By: Jeff Riger
Well, we got what we wanted as the NHL and the Wings start an abbreviated 48 game season that starts on Saturday, January 19th. The Wings will open in St. Louis on Saturday then fly to Columbus to play the Blue Jackets on Monday before the home opener at the Joe on Tuesday.
The game has come back; but will the fans?
In an effort to reach out to the fans and say thanks the Wings along with Ticketmaster have waived service fees on regular season tickets purchased during the first 35 hours of being on sale. The promotion starts on Thursday at 1PM.
But is this enough?
It’s no secret that Detroit has a rabid fan base and even without an incentive, fans will flood the Joe in hopes of yet another winning season. The Wings are lucky, they have great fans, other teams are not so lucky.
It really doesn’t matter what I think, I don’t make the rules. But, I will tell you anyway. I think the Wings could do more and eventually will. Whether it is a hot dog or beer promotion, it all sounds like a great idea to me. Again, fans will be back and the Joe and attendance will not be affected all that much, however for the people that go, more perks after another awful lockout would be fantastic!
But what about the players and coaches? Do they think the Wings are doing enough to bring the fans back to Hockey Town?
I had a chance to ask some of the players and head Coach Mike Babcock during the team’s second day of training camp in Plymouth at the Compuware Sports Arena (where by the way practices are free to the public along with tonight’s Red-White game) what they thought of the Ticketmaster perk. Was it enough?
Below are their answers…
“I don’t know, probably not! We’ve upset a lot of fans, we’ve extremely P.O’ed the fickle fan and we really annoyed the huge fan. Our job as players is to put a good product on the ice, sign an extra autograph, more autographs if you can, whatever… I don’t know! With the shortened season it’s going to be hard to do a lot of appearances. All I know is that our team will work hard represent the jersey proudly and our fans will come back and support us.”
Jimmy Howard felt for the fans during the lockout-
“Whenever you get a chance to sign an autograph for someone or take a photo you definitely should. They have been stuck in the middle here throughout the whole lockout process and if you ask anybody in here we feel really bad about what we did to the fans. We definitely need them, that’s what drives the Joe every time we play there, that’s what makes it so much fun.”
“Anyway we can, we would like to help out and try to bring the fans back because we know that it has been a frustrating time for them. No one really wanted it to happen but unfortunately that was the situation that we were in and we were trying to do what we believed in. We can’t wait to get back to the Joe and have the fans come back as well. Anything that needs to be done, obviously we will go the extra mile to get them back, for sure!”
“It’s been a tough time for the fans when the league locked us out. It went way too far and we are going to do everything we can to show gratitude that they are sticking with us. We are looking forward to that first game and hopefully we will give them a good show and we will win the game.”
“The best way to do anything for fans is to put a product on the ice and win. That’s what I think! I’m a big believer in that! Obviously when you reach out and sign an autograph, you got time to do it, you had 8 months off. You’ve got time to do it. There are lots of things you can do that way but to me still the best way is to just win baby!
You have heard what the players and Babcock think, now what about you? Have the Wings done enough to get you back?