OT : UConn looking to upgrade the Men's Ice Hockey Program? | Page 2 | The Boneyard

OT : UConn looking to upgrade the Men's Ice Hockey Program?

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
13,411
Reaction Score
20,100
Another thing to add: if the proposal to cut FB schollies from 85 to 80 goes through, that frees up five potential hockey schollies and lessens the cost of meeting Title IX standards. That would be one major hurdle cleared.

The other major hurdle? Shoe-horning another 3,000 or so seats into Freitas. That's gonna take some planning - and some major bucks...

Wait, there's a proposal on the table to cut football schollies from 85 to 80? And we're thinking of spending upward of $20 million to upgrade a money losing sport? What am I missing?
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
182
Reaction Score
128
Has anyone considered this may be an effort to discontinue Men's Hockey and replace it with Lacrosse?
 

junglehusky

Molotov Cocktail of Ugliness
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
7,208
Reaction Score
7,834
Has anyone considered this may be an effort to discontinue Men's Hockey and replace it with Lacrosse?
I'm with Jimmy, I'm skeptical about "big time" college hockey though of course I would love it if UConn could pull off an upgrade and be successful. However I'd much rather we go the hockey route than the lacrosse route, no offense to any lacrosse players out there. We're New Englanders, and even casual sports fans are aware of the Bruins and Whalers traditions / histories. Lacrosse, not so much unless you went to prep school or something.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Messages
1,402
Reaction Score
1,776
Has anyone considered this may be an effort to discontinue Men's Hockey and replace it with Lacrosse?

Unlikely. The school probably wouldn't announce publicly that they were studying an upgrade for a program that's been virtually neglected for the last fifty years, when their intent was to ice the program for another. They'd just cut hockey, and run the press release that they're studying lacrosse. They don't need a study to tell them it's a money sink.

If they wanted to cut the program, they've had two major excuses to do so: after Title IX was passed and the school cut wrestling and lacrosse, and when the school was forced to start playing a Division I schedule (prior to that, they were classed Division I but playing a D-III schedule in a D-III league) about fifteen years ago. They certainly wouldn't have built a new rink to replace the old outdoor facility on the same timetable as the shift to a D-I schedule.

But by hiring the same firm that's consulting for the new NCHC (formed mostly with the major western schools that weren't Big Ten), it's a statement that they consciously intend to examine what they can do with the program, because they lose so little by keeping it on board right now.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
5,577
Reaction Score
7,403
I love college hockey, but it's a money loser. And with tuition set to increase nearly 20% over the next 4 years, I'm finding it hard to defend this.

Also, the thought that having a hockey team in the HE is going to be attractive to other conferences is far fetched at best.
College hockey is not a money loser if you have a program that's in a solid conference, has an arena big enough to sell tickets, and you perform relatively well. Most if not all Hockey East teams break even or make money off their program. How other programs were started or upgraded recently, most notably Penn State, was through securing a donor to fund the initial investment. That could be one thing they're looking at here.

And to the other point above, you don't hire a firm if you're going to cut the program.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
32
Reaction Score
13
It has always been a financial issue but at least now, instead of immediately dismissing the idea as too costly (which they have always done in the past) they are now legitmitately assessing what it would take to make the move.

Marshall will be safe for as long as we remain at this level (as it would make no sense to make a change if we will continue to offer no support to the program) but his days will be numbered the second we start an upgrade.

I personally think that it is great that we are beginning to show some ambitions here. This is a sport where we realistically can become a legitimate top program in time.

Why exactly will Coach Marshall's 'days be numbered' if we start an upgrade? I feel fairly certain he has earned the right to coach a team with scholarship athletes as opposed to a non-scholarship squad. Where do you get your information?
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
5,577
Reaction Score
7,403
Why exactly will Coach Marshall's 'days be numbered' if we start an upgrade? I feel fairly certain he has earned the right to coach a team with scholarship athletes as opposed to a non-scholarship squad. Where do you get your information?
He has had 11 straight losing seasons in the worst conference in the country. He can't compete against other very, very small schools who have the same scholarship restrictions as his program.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Messages
1,402
Reaction Score
1,776
Why exactly will Coach Marshall's 'days be numbered' if we start an upgrade? I feel fairly certain he has earned the right to coach a team with scholarship athletes as opposed to a non-scholarship squad. Where do you get your information?

He's, quite frankly, running off the fact that he's an alum of the program itself (possibly groomed to be a caretaker), and had a small amount of success on a limited scale (several very good squads in the D-III ECAC East, competing with D-III powers like Middlebury and Norwich, and two pretty good seasons at the beginning of the MAAC days).

