Monday, March 7, 2011

Underthinking International Ice Hockey NZ

I am not sure how many of you are aware that there is a company in NZ promoting an international ice hockey match between Canada and USA. The promotions can be viewed here or you can view their facebook page here. Now I am not saying that there won't be a hockey game, just I am concerned by their marketing of this game, so here are some things you should consider before spending $60 -$200 on a ticket.

1/ This event is not sanctioned by IIHF, NZIHF, Hockey USA or Hockey Canada

This link shows a letter from the president of the NZIHF (New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation) outlining this fact.
This event is not a rematch of the 2010 Winter Olympic final, any more than a composite team of 3rd Division NPC players playing a third division side from France is a rematch of that game we don't talk about anymore.

"They lost David, The All Blacks lost"
The players themselves will not represent Canada or the USA in official statistics held by the IIHF (international ice hockey federation) unless their national bodies have decided to outsource their selection to two rodeo promoters from Canterbury, (Pro tip: they haven't).

Although the Southern Stampedes (A NZIHL team) Cowboy Coach Dave Le Comte did pretty well there for a while, so maybe they are onto something.

So why do the promoters keep the misconception out there, recently they have claimed never to have said anything to start this

Well done for admitting it.

but if this is true then why do they use this photo on one of their sales sites? Vector Arena game
 
To bad on your promotional material the players are quite clearly wearing Team USA and Team Canada uniforms. Why are people getting confused is beyond me?
 And even calling it Canada vs USA, is misleading, sure it is not Team Canada or Team USA, but if I told you I had organised an international rugby match between NZ and Australia, you are immediately going to think I have got the All Blacks and Wallabies to play.


In fact the promoters are comparing there event to All Blacks vs Wallabies, which is insinuating this is the actual Canada and USA national squads, which it  is not. I mean it does raise an interesting philosophical debate, what makes an event an international? To me to qualify the squads in the teams need to be selected by the sports national body, it is not enough to have two teams with different sets of passports.

2/ Despite claims these players are not superstars of the game

So far they have only announced two players, which they are trumpeting as Superstars of ice hockey.

That is why they are using Generic Hockey guy to promote the game.
These two players Kyle Quincey and Rob Schremp both play in the NHL that is true, but Brayden Mitchell and Craig Clarke both play in Super 15 and that doesn't make them superstars.
Kyle Quincey is a very good player having lead the Colorado Avalanche Defense in playing minutes in the 2009-2010 season, but this season injured himself in December and won't play any further part in this years competition, so probably for him this will be a low risk way to get some ice time. (which is a clue perhaps the intensity not so high)
The other player is Robbie Schremp who has made himself as a trick shot specialist in Shootout competitions.


But has struggled to hold down a regular position in an NHL team since he was first drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2004, mostly playing in the minor leagues, before being picked up off waivers for the Islanders, who also put him on waivers, and he has been picked up by the Atlanta Thrashers. Waivers basically mean since you are no longer using that player in the majors, other teams have the right to offer to pick that player up for the rest of his original contract. Hardly the mark of a global superstar.
They may be the best players to have ever played in NZ, although we have had some pretty good Europeans play in our national league, so this is debatable, but global superstars they are not. And well the promoters have not said certain superstars like Sidney Crosby, or Martin Brodeur are coming, they haven't set the people claiming this to the case on their FB page correct either.

3/. First International Ice Hockey game in NZ

This I find quite frankly insulting, since A/ this is not an International game (see not sanctioned by IIHF) and B/ there have been a multitude actual international games in this country. Sure these games have not been between global superpowers.

NZ and Ireland not traditional powers, but they are legitimately representing their country.
I will probably miss teams off this list, so please feel free to correct me, but the following teams have played real international matches in NZ at a Senior mens level.

NZ, Australia, Spain, Turkey, Luxembourg, Iceland, Mexico, Greece, China, North and South Korea

On a side note Don Cherry acknowledges the Irish Team, so they must be real.
Other countries have also played here at a senior women level, as well as at age group. If you want to see real international ice hockey in NZ this year, you could attend the NZ Winter Games, this August. Where International Ice Hockey matches will be played between Australia, NZ, China and potentially Korea.

