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Thread: Road to 2009-2010 Champions Hockey League

  1. #251
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    Karsten, I agree with your point that hockey in Europe is concentrated in a few areas, but, thing can change. Germany is actually a good example. German hockey first appeared in Berlin in the early 20th century, and the city league is ongoing for over 100 years. Later, hockey was concentrated in Southern Germany, near the Alps - where its cold in winter and you could play outside. This area, mostly Southern Bavaria, is still the power house of German hockey, with many junior players in about 100 clubs. In the late 60ies, professional teams in the West (Düsseldorf, Cologne) started to attract players with good money and, accordingly, started to attract spectators. Now if you look at the current map if DEL clubs, teams are spread all over Germany. Sure, there are some white spots, in particular in the East (former GDR) for several reasons. When my interest in hockey started back in the early 80ies, half of the Bundesliga teams where located in small Bavarian cities. Nowadays most teams are in big cities.

    My point is, yes, there are traditional areas, there is local rivalry, but professional hockey has to develop. Which means, you have to take a pot of money and build an arena in an interesting market and plant a teams there, like it happened in Hamburg. Of course, European sports fans don't like that, but who cares what fans from traditional teams think, if you can gain new fans in a new market?


  2. #252
    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post

    Off topic from the Champions League, I know.....but since the CL is apparently dead in the water, what the hell?
    Well, Fasel is no longer saying that the CHL is being merely postponed. It is in effect suffering from cardiac arrest. The IIHF is doing its best to give it CPR, but its not very successful.

    Again, this is not just merely a question of loss of sponsors. It is also very much about finding a format that interfere as little as possible with the national leagues. And this will be hard. Today, Fasel suggested to make the Davos Cup during Christmas the basis of a future CHL. Just one problem with this: it would been that Davos would participate every year!

    Yeah, the IIHF is entirely back to square one.

    http://www.allhockey.ru/news/56820/

  3. #253
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    Hello you all!

    I am truly sorry, if this point has already been made, but;

    The role of the World Championship tournaments as well as Euro Hockey tours have to change too!


    The problem with the World Championship tournamets already started in the 1970s, when the Canadians brought in the players, who didn't play in the Stanley Cup playoffs!

    All the best
    Jukka

  4. #254
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    I've seen some very interesting postings here. As CHL failed (once again) the discussion really shifted to the basics of european hockey culture...

    I generally agree with most of you, that copying the NHL concept wouldn't work in Europe. At the end of the day, this has to do with the fragmented cultural situation described. You can't simply put something new on the market - people prefer tradition.

    Pan-European club hockey games are only possible in a tournament mode, I believe. This is a few games in addition to the national league competition. Tournament mode includes all-season challenges such as CHL (I wouldn't call it 'league' anyway). Maybe the proposed classical tournament of several days' duration is a way out of the dodgy situation?

    In regards to the market-in-big-city-discussion: It's an intersting statement that only clubs in smaller cities can attract crowd. The argument of not having alternatives on Saturdays is catchy. But maybe this is only true for weak leagues? Could we even go that far to say the weaker the league the more smaller cities are in? This seems to be mostly true for Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Poland. On the other hand I wouldn't say the Swiss League is weak but we still have Ambrì-Piotta, Davos and Langnau in the top tier and not Basel, Lausanne, Lucerne or St. Gallen... What about Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic?

  5. #255
    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milbi View Post

    In regards to the market-in-big-city-discussion: It's an intersting statement that only clubs in smaller cities can attract crowd. The argument of not having alternatives on Saturdays is catchy. But maybe this is only true for weak leagues? Could we even go that far to say the weaker the league the more smaller cities are in? This seems to be mostly true for Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Poland. On the other hand I wouldn't say the Swiss League is weak but we still have Ambrì-Piotta, Davos and Langnau in the top tier and not Basel, Lausanne, Lucerne or St. Gallen... What about Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic?
    Hi, and welcome. Great post.

