Monday, September 18, 2006

NHL Back In Winnipeg! ...For tonight, At Least.

The NHL returned to Winnipeg, not with the Jets, but with pre-season hockey featuring the Phoenix Coyotes and the Edmonton Oilers.. This was the first game of the pre-season for both teams, but despite the uninspired sloppy play, this didn't matter to the 15,000+ fans in the sold-out MTS Centre. Winnipeg fans had a chance to see some NHL regulars such as Ed Jovanovski (first game with the Coyotes), Shane Doan (ex-Jet), Owen Nolan, Jarret Stoll and of course Coyote's coach, Wayne Gretzky.

The Oilers were greeted with loud cheers, justly so following their great playoff run last spring captivating the imaginations of hopeful Canadian hockey fans starved to bring back the cup to Canada. In Winnipeg, many of these ex-Jet fans feel just bringing a team back to the city would be good enough for them. When the Jets left Winnipeg for the desert in Phoenix, the feeling was and probably still is, we'll never get a NHL franchise, at least not with our economy and the high cost of maintaining a pro team. At tonight's game, fans were handed a flyer distributed by giving a hypothetical seating pricing chart for what NHL hockey might cost if we get a team back. This gives us a realistic idea of how fans would have to dig a little deeper (perhaps a lot deeper) to go to a single game. For a regular season Moose game, my mini-pack tickets cost $13 per seat or $17 walk up (cheapest seats, Green section), the pre-season Oilers/Coyotes cost me $59 and with the estimated NHL cost I would be putting out $69 per seat, per game. Here's what it might look like:

11 Game per month 22 Game per month Season* per month
Platinum $1155.00 $96.25 $2310.00 $192.50 $4620.00 $385.00
Club $1045.00 $87.08 $2090.00 $174.17 $4180.00 $348.33
Red $979.00 $81.58 $1958.00 $163.17

Blue1 $869.00 $72.42 $1738.00 $144.83

Blue 2 $759.00 $63.25 $1518.00 $126.50

Green 1 $594.00 $49.50 $1188.00 $99.00

Green 2 $484.00 $40.33 $968.00 $80.67

Green 3 $374.00 $31.17 $748.00 $62.33

My seats are in the Blue 2 section (200 level in the corner), I pay $143 dollars for my 11 game mini pack., that would be about a 5x increase. I'm not saying I wouldn't support the team if we got one, I'm just suggesting I might have to down grade to the upper deck or go to less games. Can we sell 13-15,000 seats all season? I know with the Jets there were a lot of cold winter nights when we were lucky to have 9,000, will penny pinching Winnipegers buy at least 10,000 season tickets? I don't think there will be a problem to sell the private boxes or the Platinum and Club seats, there's enough companies, corporations and rich people to shell out that kind of dough. I'm more worried about the mid-range price groups, the Reds and Blues, that's $3-4,000 per season ticket, and if we can't sell out these sections every night we won't keep a team for long. Personally I would love to see NHL hockey back, the quality is higher, big name stars would come into town and it would give our city more international respect and profile. I also enjoy the Moose and the AHL, the action is quick, fast and entertaining. There may be a lack of star power, but we get to see up and coming stars and the overall experience is fun and affordable! Please check out Darren Ford's site (Jet' for more information and if you support a return of the Jet's (or whatever they would be called) let him know!

The building was packed for this meaningless exhibition game of two non-hometown teams, so I think this game will project a very positive impression to the league and to the powers of our city. What we need is an owner that is willing to take a chance (gamble?) and give the fans a opportunity to show they can support a team...Oh yeah, I think the Oiler's won 5-0. Please let me know what you think, in the comment section.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

One Perfect City?

I usually don't like to talk about politics too much, but with an upcoming civic election in Winnipeg it makes you think. With our current Mayor, it will be business as usual after the vote. Translated, that will mean it'll be exactly the same as before, we had our chance for change, but we blew it! In the weeks ahead I'll follow along with the rest of you seeking some kind of salvation or trying to read through the promises (lies) from the candidates.

Winnipeg band the Weakerthans posted, "Weakerthans Perfect City Campaign" on their website, which compiles their wishes for a better city:

1. The Red River Is Not A Sewer Pipe
Fix the City's sewage treatment plants. Remember in 2004 when raw waste poured into the Red River? This must be dealt with immediately. What is more important, potholes or Lake Winnipeg? Apparently to Sam Katz and City Council, potholes are.
2. No More Riverbank Development
Prevent pollution—keep the remaining uundeveloped river banks lined with forest. The Trees filter out natural and man made run off. The run off ends up in the lake down stream contributing to dead zones in the north basin and poisonous algae blooms in the south.
3. No More Parking Lots Downtown
Heritage buildings are vital to Winnipeg, and those we have left are thesoul of our city.
4. No to Waverly West
10,000 new homes. Where? Oh, out by the dump. Makes sense. Empty lots within the core of the city should be filled before any development on the Waverly West project goes ahead.
5. Like a local ecomomy? No To Walmart and Thier Big Box Buddies
Where to begin... Local business can't compete with the #1 enemy of local economies who build cinder block shells and acres of asphalt. Paying our citizens terrible wages to man their isles. Sending profits out of the city to their stock-holders. Killing the centers of the city by drawing people away from the city itself to their temporary shelters. Then closing up and moving on. Follow Vancouver's example. Ban any further Walmart development.

