Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ohio to Detroit?

Paul Shaheen from Research on Ice recently had an article indicating a possible move for the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets franchise to the Detroit area. They would open up shop in Fraser, MI, where the Wayne State hockey team previously played. Mr. Shaheen also mentioned that he'd like to see changes in who runs the organization.

I have a source who has told me that this is a done deal and more details should be known soon. It also sounds like Paul will get his wish, as it does sound like it will be a whole new regime. The only concern is if they will be able to draw in enough fans. I believe the big sheet of ice (arena has 5 sheets) holds a little over 3,000. There are many, many other hockey options in the arena. Including; NHL, IHL, NAHL, NCAA, CSHL, MWEHL, and the OHL. I feel it's going to be a tough draw in this market with all these other options, especially since there are multiple other junior and midget teams around.

My hope is they come up with a better team name than the recent NAHL team that re-located there. That team is called the Motor City Machine.

EDIT: I was informed that this deal is now not as definite as previously thought.

My view on this is I think the best would be to cease operations for a season. No, not because I don't feel Michigan is the right market or anything like that, but because I think the USHL works best with an even number of teams, like a commenter had mentioned. Perhaps taking more time than just a few weeks to look into Fraser would be the best idea for all involved. With the draft looming, they need to make a decision quickly, whether it be to fold or move to Fraser, though I feel it's never a good thing to rush into a decision like this. I would love to see a USHL team in Michigan as well as Minnesota.

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