    You ask an interesting question to which I have no simple answer.

    If you look back in time, you will find that the big cities (typical the capitals) were the epicentre of European hockey in the earlier days. In Sweden and Russia, hockey was virtually totally concentrated in the capitals, Stockholm and Moscow. In Finland, it was Tampere (with all its lakes). In Germany and Czechoslovakia, hockey was less concentrated, but top clubs were still located in the capitals (Berliner SC and LTC Prague) as was the case for France (Paris). Same goes for a lot of other countries. In Spain, hockey was initially located in Madrid, and in Italy in Milan. In Denmark and Norway, clubs around the capital dominated hockey during the first decades. The list goes on.

    Rising income and the rapid growth of other leisure/entertainment activites led to a decline of hockey in the big cities. This is at least my hypothesis.

    I don't think there is a positive connection between the "strength" of the leagues and the size of the hockey towns. If there is any connection, its rather the reverse, but only in the lowest end of the scale, i.e. countries that are really suffering from the lack of depth. Here, there is a tendency that hockey is indeed concentrated around the major cities. Examples: Bulgaria: Sofia, Iceland: Reykjavik, Greece: Athens and Saloniki.

    I can only think of one major European country where hockey never really managed to move out of the capital, and that's Norway. Bad infrastructure (long travelling) particularly explains this. Everybody who has been on vacation to Norway are surprised how long time it takes to go from point A to point B.

  6. #256
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    I think market size (i.e. the size of a town being home to a hockey team) is only a indirectly the aspect to look on. Directly it is the resources a town/region allocates towards the hockey team.

    In that respect to what extend a team can be funded and thus be competitive or not is subject to some technological resp. market properties that play into the hands of smaller towns when compared to the bigger ones (but not against the very big)

    First of all I think one has to realize that the regions as markets are being contested by several competiors in the leisure/entertainment industry (traditionalists may not like these terms but ultimately they describe what's it about).

    I put up the following (economic) theory:

    In a market the number of pro sports teams that can be sustained (not necessarily in different sports) is linked to the willingness to allocate resources to these teams via the channels of consumer purchases (tickets, merchandise) and corporate sponsors who buy advertising (this is just to start, not very surprising probably).
    The teams compete for these resources and for historical and technological reasons teams in certain sports (soccer especially) had a "first mover advantage" and established themselves in these markets as dominant incumbents that more or less suck up all resources and thus deter other teams in the same sport from groiwng because they can't gain enough support (compare it to a forest, the trees who started first take the light and below it's dim and their competition has a hrd time). No if a city is of let's say medium size (small enough) so that the incumbent leaves to little resources available the second mover sports teams can't hardly grow.
    This is what goes on within the city/region/market but of course the teams within one sport from different markets compete against each other and one might imho plausibly assume that the consumers supporting a team within their market might care how successful their team is in the competition against the representatives of the other markets.

    If that holds in a small town the contest between teams of different sports might easily end in favor of the team of the in the bigger picture smaller sport because the excpectation of the small city in having a team in the big sport might not be very bright as it would have to compete with teams strongly supported by bigger markets and thus having more financial power.
    With that prospect the small city might find it more attractive to concentrate its resources in a team in the smaller sport where it will compete with teams from equally small markets or the weakly supported "second rate" teams from big markets that are constrained by the strong incumbent teams of their market.

    So without having any insider information on Swiss sports culture I think this is a nice example: Basel has a dominant football team that binds the biggest part of the city's/market's resources leaving too little spectators etc for another team to grow big enough to be competitive. Langnau on the other hand might never be able to have a competitive football team because due to the competition of the big markets the price to pay for competitive team could be too high. If Langnau however "chooses" to compete in the smaller sport the resources might be sufficient to be competitive because the opponents would be of a similar economic background which gives a sufficiently good prospect.

