Hounds Season a Go: Tickets on $ale now! …but Memorial Cup Is Questionable

In my OPINION, I can’t see the business community that own junior teams across the country letting go of $millions of dollars in revenue. I can’t and I can say 100% that there will be a hockey season coming up in the fall. There are many things I want to discuss today, so forgive me if I tend to ramble.

In this era of C19, there is a lot of reasons to be unhappy (unemployment, death, polices, isolation, mandates, loss of social freedoms, etc.), but you have to fight your way through it, and for me, looking forward the Hounds on ice is one way I am doing it.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can read between the lines. No, it is not because the box office at the GFL is now open and selling season tickets; there are many reasons… either by print or by intuition and gut instinct.

When men in power, say things, ……they very very very carefully choose their words. If they don’t; well, they’re screwed to be honest.

Social media will dissect and pick at every syllable, verb and noun used. GM Kyle Raftis is a master of this and will probably teach social media pros and cons at Harvard one day.

Trying to pry something out of Kyle (before it’s time) is like playing pick up sticks with your butt-cheeks. 🤣

Thank you John Candy for that line… I believe it was from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Ok… back on track. Recently Greyhounds majority owner Tim Lukenda spoke with media and said he is optimistic that the season will happen and in regards to the Memorial Cup being held in 2021…he also “remains optimistic”.

Add to this…“my opinion is that we’re going to get started in the fall with a slight delay.” Check out the full article Peter wrote in the Sault Star to get the rest of the gist, but just these couple of tidbits speak volumes.

The government, is now trying to fix the financial destruction that C19 has caused and Junior Jockey is a huge priority in Ontario and the rest of Canada. Sure, the owners may be well off individuals with deep pockets, but it is not just the ownership that would suffer if the show doesn’t go on.

I have a co-worker friend of mine at the Casino that works the Hound games, and he tells me that on game nights, there are about… I think he said 50 workers, but I will say at least 40 on a game night. I just did a quick count in my head. You’ve got the box office, ushers, security, canteen workers, beers sales people, and the list goes on and on. Factor in the Hounds organization and the radio guy, coaches, trainers, equipment manager, etc.

No season would be adding to the huge line at the employment office, where they will be directed to Ontario Works… as there are little to no jobs available. Businesses have closed shop, and/or the ones remaining have been forced to reduce staff.

CERB is ending next month and …if it isn’t extended again, the Ontario gov’t had better start opening up or else it’s going to get ugly like it is in the States.

Moving forward, I figure, there is already an understanding that September will see a huge jump in the allowance of gatherings to accommodate organizations like the Ontario Hockey League, Casinos, and other venues that can only function financially with large gatherings. These are just my personal gut instincts.

On another note, some of the complications R with the Canada/US border travel restrictions and border crossings. If in fact, it doesn’t open, I still believe there will be a season. One scenario would be for American teams to play all of their games on the Canadian side somehow, but in all reality, I firmly believe that at the end of the day, the teams would get an exemption to cross the border to play. A suggestion would be to have them play all of their games against a certain team like they do in baseball. For instance, instead of Saginaw coming to the Soo 4 times a year and vice versa, the teams could lock horns for five games in a 10 day period… thus keeping the players in one location instead of the excess travel  back and forth and higher possibility of contracting and passing the virus everywhere. I don’t believe that this should have to be done… but that is one way they can sort of get around things.

Other suggestions have been that the American teams play other American teams that are in the WHL such as Seattle, etc. I can’t see that; the cost involved of flying players across the States would not be feasible. The fans will not stand a huge markup in ticket prices to accommodate… it’s still just junior hockey.

Getting back to the box office; I told you I might ramble. I am about to go and put my deposit on my season tickets and for this reason. and this reason only. If there is a Memorial Cup held in the Soo …if … and I know, it’s a big if. I do not want to have to pay scalpers a huge price to see the boys fight for the coveted trophy. Kyle and the scouts have assembled a contender and this is the year. Although Kyle is patient, I think this is the year he will pull a few big trades in order to double lace this team to the finals.

Will there even be a Memorial Cup? That’s a legitimate question.

If capacity is limited, for the junior games this year, how does that affect the two bidders Oshawa and the Soo finacially? Will one or both pull out as the profit/loss factor would be to risky? The Memorial Cup is a huge showcase and quite costly to put on. Earlier this year, Tim Lukenda said that he would be content if the team broke even if winning the bid to be the host city. Tickets 4 the big show are very expensive. Having only 60% in the seats will not cut it financially.

Let’s ramble some more. How many season ticket holders will not renew this year? How many game day purchasers will not attend the games this year? How many possible first timers will not attend this year?

C19 is a virus that has been responsible either directly or indirectly for too many deaths worldwide. Each one is important and terrible.

The fear from contracting and dying from it is enormous, especially with the many seniors in our population. I can see a good portion of the regular attendees not going into a large venue this upcoming season for reasons of fear.

There are not many ways around this pandemic and large gatherings.

Will it be mandatory mask wearing to watch the Hounds? A Covid-19 negative test app? A medical note from your doctor? One way or another, they will need to get bodies in the door. It’s complicated and I have no doubt there will be a season. However, it’s going to be a guessing game as to how it proceeds.  It will probably resemble everything we have witnessed up to this date, confusion, contradiction, and guessing.

Lastly, I am pretty sure the Hounds marketing department have already ordered their Soo Greyhound designer hockey masks to be sold during the preseason. You know… to recoup some costs. If they haven’t… well, they have not only missed the boat… they are not even at the dock. 🤣


Go Hounds Go !


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Ernest Skinner
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