban-oriented place, and part of that is a perception that the city is a high-crime area after the spike in the murder rate that has occured recently. It's not a downtown area that people spontaneously get the notion to go to -- but, that's as much a product of nothing being there as anything else.

As for US Bank arena, it's a dump with a nice coat of paint. It's outdated in the sense that it's too small to be a true "major league" venue, and too big for what an ECHL team like the Cyclones would probably need. It's long since been outstripped by the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indy and Nationwide Arena in Columbus. It's a huge contributing factor, so I've heard, in Cincinnati no longer drawing top concert shows -- promoters would rather stop in the bigger venues of Indy and Columbus and just let the Cincy fans drive.

But, it's there and the city is really stuck with it. There's no point in building a new arena because the city is never going to attract a professional franchise to fill the dates, and there's no point in spending money to build a new smaller arena that's going to host minor league sports and the occasional Foriegner reunion tour.

reds1869
04-22-2006, 06:29 PM
It's long since been outstripped by the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indy and Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

A Bluejackets game at Nationwide should be experienced at least once by every sports fan, regardless of how they feel about hockey. The CBJ and the Crew are the only things I miss about Columbus.

I agree with you that USBA is a dump compared to many newer arens, btw. The arena is certainly old by modern standards (which is a sad reflection on our throw away society). It is still great by ECHL standards, though admittedly the Nutter Center right up 75 is vastly superior.

TeamBoone
04-22-2006, 08:28 PM
They may not fill it for hockey, when there were two teams in town, anyway, but they do fill it for the many other events that are held there... and there are many more than just concerts.

It may not be the newest, but IMHO, it's not a dump either.

I know a lot of people are hesitant to go downtown, but I'm not one of them. I enjoy it.

biggestREDSfan
04-24-2006, 12:14 PM
I am very happy to see the Cyclones back in town! I am a huge Reds and Bengals fan. And I follow both teams very closely. I normally do not follow hockey, but I love going to a game and watching it. I would love to see hockey become really big in Cincinnati. :)

Chip R
04-24-2006, 12:48 PM
The U.S. Bank Arena is definitely not a dump. It's not Nationwide Arena or Conseco Fieldhouse but those are pretty new arenas. I would always hear about how parking was free at the Gardens but for the life of me, I could never find it. I always had to park a couple of blocks away in a lot, and pay to park. Don't get me wrong, I think the Gardens is a great place to watch a game and I love the Legends Museum. But the only advantage it has over U.S. Bank Arena is quaintness.

Heath
04-24-2006, 02:11 PM
I agree with you that USBA is a dump compared to many newer arens, btw. The arena is certainly old by modern standards (which is a sad reflection on our throw away society). It is still great by ECHL standards, though admittedly the Nutter Center right up 75 is vastly superior.

And as a Dayton Hockey fan, I was quite upset when the Bombers left quaint, cozy Hara Arena for the "big time" where half the fan base lived within a 20 minute drive from Hara.

Nutter's a nice place - but it's not suited for Hockey, IMO.