    To the elemnts of this theory I would like to add the fact that due to the physical constraints hockey stadiums are subject to available masses of spectators do not play a big role. Hockey arenas don't differ so much in size potentially as footall stadiums do and thus a bigger city's advantage of having more people diminishes in hockey. If we assume that the willingness to pay is quite similar over potential spectators (masses of people with similar low reservation prices) the advantage of the city comapred to the small town might vanish overall (absent corporate sponsorship that is). In other words, even if the bigger city had a very big arena (say+10k) and the smaller town only a 5k rink the difference in revenues is much less than it would be in soccer where the city may hava a 50k stadium and the smaller town only a 10k ground....

    So far for some spontaneous economists thoughts...

  7. #257
    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Rex, some interesting theoretical thoughts. I do however doubt that a general theory about the geographical evolution of European hockey can be made. It appears to me that each country tells a different story.

    Lets focus on the there Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Three countries with similar cultures, and roughly equal demographics and economics.

    In all three Scandinavian countries, bandy preceded hockey. Bandy was picked up roughly at the same time as football (i.e. in the 1890s), so one cannot speak about first mover advantages.
    In Sweden, hockey gained ground in the early 20s. As I have noted in another thread, in Denmark, the same could easily have happened, but mild winters prevented the sport from growing (bandy was also put to rest - in 1924). For historical reasons, in Norway, it took a little longer for the start of up hockey (mid 30s).

    In all three countries, there have never (at least until the recent financial crisis where the been any competition between football and hockey. A strong demarcation line is made between football and hockey. Each sport has its own season. Hockey primarily compete with other winter sports.

    In Sweden, hockey became an instant success--very much thanks to Raoul Le Mat & co, who had very good connections with the money strong bourgeouis + the success of the Swedish national team at the 1920 Olympics. From the 1930s and onwards, hockey started to spread from the region of Stockholm to other parts of the countries, but never really to the Southern part of Sweden (the part that used to belong to Denmark - Skåne, Halland & Blekinge) for the simple reason that this region suffered from the same mild climate as in Denmark.
    In the 1950s and 60s, when hockey was played in open arenas, hockey often drew as big crowds as football - even despite the harsh weather conditions with snow and -10C. Now where hockey has moveds indoor and the capacity of the arenas have become smaller, this is indeed still the case with a few exceptions (Stockholm and Malmö). The richest sports clubs in Sweden are hockey clubs.
    In Sweden, football and hockey are the two biggest sports. Each sport has its season, but in Winter, hockey does not really suffer from the competition of other sports such as handball.
    Football rules in the Southern part of Sweden where hockey never managed to take hold: The most succesful football teams are located in this region, and many of them are small town football clubs: Helsingborg, Kalmar, Elfsborg (Borås), Halmstad, Örebro, Trelleborg etc. I.e. cannot be explained by city and market size.

    In Norway, hockey has always been concentrated in the Oslo region and in Trondheim (second largest city). The geographical conditions (mountains and many closed roads in Wintertime) prevented to sport from spreading to other parts than Southern Norway. The rise of a few other clubs are due to special reasons: Stavanger is helped by strong sponsorships from the oil industry and Hamar and Lillehammer were helped to grow by the Lillehammer Olympics in 94.
    In Norway, hockey never became a popular sport. The big winter sport is skiing - a sport that can hardly be said to have a market nor attracting big crowds (except from Holmekollen), but it is immensely popular. Handball has also become bigger, very much due to the success of the female national teams over the past 20 years.
    The biggest sport - sine qua none - is however football. The Norwegian season is very short, but the media are going crazy. And when the season is over, its still football, football, football. Now from other European leagues, especially GBR.
    Unlike in Sweden, the hot spots of football are very geographical dispersed. Though still a factor, the geographical conditions did not hamper the growth of Norwegian football as the mountain roads are not closed during Summertime. Rosenborg of Trondheim is the most successful team, but other stable teams in the Norwegian league comes from incredibly small towns such as Molde, Aalesund, Bodø and Sandefjord. Again not a question of city and size. Indeed, the hockey clubs come from bigger towns.

