I went to my first game last night. I’ve been out of town or tied up at work during the other two home games, so I was really looking forward to a live game. I got to the Arena District, parked my car, and headed to a nearby restaurant by 5:30. But I could tell that something was wrong right away.
What was wrong was the lack of fans. I got to park a block away from the Arena and was the first car in the cheap lot. I walked into a very popular restaurant and got a table immediately, as did the others filing in. And then I walked into Nationwide around 6:20 and saw the empty seats. So where was everybody?
Was everybody in mourning over the latest Buckeye loss? I’m sure a lot of people were not able to leave their houses after that game, but those people do not usually attend CBJ games.
Were fans staying home in protest of the way Nikita Filatov is being used? There is a small minority of hockey fans who do not think the situation is healthy, but that will be addressed later in another post.
Maybe the anti-Kris Russell group boycotted when they found out he was given an extension. There’s a lot of noise out there singing the praises of the one-dimensional Anton Stralman and offensively challenged Marc Methot. And they walked away from last night’s game all pissed off because Russell had one assist with the same amount of ice time as the other two.
Maybe, just maybe, the “fans” don’t have any good excuses. Yes, some people have lost their jobs or have the flu bug, but they don’t go to bars to watch a home CBJ game. It’s easy enough to get a cheap ticket; just walk the gauntlet of scalpers outside Nationwide. The scalpers have very good seat choices at reasonable, cash prices.
Look, the local blogs are full of people saying they have been PSL holders from Day One. (That group must be over 70,000 and growing.) I can read all kinds of comments on how bad certain Jackets are, how terrible the game operations are, the poor choice of in-game music, the human waste that leaves a game early, and the lower bowl elites who fail to truly appreciate the game like the upper bowl. Whatever the comment or rant, fans aren’t showing up. And that is not good.