One thing we love about this site is the fan outreach and interaction we get from posts on the site, as well as our posts on social media. And every now and again people reach out asking if they we can post something they’ve written about thoughts they have on low-pro or junior hockey.
So today you’re getting a guest post from one of our readers and Twitter followers, @SPHLRando, who is a fun follow and a pretty good source of hockey info, so if you haven’t, go ahead and give him a follow!
Reminder, the views reflected in this do no necessarily reflect those of us here at Bus League Hockey.
Take it away @SPHLRando!
At the time of writing this, we are about halfway into the 2018-2019 SPHL season, and already there is controversy abound. Being a fan, I thought I would take on some of these issues and talk about some ideas I have had in what I would call my hot takes.
1. Macon has a problem, and it has to be solved soon:
Macon has always had an attendance issue, but this year looks to be their worse. According to my attendance projections, Macon will have 49,774 fans come through the gates, an organization low. Those are numbers last seen during the league’s first season. The problem needs to be solved NOW.
2. The SPHL’s silence on fan criticism of officiating is deafening:
The SPHL is known for its less than loved officiating, and when fans want answers, they don’t get any response. You’re forcing fans to guess why the official made that decision, and that could lead to fans losing interest in the league because of what they thought was a blown call. If you get enough fans complaining about a call, just release a statement explaining why the official was right and move on. Silence is never an answer.
3. SPHL scheduling sucks:
I won’t even go into waiting four weeks into the season for Huntsville to get their home opener, but I will talk about the brand new “Cold War on 74”, and how it is being shoved down our throats. It’s pretty obvious that the SPHL is trying to artificially start a rivalry already, with Peoria playing Quad City for sixteen games. They need to be playing other teams, instead of starting a rivalry. If anyone from the SPHL is reading this, please make it less obvious next time.
4. The SPHL should have a draft:
This is probably a head turner, but yes, I think the SPHL should have a draft. The league isn’t under any NHL affiliation, and it would be great summer interaction for the fans. I would have it so that worst to best record gets first chance to talk to a player about coming to play with them, and if they decline, become the usual SPHL free agent. I would have it be three rounds, and host it at the cities with the most attendance (Huntsville, Birmingham, Peoria, etc).
5. Work with the FHL to farm players:
The FHL is what some would consider a “special league.” Considered a step down from the SPHL, and an unofficial farm for them. The FHL is also quickly expanding into the SPHL market, so take advantage of that and make teams affiliates of SPHL, like MLB and MiLB.
Those are my hot takes, if you would like to contact me, (please don’t pull a Taken on me over the takes) I can be contacted on twitter @SHPLRando.
A big thanks to @SPHLRando for being willing to write something for us, and for sharing his opinions! If you have thoughts or things you want to write for us here at Bus League Hockey, please feel free to reach out and we’ll do our best to make it happen!
3 thoughts on “Guest Post: @SPHLRando offers up some HOT TAKES on the state of the SPHL”
Honestly don’t mind Peoria and Quad Cities being confined to each other except it can’t be good for QC to keep losing and Peoria’s easy path to the playoffs isn’t fair either. On the other hand I wish all the other teams got to play nearby teams more often than those far away.
Macon: Are you suggesting the SPHL pull the plug on Macon? That probably only means Macon becoming an FHL market.
Fan Criticism of Refs: There are leagues that respond to fan criticism of refs?
Scheduling: Very reasonable point on QC and Peoria playing so many times. I’m not sure playing so many times during the regular season really builds a rivalry (when it’s 16…it probably just makes you sick of the same team). I doubt it really has much to do with actively trying to build a rivalry and more to do with saving some money in Year One.
SPHL Draft: Interesting. Are you looking for it to be rookie players or veteran minor pro players, too?
FHL Farm: Good luck convincing the FHL to consider itself a farm for the SPHL. They don’t even count players moving up to the SPHL as player promotion (only the ECHL). I’ve brought up players moving up to the SPHL on the FHL’s Facebook page and they were quick to correct me that both are Single-A hockey. We all know the SPHL is a higher league and I wish the FHL would just admit it. Every player playing in the league considers the SPHL a step up and imagine how much mileage they could get out of some of the FHLers who have become full-time SPHLers.
The Quad City fans are pretty sick of Peoria winning so many games against the Storm, but are happy to just have hockey in the arena. IF Evansville does return next season, a slightly more balanced schedule for the northern teams would seem advisable. How about two conferences where the teams play (nearly?) exclusively within the conference until playoff time? If the rumors concerning Coralville, IA prove correct, the conference system would make even more sense.
And yes, the officiating in the SPHL sucks like an EF5 tornado.
We will need to see how things shake out in the FHL, but some degree of cooperation with the SPHL wouldn’t be an entirely bad idea.