    In Denmark, hockey really only started to grow in the 1960s where many clubs saw the light of day. Up to the mid70s to late 70s, the region around Copenhagen dominated Danish hockey. In the early 70s, hockey became the most popular sport in wintertime. The hockey games would always draw bigger crowds than other winter sports (still the case), but the sport wasn't promoted due to the fact that Denmark didn't have a competitive national team (same story as in Norway). Bad club management and perhaps changes in culture led to the decline of hockey in CPH and the rise of hockey in the province. With the exception of Herning and Odense, the most successful clubs have merged with football clubs (Esbjerg, Aalborg). Football is bigger in all four towns, but as mentioned, there is no real competition between football and hockey.
    Like in Norway, football is by far the biggest sport in Denmark. Unlke in Norway, the football has always been the most popular sport. In the past 15-20 years, the Danish football industry has grown immensely. One of the reasons for this is the FIFA/UEFA transfer rules which have supplied the clubs with a lot of money from international player transfers. Another reason is the arrival of businessmen to the sport. Today, Copenhagen FC is one of the richest sports clubs in Europe with an annual turnover of around $300 mio., more than the budgets of all NHL teams combined (but located in a far smaller market - CPH is not bigger than a U.S. middle sized city (1 mio).

    Each country has its own history, and I believe its hard to make general sense of the geographical evolution of hockey.

    In Russia, football definitely had first mover advantage as hockey was only started after WWII. As in Sweden, hockey became an instant success. Initially it was heavily concentrated around Moscow, and the sport often attracted as big crowds as football (often up to 50-60,000 at Lenin Stadium). Moscow's reign in hockey would last right until the end of Soviet Union, but thereafter the sport would suffer from neglect (largely due to lack of money). Football has managed to maintain its stronghold in the Moscow region (Spartak, FC; CSKA, Dynamo, Lokomotiv, Saturn etc).

    In the Czech Republic, hockey is still the most popular sport (recently, there was a survey on this), but football is almost just as popular. Football has a stronger hold in Prague, and in Ostrava but apart from this most of the teams in the Czech football league comes from the same towns (big and small) as the hockey clubs: Ceske Budejovice, Brno, Plzen, Liberec, Kladno etc. There are a few notable examples, namely Pardubice and Karlovy Vary. Pardubice is definitely a hockey hotspot, but the same cannot be said about Karlovy Vary.
    Last edited by Karsten; 05-08-2009 at 12:57.

  8. #258
    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    P.S. if I was to pick the single most important factor for the growth of hockey in Europe, I would refer to the success of the national team. Unfortunately, the gap between the elite and the contending nations have been too big for hockey to become a big sport in Europe. But the success of the national team goes a long way explaining the popularity of hockey in Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Switzerland is indeed the only outlier in this regard.

    But this, of course, does not explain the geographical dispersion of hockey within the elite countries, other than it has helped to foster an immense depth and thus countless of hockey clubs in the countries mentioned.

  9. #259
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    Being a fan, who currently lives in a very non-traditional hockey market (Atlanta), I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Champions Hockey League on Universal Sports and am genuinely disappointed that it won't be around. The start of a new league is always a gamble and it looked to be a success, until the economy unfortunately tanked. Universal Sports had good coverage of the tournament and the announcers seemed truly excited about the tournament.They talked about it being a benchmark for comparison between the NA and European levels of ice hockey. I remain skeptical of its future but I can say that the passionate almost sold out crowds in places like the beautiful, gigantic O2 World and the Hallenstadion in Zurich were extremely enjoyable to see and the packaging and marketing was clever and creative. I think we can only hope that this event returns as I think, although we argue about it constantly, it would be a great thing for European hockey, and I think hockey internationally in general.

