The one about free agency, AHL realignment, All-Star game lack of scheduling, etc!

On Free Agency:

June 30 is like Christmas Eve, in so many ways.  You’ve already shook and touched all of the “presents” (A.K.A. UFA’s) under the Christmas tree, so you THINK that they are there, and have speculated what they are going to do or be after they can be opened the next morning, but nothing is certain until July 1 when everything is on the table.  Some end up right as you thought they would, others surprise you and end up completely opposite of anything you thought possible.

In Hurricanes signing news, they’ve made three big re-signings this week, for Joni Pitkanen, Chad LaRose and Jussi Jokinen.  The Pitkanen signing leaves their defense corps nearly completely in tact from last season, as Derek Joslin was qualified and I would be shocked if he didn’t accept the offer (though he has until July 5 to sign up for arbitration).  The Hurricanes will do anything in their power to keep RFA Brandon Sutter (without him, we wouldn’t have a hat-trick worth of Sutters in the organization, after all!) and they have said they want to keep Troy Bodie and Jiri Tlusty, so it looks like there are only 4-5 positions up for grab via Free Agency tomorrow, or camp promotions in September from the 2010-11 roster of minor league players.  It’s still going to be a fun saga to watch!  I wouldn’t expect many AHL Checkers signings until the end of July.  Though many AHL squads have been signing their AHL guys already, historically the Hurricane’s AHL squad waits until much later in the summer to make deals with guys such as Jacob Micflikier, Brad Herauf, Mike McKenzie, etc.

Checkers/Hurricanes notes of interest:

  • The Hurricanes have announced details on the Prospect conditioning camp, to be held in Wake Forest July 10-13.  Looks like my schedule isn’t going to let me get up there this time around, so I’ll be saving my energy for Hurricanes pre-season camp in September.
  • The Hurricanes have also released a new season ticket package that is only $430, for all 41 home games.  That’s cheaper than my Checkers season ticket package!  (Granted, I have much better seats, AND, truth be told, I prefer the Checkers to the Canes…. what can I say, I love the AHL!)
  • On the season ticket front, some Twitter buddies were all discussing AHL season ticket prices.  We’ve got a pretty good thing going in Charlotte.  While our tickets aren’t the cheapest, they aren’t the most expensive, either.  I keep thinking about compiling a full list of ticket prices to see where the Checkers compare, but it seems to be we are right on target.
  • Friend of Chasing Checkers Cardiac Cane did a couple of funny posts on Checkers look-a-likes.  Check out part one and part two here.
  • The AHL has still not announced the site of the 2011-12 All Star Game.  Seriously??!?!?!??!?!  It’s about six months out… an event of that magnitude takes all kinds of planning (hotel rooms, sponsors, special ticket programs, logo designing, etc.) and to have not announced it yet is just ABSURD from the event planner in me! (And remember, I used to have an event planning hand in some pretty major sporting events that drew crowds of 50,0000 or more.)  While I’d LOVE for it to be in Charlotte, and would certainly do everything I can to promote it, at this point, I’m not sure I’d be begging for it to be here this season, because six months isn’t long enough to prepare for!
  • Apparently, the NBA may also be headed for a lock out.  What is that going to mean for teams like the Checkers that are the number two tenant in an NBA arena.  (To be honest, the only other cities I can think of where an AHL team shares an arena with an NBA team are the NBA Rockets and AHL Aeros of Houston, and the NBA Spurs and AHL Rampage of San Antonio… anyone know something I’m missing?)
  • We’ve all been hearing about AHL realignment, and plans that may take the Checkers into the Western conference.  I’m working on a big post about what I think about it all, and why I don’t think it will be a terrible thing, as long as the schedule can be balanced for all teams.
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2 thoughts on “The one about free agency, AHL realignment, All-Star game lack of scheduling, etc!

  1. As for the All-Star game….It wouldn’t surprise me if the AHL is still trying to woo a team to host it. Milwaukee’s team president gets asked about MKE hosting it every time he does an online chat at the newspaper…and it’s always a similar answer — simply from a staffing and coordinating standpoint by the host team, it’s a HUGE operation that not every team may have the capability of running. They’d like to host it some time, but to do it right, it takes resources that many teams may not have.

  2. Because of the amount of resources, the closer we get to January, the harder it’s going to be to find a team that is in fact willing to deal with the hassle. I come from an sports event planning background (NASCAR race entitlements, etc) so I know a tiny front office team of an AHL organization would definitely be overwhelmed by the task. It seems to me the AHL needs to be more involved in securing sponsors, etc., that would offset the cost of such an event. Then again, maybe they are… but I can definitely understand why a city like MKE would be a front runner to host, simply because it’s a major market city with a major airport, etc. When you talk about so many of the AHL cities, you realize that the vast majority of them don’t have the amenities that an event like this require.

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