1. Dedicated Bicycle Lanes
The attempt at providing a shared lane for both bicycles and buses is not adequate and failed as a project. It is very dangerous to ride a bicycle on Winnipeg streets these days. The use of bicycles has obvious benefits (eliminate traffic, pollution, etc.), and Winnipeg has the potential to achieve safe and effective bicycle lanes, with spending being matched by reduction in road wear.
2.Reinvent the City Bus
Proper bus shelters with heat and lights would be a good start. Lower bus fares to increase ridership.
3. Subway
See and be conviced.

Landfills will kill us someday. seepage into rivers is a major problem here. That Brady dump is a few kms from the Seine — where do you think the seepage goes? Here are some easy solutions to immediately reducing waste that the city could implement:
1. Ban on all single use drink bottles
Legislate mandatory use of reusable heavy grade glass bottles by bottling and drink manufactures and a collection system operated by all bottling and drink companies selling products in the city of Winnipeg. And bring back Pic A Pop.
2. Ban all those needlessly destructive plastic bags from use in stores
3. Compostable Garbage Pick up
Separate pick up for compostables. Even Toronto seems to be able to do this, for crap's sake.

Try Kaj! -- Visit

"One Great City! "(A great early live version; Feb24, 2002 WECC, Winnipeg, MB) - Weakerthans

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

IQ minus-94

So the big buzz around town the last few days was that one of the most popular radio stations in town was calling it "quits", well not really;
"It's not a performance issue," said newly appointed programming director Andrew (Science) Long, noting Q-94 FM nearly always took top spot in the ratings for its target demographic of women aged 25 to 54. "But with so many competitors creeping up behind us, Q has started to seem a little stagnant. We need a refresh, so we're opening it up to the listeners, to let us know what they want to change or stay the same."

So what they're saying is that they may change their format to bring in new listeners or update their look and sound. Before I go on, I should mention I despise most radio today! Most stations with the exception of the college stations, have a certain genre and an easy to fit into catagory. Classic rock, lite rock, soft rock, adult contemperary (what the hell is that?), cool jazz etc. I grew up on AM and FM radio, before discovering you don't have to always listen to the same thing all the time. Stations like Q-94 are hypnotizing listeners in offices and work environments with their bland, inoffensive "safe" music, the type of music that won't shock your grandma, baby or your pet. This is the shit that people supposeably want to hear everyday because they want to hear music that is familiar to them, much like toddlers that will watch or listen to the same Disney movie or record over and over again. Or those brainwashed couples that will buy a poster or print only by artists that they are familiar with and meet that unspoken approval by our peers. I know I'm starting to sound a bit too much like Rob Gordon and Barry from High Fidelity, yes, I am a music snob! But get a mind of your own, see local bands, find music on the web (it's out there), download samples of different music, walk through a record store or even a CD store, but walk past the Top 20 don't have to listen to Shania every damn day!!

Getting back to Q-94, they have promised to listen to feedback from their fans to help reformat the station. What a bunch of crap! It turns out everything will be almost be the same, 80% of respondants were woman, as expected, 95% wanted those three idiots Beau, Tom and Dez back and oh, surprise surprise they wanted less commercials and a better mix of the same familiar drivel as before. Q-94 couldn't have asked for anything better, they get some major free publicity that their core audience will eat up (death>resurrection), they can pay the same on-air hosts, they don't have to throw away any of their odious CD's but instead get more Madonna, Black Eyed Peas, Jessica Simpson or whoever the next American/Canadian Idol singer is. They were probably planning a bit of a make-over anyways, so this way they can pretend that their fans had a hand in creating this beloved station and I'm sure the ratings will prove them correct. Of course, there is the word "New" in front of their name now, so it has to be better, right?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Captain Cassie Retires!

Captain Cassie Campbell announced her retirement from the Canadian Woman's National Team on Wednesday August 30th. She has represented Canada in seven World championships and three Olympic games, winning six world titles and two gold medals. She is the only Canadian player (male or female) to captain a National team to two gold medals in the Olympics, this year in Turin and 2002 in Salt Lake City.

“You just sort of know,” she said from Calgary Wednesday. “It's kind of like when people ask you what does it feel like to stand on the blueline and watch your flag go up? You can never put it into words and do it justice. Mentally and physically, I'm ready. While it is difficult for me to retire from the game that has given me such pleasure," said Campbell, "I can now look back with great fondness on my time with the national team and my years playing hockey."

The 32 year old Brampton, Ont native Campbell has been Captain since 2001, and Campbell said she will work with women's hockey in some way, perhaps even as a coach. She wants to get involved in broadcasting and is joining TSN as a women's hockey analyst. She's working on two books about hockey. She's still working with sponsors General Motors and McDonald's with their Vancouver 2010 campaign. She also does a lot of motivational speaking.

"Cassie Campbell’s contributions to women’s hockey go far beyond her tremendous success with the national women’s team," said Bob Nicholson, president of Hockey Canada. "Cassie has been and will continue to be an ambassador for the women’s game, as well as a role model and hero to thousands of young girls playing hockey in Canada.”

For Winnipeg Band Zamboni Joe's tribute to this truly great Canadian, please visit my sister site " Teenage Dogs.." for a song download.