He doesn't treat student-athletes well (a couple of times he's flat out shitcanned nearly the entire team at the end of the season), has recruited about equally as well, and has produced some of the worst-performing teams in program history (as well as the nation). Quite frankly, the only reason he hasn't been fired himself is that the AD cares even less about who's running the program than they do about the program itself.
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
11,618
Reaction Score
9,078
I don't love Bruce Marshall as the head coach, but let's be careful about dumping on him, too. In fact, while he is playing in the weakest conference in the country, it has over the last few years gotten a lot bit stronger. The additions of Air Force, Robert Morris, RIT, Niagara have all contributed. RIT made it to the Frozen Four a couple of years ago. Air Force and Holy Cross have both won first round NCAA games as #15 or #16 seeds, which means they beat some very good hockey clubs. UCONN beat UMass Lowell earlier this year, the last loss by a Lowell squad that has since won 10 straight. Is the AHA going to match up with Hockey East on a regular basis? Of course not, but it is not the old MAAC either. The other factor that comes to Bruce's defense is that he is competing with minimal scholarships. Last I knew they had none. Someone somewhere mentioned they now have 2 but not sure that is accurate. Pretty much every other team in the conference has between 7 and 12, the league maximum. Again, I'm not saying Bruce is Jerry York or the BU coach, but ask yourself how Calhoun would do if he had to recruit with no scholarships and compete against teams all of whom had them. As far as attendance, I have been to a few games each year and the crowds have been decent considering they have zero marketing. I'd say 850-1000. They usually don't schedule home against basketball, which is a good thing, but I did attend one game against a women's home game and the crowd was pretty much average. There is a group of students but lots of families and high school/youth hockey types around that I don't really think are competing with basketball. And I think that would likely be the market going forward. I think kingdobbs is right about 3000 being average. Like anything BC, BU would probably do much better. Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I did color commentary on one game on WHUS back in the day, in the old outdoor arena. UCONN-Army. And it was friggin' cold.
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2011
Messages
6,940
Reaction Score
8,586
Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I did color commentary on one game on WHUS back in the day, in the old outdoor arena.
Can a person make an off-color remark while doing color commentary?
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Messages
1,402
Reaction Score
1,776
I don't love Bruce Marshall as the head coach, but let's be careful about dumping on him, too. In fact, while he is playing in the weakest conference in the country, it has over the last few years gotten a lot bit stronger.

...(snipped)...

Again, I'm not saying Bruce is Jerry York or the BU coach, but ask yourself how Calhoun would do if he had to recruit with no scholarships and compete against teams all of whom had them.

Well, perhaps it was too harsh, but I don't think Marshall would be the right person for the team going forward. At the very least, he's pretty unspectacular (in both the good way and the bad way; for instance, I don't recall any serious academic or disciplinary issues out of the program during his tenure, and that's a plus). Mostly though, I think hiring a new coach would be a good symbolic gesture that we're taking hockey seriously, because I just don't think Marshall really has the skills. I'm totally willing to be proven wrong, though.

As far as attendance, I have been to a few games each year and the crowds have been decent considering they have zero marketing. I'd say 850-1000. They usually don't schedule home against basketball, which is a good thing, but I did attend one game against a women's home game and the crowd was pretty much average. There is a group of students but lots of families and high school/youth hockey types around that I don't really think are competing with basketball. And I think that would likely be the market going forward. I think kingdobbs is right about 3000 being average. Like anything BC, BU would probably do much better.

I seriously think if the AD would just market the hockey team like they do their other Olympics, there'd be a strong boost in attendance from what we have now, and produce many more sold out games. I don't see us, even in Hockey East, cresting above 5K, and there's where I'd place the absolute ceiling (which makes options like XL or a refitted Gampel poor choices. We don't want to be like UMass where half their stadium is empty; a better goal might be Yale or Quinnipiac where the venue's small but sellouts are regular).
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
11,618
Reaction Score
9,078
Well, perhaps it was too harsh, but I don't think Marshall would be the right person for the team going forward. At the very least, he's pretty unspectacular (in both the good way and the bad way; for instance, I don't recall any serious academic or disciplinary issues out of the program during his tenure, and that's a plus). Mostly though, I think hiring a new coach would be a good symbolic gesture that we're taking hockey seriously, because I just don't think Marshall really has the skills. I'm totally willing to be proven wrong, though.