  10. #260
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    Agreed. Welcome to the board, by the way.

  11. #261
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    Fellas,

    Would you help me with some information?

    I work for a Brazil ice hockey e-magazine and I need to know if do european ice hockey leagues and IIHF World Championships lit a red light and sound the horn every goal, as they do in NHL.

    Thanks a lot,

  12. #262
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karsten View Post
    Well, Fasel is no longer saying that the CHL is being merely postponed. It is in effect suffering from cardiac arrest. The IIHF is doing its best to give it CPR, but its not very successful.

    Again, this is not just merely a question of loss of sponsors. It is also very much about finding a format that interfere as little as possible with the national leagues. And this will be hard. Today, Fasel suggested to make the Davos Cup during Christmas the basis of a future CHL. Just one problem with this: it would been that Davos would participate every year!

    Yeah, the IIHF is entirely back to square one.

    http://www.allhockey.ru/news/56820/
    What ! they killed it? I had very little chance to watch it last year, until I learned they were showing it weekly on a digital station of mine. Very little advertisement, I saw little at the end, but still, disappointed. I was hoping to catch many more games this year.



    Well I better download Davos vs Blackhawks then and Lions. Does anyone know where I can download the final of the Final of this tournament?

  13. #263
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    NHL.com

  14. #264
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    so, what about CHL in this year? will it is or not?

  15. #265
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyVegas View Post
    so, what about CHL in this year? will it is or not?
    It's off. According to this it will return next year.
    Cum bibam cervisiam gaudeo.

  16. #266
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    Quote Originally Posted by RexKramer View Post
    I think market size (i.e. the size of a town being home to a hockey team) is only a indirectly the aspect to look on. Directly it is the resources a town/region allocates towards the hockey team.

    ...

    So without having any insider information on Swiss sports culture I think this is a nice example: Basel has a dominant football team that binds the biggest part of the city's/market's resources leaving too little spectators etc for another team to grow big enough to be competitive. Langnau on the other hand might never be able to have a competitive football team because due to the competition of the big markets the price to pay for competitive team could be too high. If Langnau however "chooses" to compete in the smaller sport the resources might be sufficient to be competitive because the opponents would be of a similar economic background which gives a sufficiently good prospect.

    To the elemnts of this theory I would like to add the fact that due to the physical constraints hockey stadiums are subject to available masses of spectators do not play a big role. Hockey arenas don't differ so much in size potentially as footall stadiums do and thus a bigger city's advantage of having more people diminishes in hockey. If we assume that the willingness to pay is quite similar over potential spectators (masses of people with similar low reservation prices) the advantage of the city comapred to the small town might vanish overall (absent corporate sponsorship that is). In other words, even if the bigger city had a very big arena (say+10k) and the smaller town only a 5k rink the difference in revenues is much less than it would be in soccer where the city may hava a 50k stadium and the smaller town only a 10k ground....

    So far for some spontaneous economists thoughts...
    There is much that speaks for your theory, but in Switzerland we have the unique(?) situation that at the beginning of hockey it was the small towns and villages in the mountains which had the economical advantage. In times when hockey was played on outside rinks mostly located on frozen lakes or ponds, it was easier to create a rink in the mountain regions where settlements were smaller. Examples for these are Davos, Arosa, Villars. Of course, clubs also were on the rise in some of the bigger cities, my comment only is meant to show that not only the size of the market, but also the opportunity of setting up a skating rink with low costs influenced the spread of hockey in Switzerland.
    (For more information concerning this subject, check this thread: http://forums.internationalhockey.ne...ead.php?t=4774
    Up The Irons!

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    "L'année de trop? Je l'ai faite quand j'avais 13 ans." = "If I played a year too much, it was the year when I was 13." -Gil Montandon, when asked if he wasn't a year too old to sign a contract as a hockey-pro at the age of 40. (That was in 2006. He went on playing professionally till the end of the 2008/09 season.)

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