Sunday, September 18, 2005



Yes, I was taken aback by the fact that the Oilers sold out their opening preseason game against the Flames. I can't believe it, but I think I may have underestimated just how psyched Albertans are about the hockey season.

There was--and is, I suppose--a legitimate concern that there are NHL fans who discovered during the lockout that, in Ken Dryden's phrase, hockey was a habit, not a passion. No question: there is a non-zero number of Flames fans who discovered during the lockout that they got more enjoyment out of the theatre, or minor home renovations, or walks through the neighbourhood than they did out of going to games. (And no doubt Edmontonians who have rediscovered their love of role-playing games and online bingo).

There is also some small number of fans who have closed their wallets on personal principle - people who are roughly thinking, "Pigs will fly and the EPS will get an honest chief before that bitch Cal Nichols (or Gary Bettman, or Ted Saskin, or Trevor Linden) gets one cent of my money".

The lesson learned from Friday night, though, is simply this: there is no substitute for winning. Franchises can do all sorts of things to add value to their tickets, or they can make all sorts of mistakes, but nothing breeds success at the bank like success on the ice.

Oilers fans at the margin think their team is going to be great this year, and want good seats on the bandwagon. God bless 'em.


I'm not sure what is more ridiculous, that a Flames fan would talk about another team's bandwagon fans, or that you would redefine the category to include those folks who start paying to support their team in pre-season.

Tell me, if Calgary doesn't sell out its preseason games, does that mean you have fewer bandwagon fans or just cheaper ones?

I lived in edmonton during the lean years. I mean the LEAN years. Back when Jason Arnott was the go-to guy. If they were lucky, they had 7,000 fans at the home games.

It never got that bad during calgary's terrible years. Oiler fans are the biggest bandwagoners around. It's not a "sports town" like people say. They couldn't support a CHL team, they completely bailed.

While I'm not really one to put much stock in statistics, your 7,000 number is total nonsense.

The Oil only averaged fewer than 13,000 fans once - during the 1995-96 season (12335 average=74% capacity).

The Flames worst attendance year was 1999-00, when they averaged 15,322 (75% capacity).

Given that both buildings were filled with roughly the same percentage during the lean years, I'd say both have an equal number of fickle fans.

Well, plus, what are we to make of the Edmonton credentials of someone who ever regarded Jason Arnott as the Oilers' "go-to guy" ahead of Doug Weight (or Corson, or Marchant, or even friggin' Buchberger)? Maybe he means Edmonton, Kentucky.

Well in 1993 Jason Arnott scored 68 points, including 33 goals.

That season, Doug weight collected 74 points, with 24 goals. Arnott was the "next Mark Messier" the media told me.

Arnott was the "sniper" on that team.

I attended games with 12 dollar tickets but sat near the glass because of complete lack of interest in the team.

That 13,000 number is bullshit.

d-mac = 1
Colby = 0

Please tell me you are the d-mac at the bottom of this story; sacamano in particular would be quite amused by this.

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