I seriously think if the AD would just market the hockey team like they do their other Olympics, there'd be a strong boost in attendance from what we have now, and produce many more sold out games. I don't see us, even in Hockey East, cresting above 5K, and there's where I'd place the absolute ceiling (which makes options like XL or a refitted Gampel poor choices. We don't want to be like UMass where half their stadium is empty; a better goal might be Yale or Quinnipiac where the venue's small but sellouts are regular).
I don't completely disagree with you on either point for what its worth, but I guess I give Bruce a bit more credit than most since when he was competing at the D-3 level, where nobody had scholarships, he managed to build a very competetive program. They have been on and off competitive in the AHA/MAAC since going D-1. Not great but last year's team was compoetitive. This year's looks like it will be again. Again, not dominating by any stretch, but pretty good. And when you take the scholarship issue into consideration, its pretty hard to argue that they should be great.

As far as attendance, I think they could with a little effort, get around 1200-1500 now. In fact a couple of years ago they actually did try a bit of newspaper advertizing and I think attendance was a bit higher. I'd prefer not to play at the XL Center, too. I think college hockey more than other sports is a campus sport. And I agree that 5000 seats is probably a logical way to think. I have no idea whether or if UCONN could fit anything more into Frietas. Seems like they could add some seating to increase capacity, but to my eye only a few hundred. As to how or whether the facility could be expanded, I'm not sure there either. Seems to me that it would require expanding the penatly box side to enable a second level would be the only way to do it. That particular building is pretty basic construction so it might be doable.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Messages
1,402
Reaction Score
1,776
There's certainly some room to expand "upwards" over the lobby area and possibly over as far as Morrone and Stadium Road; you'd end up having a look somewhat like Matthews Arena in Boston where there's significant overlap of the upper decking over the lower seating. That might get you 3500, though. If one wants to go to 5K, it's plausible in the space available but would probably require a recentering of the ice surface and expansion into what's currently I-Lot.
 

Dann

#4hunnid
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
9,921
Reaction Score
3,615
if your going to go for it in the hockey world then there are 2 paths that get your there. first you have to know that HE or the big10 league is your conf. i would bet that they think HE is a go or conf exp=big10 down the road for all sports. lets say that they will be in a big time league.
1) uconn builds its bball facility and now plays all hom games for m/w in XL. remeber the xl was renovated...you gut gampel and put a rink and 6-8k seats in there.
2) make uconn the only show in town and play hockey in xl, the nhl is a no go in the future...

updating what they have now isn't the answer, i have only been there once but i have been to other hockey facilities(bu/bc/pc/rpi among others). that will not cut it imo. i went to fp in high school and follow hockey somewhat. the whale was like preps 2nd rink:). uconn needs a big boy facility. gampel is the answer imo or xl if your really going for uconn is the show...
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
928
Reaction Score
514
College hockey is not a money loser if you have a program that's in a solid conference, has an arena big enough to sell tickets, and you perform relatively well. Most if not all Hockey East teams break even or make money off their program. How other programs were started or upgraded recently, most notably Penn State, was through securing a donor to fund the initial investment. That could be one thing they're looking at here.

BC has had a very successful Hockey Program and does not make a profit. I am not sure of the attendance average but I would put it in the high 5K to low 6K range. Full house is 7884. A lot of games where opposing fans can get to the game by the T or a short drive helps keep attendance high. Some money from TV but not a lot. A lot of cheap travel (bus to local games with no overnight needed in a hotel) keeps costs down. A double header at Maine every other year being the current exception. Maybe on fall road trip over a weekend and one or two Christmas tournaments.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
1,241
Reaction Score
1,279
It depends on what one considers to be a profit, but hockey is generally not a money making sport. Ticket sales are the prime revenue source (little or no TV) and that doesn't go very far. Suppose 3K per game at $10 average (higher for public, lower for students) over an 18 game home schedule (NCAA max is 34 total) yields $540K per year. A competitive head coach will cost $150K+ (sometimes a lot more) and there are generally 3 assistants. Add in transportation, training and sports medicine, support staff, recruiting budget, equipment, etc. and costs can quickly exceed revenues at most schools. That's without calculating the true cost to the school in terms of scholarships and facilities. If those were added only a handful of programs in the country might have a chance to be profitable.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
5,577
Reaction Score
7,403
BC has had a very successful Hockey Program and does not make a profit. I am not sure of the attendance average but I would put it in the high 5K to low 6K range. Full house is 7884. A lot of games where opposing fans can get to the game by the T or a short drive helps keep attendance high. Some money from TV but not a lot. A lot of cheap travel (bus to local games with no overnight needed in a hotel) keeps costs down. A double header at Maine every other year being the current exception. Maybe on fall road trip over a weekend and one or two Christmas tournaments.
I'm well aware, I've been a BU season ticket holder for the past six years, so I'm all too well versed on the BC program :p. I can't find the thread now, but on the main hockey forum on USCHO, there was a thread that showed school by school how much each program brought in. BU and BC were in the same ballpark in revenue, about $4 million each. I believe most of that was subsequently spent on hockey expenses or elsewhere in the department. Point is, hockey is a not a burden on the athletic department at most HE schools.

Take BU for instance, tickets are about $26 a game, we're averaging 5,300 a game this year, with usually about 18 home games. That's almost $2.5 million per year in ticket sales alone, before merchandise, donations, etc. Though some are student tickets, so it's probably more in the area of $2 million, Of course, that's on the high end of the spectrum. Take a place like UVM, average it out, and they make about $1.6 million on tickets, assuming 3,000 per game are not students, each ticket is $20, and they have 18 home games. For reference, BC is averaging 6,323 right now, aided a bit by 25% of their home games so far being automatic sellouts vs BU, but that number is fairly representative of what they get per game.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
5,577
Reaction Score
7,403
It depends on what one considers to be a profit, but hockey is generally not a money making sport. Ticket sales are the prime revenue source (little or no TV) and that doesn't go very far. Suppose 3K per game at $10 average (higher for public, lower for students) over an 18 game home schedule (NCAA max is 34 total) yields $540K per year. A competitive head coach will cost $150K+ (sometimes a lot more) and there are generally 3 assistants. Add in transportation, training and sports medicine, support staff, recruiting budget, equipment, etc. and costs can quickly exceed revenues at most schools. That's without calculating the true cost to the school in terms of scholarships and facilities. If those were added only a handful of programs in the country might have a chance to be profitable.

There is only one Hockey East school - PC that offers the majority of their tickets for $10. BU is $26-28, BC is $20-25, UNH is $24-26, Maine is $22, NU is $16-18, UMass $14-17, UVM is $20, Lowell is $15 or so, and even Merrimack is $15-20. There are certain deals you can get if you're a student from another school or if it's a holiday break game, or if you buy a seat way up in a corner somewhere, but those are the general ticket prices for the vast majority of people buying seats.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
1,241
Reaction Score
1,279
I'm not sure about the quality of the data, but here's an interesting site regarding the profitability of different college programs:

http://206.127.4.30/mens-ice-hockey-scholarships/boston-college/

The mix of schools used skews the list to the high side (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, BU, BC, etc. are among the annual attendance leaders) so the average is probably not meaningful for a typical program, but it should give some insight into the revenue and cost range.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
1,241
Reaction Score
1,279
There is only one Hockey East school - PC that offers the majority of their tickets for $10. BU is $26-28, BC is $20-25, UNH is $24-26, Maine is $22, NU is $16-18, UMass $14-17, UVM is $20, Lowell is $15 or so, and even Merrimack is $15-20. There are certain deals you can get if you're a student from another school or if it's a holiday break game, or if you buy a seat way up in a corner somewhere, but those are the general ticket prices for the vast majority of people buying seats.

HE, like many leagues, is divided into the haves and the wannabe's. BU, BC, UNH and UVM can sustain their ticket prices (and even some of those schools give away freebies or greatly reduced tickets to students). The rest not only give away student tickets, but they also offer significant discounts for season ticket holders, staff, groups, etc. NU, for example, may be nominally $16-$18 per game, but season tickets are in the $6-$12 per game range. UMass is about the same - $10/game for season tickets. Heck, I can even get a general public ticket to any BC remaining home game for $10-$20. I suspect the $20-$25 you quoted is their premium game price (BC/UNH). When planning a new program it is probably better to assume a middle of the pack attendance (with a middle of the pack ticket price) rather than looking at long-standing traditional leaders.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2011
Messages
1,889
Reaction Score
1,762
Couple of things, first, fire Bruce Marshall 15 years ago! Next, this drum has been pounded for years w/ no traction. For those of u who were around when the "Uconn 2000" program was implemented and we were going D1 in Football, the original plan was to move the hockey program to Hockey East and convert Gampel to a state of the art rink. That was of course when we were going to build a Carrier Dome facility in the cow fields on the east side of campus. We all know how that turned out as the locals went nuts and shot it down w/ their concern over the lack of traffic access etc... In addition, Calhoun did go nuts when this was proposed bcuz he didn't want to give up Gampel. The retrofit plans were in place and pretty sweet to convert it to ice. All this was shot down when $$$ came into play as well as the deal that imploded with Kraft w/ Gov Roland re the Pats. Bottom line is that there is little chance of this happening. I was recruited back in the 90's to play hockey @ Uconn and we were given the song and dance about the future. Guess what, I graduated w/ no walls around the ice!!
 

Dann

#4hunnid
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
9,921
Reaction Score
3,615
Couple of things, first, fire Bruce Marshall 15 years ago! Next, this drum has been pounded for years w/ no traction. For those of u who were around when the "Uconn 2000" program was implemented and we were going D1 in Football, the original plan was to move the hockey program to Hockey East and convert Gampel to a state of the art rink. That was of course when we were going to build a Carrier Dome facility in the cow fields on the east side of campus. We all know how that turned out as the locals went nuts and shot it down w/ their concern over the lack of traffic access etc... In addition, Calhoun did go nuts when this was proposed bcuz he didn't want to give up Gampel. The retrofit plans were in place and pretty sweet to convert it to ice. All this was shot down when $$$ came into play as well as the deal that imploded with Kraft w/ Gov Roland re the Pats. Bottom line is that there is little chance of this happening. I was recruited back in the 90's to play hockey @ Uconn and we were given the song and dance about the future. Guess what, I graduated w/ no walls around the ice!!

i never went to uconn for school so i'm sure some ppl here don't like when i talk about things that are not on the court/field or recruiting wise but alot of my family has and ive been to campus enough to know whats up over the years. i always thought that the master plan/dreaming future was a little off. uconn is not like most other schools.

you have a state school with a campus thats the big boy in the state, no pro sports, but the campus is north of the major population(hart-nh-ffld). all of the upgrade and athletic building is great but the school i think has been sending mixed signals for years and i'm not a fan of that. some of it is by choice and some is by forces of whats possible(i understand that adpect). playing in gampel and xl imho is not the ticket. play in one. i know the reasons etc but its just not a winning formula. we have a 40k stadium in hartford, good but not big boy yet but were getting there. thats not moving anywhere. i think uconn and the state have to make a choice and stick with it for 30+ years. at this point i say make the population the focus and not the campus. play all games in xl, especially if your going to put $$$ into xl for that revamp?!?! but if you pick hartford you have to make uconn the show in CT, not a hockey team or anything else. thats how you can continue to build a strong fanbase. sure upgrade hockey, but put that show in xl also. sure maybe you only draw 1-2k for a couple years, but being the only hockey show in ct that fanbase will grow just like every other uconn sport over time. and the list and ideas go on, but my point is for some reason uconn is a mixed bag which causes the fanbase(of each sport) to more or less pick its games/sports of interest. if you play all your $$ making sports in the same spot(hart or campus) then your building a following of all sports. the guy who goes to a couple bball games in xl every year, 2 fball games a year now over time invests more into his sports watching and gets season tix to fball, goes to his bball games of choice and now goes to a hockey game or 2 and so on...

the dream/master is that everything is on campus and big but thats $$$ and time etc, there is enought uconn invested in hartford that they should run with it instead of only half play it. if i were to dream i would say 55k fball on campus/down the street, a 15 k bball/hockey arena etc. but we already have half of that in hartford and thats where the population is, so go with it until the state is fully ready $$ wise to putt the eggs in storrs.
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
10,208
Reaction Score
8,202
I like it, I agree there seems to be some strategy to be more attractive to bigger conferences. I would also like to see lacrosse added as well.
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
928
Reaction Score
514
the dream/master is that everything is on campus and big but thats $$$ and time etc, there is enought uconn invested in hartford that they should run with it instead of only half play it. if i were to dream i would say 55k fball on campus/down the street, a 15 k bball/hockey arena etc. but we already have half of that in hartford and thats where the population is, so go with it until the state is fully ready $$ wise to putt the eggs in storrs.

Although the money would dictate what happens I am not a fan of the basketball/hockey arena. It is not the same when you set up a basketball floor on a hockey rink vs a basketball court by itself. The Dean Dome at UNC is an amazing place to watch a game. Totally focused on basketball. The fans are right on top of the game. When you throw in the hockey rink you pull the fan back from the sidelines and lose something. However money would dictate a single arena.
 

Waquoit

Mr. Positive
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
28,314
Reaction Score
36,495
the dream/master is that everything is on campus and big but thats $$$ and time etc, there is enought uconn invested in hartford that they should run with it instead of only half play it. if i were to dream i would say 55k fball on campus/down the street, a 15 k bball/hockey arena etc. but we already have half of that in hartford and thats where the population is, so go with it until the state is fully ready $$ wise to putt the eggs in storrs.

Why do people waste time with something that will never, ever happen? Besides, there is no benefit to building a 55K football stadium or a 15 K hoop facility in Storrs. It would kill attendance.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Online statistics

Members online
499
Guests online
1,370
Total visitors
1,869

Forum statistics

Threads
174,473
Messages
4,347,336
Members
9,350
Latest member
Hawkeye


Top Bottom