4/ Playing Rules

A big concern amongst true hockey fans, is the fact they are only bringing 22 players across. That is not 22 a side, that is 22 altogether for a 3 game series. For those of you unaware at any one time a team would have 5 players on the ice, and to keep the frentic pace, they will have 3 other lines on the bench, which they will rotate through, with a heavier weighting on your top lines, giving 20 players, plus a goalie on the ice, and a backup, meaning each team should have 22 players.

Players after 10 minutes of real hockey with two lines
No team in the world is fit enough to play good fast hockey for 60 minutes with 2 lines, the quality and intensity will suffer.

Unless the promoters have managed to bring Herb Brooks from beyond the grave.
It also disturbs me that the promoters are discussing on their wall whether they should change the rules of ice hockey to try and address the fatigue issue.

Truly Ice hockey aficionados

Ice Hockey is a game of 3 periods, not 4 quarters, or 3 quarters as some times it is referred to in NZ media or crowds.

It can't be 3 quarters! Gawd

Summation

I am not saying this is a bad event, in fact given the players it has the potentially to be good, just not $60 +  good. The lack of players leads one to believe the intensity will not be the highest. I just feel if they had a great product, they wouldn't have to use to misinformation to get people along. Its Underthinking marketing at best.

Also if you do want to see some great hockey in this country with local players, and a sprinkling of talented Europeans and North Americans, then you should head along to the NZIHL games this season, where the price of admission will be closer to $10 - $20. Highlights in below video show the quality is quite high.

23 comments:

  1. They're not underthinking it. They've thought through in great detail how to scam as much money out of the unsuspecting public as possible.

    The term "scum bags" springs to mind.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just point out too. When the page first turned up on FB it was as "Team Canada vs Team USA"

    I've watched games from German elite league and the Swiss 1. Somehow I doubt these will even get close to matching those. Strange they're not naming the rest until just before the games ;)

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  3. Craig Douglas stated in the phone conversation (with me) that he doesn't know the first thing about hockey, but has just employed people who have told him they know the game. You'd think as a promoter you'd want to know something about the sport your promoting.

    During the same conversation I was even asked to join their team because It sounded like I knew what I was talking about. This event is going to be an epic failure.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Devin - Are you really going to turn down the opportunity to represent your country in the sport that you love?

    (sarcasm intended)

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Anon - Yeah I was aware of the original advertising they have remedied the naming, but still in their press releases little comments like Replay of Olympics etc still exist to maintain the illusion.

    @Devon - Yeah it disturbs me a man that knows nothing about hockey is in charge.

    @Ryan Devon got asked to be on the marketing/management team, not the playing team

    ReplyDelete
  6. OMG guys. Get off the band wagon. A promoter is in the business of promoting events. Doesn't mean that he should have played in the NHL for 15yrs before daring to bring a game to these shores.

    Maybe if the NZIHF got a promoter on board there'd be more than just us turning up to see the National League games. Don't bash the promoter for daring to try something other than bloody rugby, and charging what he needs to for it. If you don't like the price here's a suggestion. Don't go! I reckon good on him and we could probably learn a couple of things from him.

    I'm guessing it's not just going to be an Ice Hockey game but also a spectacle with other things happening between periods, just like the Crusty Demons isn't just a bunch of bikes going over some jumps.

    If if can bring in a segment of the public that doesn't normally watch Hockey then surely local Hockey can benefit from this by having some of this audience walking away thinking they'd like to go and watch some local games.

    Don't get angry just because you think he could do better. Next time do it yourself and show us you can do it better! I for one would love to see the game we play and love to be in the spotlight more.....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Anon. Thanks for your feedback.

    1./ No one is suggesting the promotor should have played in the NHL for 15 years, more that the players he says he is bringing over probably should have played in the NHL for a couple of years.

    2/. Yea I think that is a good idea for us to hire a similar promotor in the NZIHL. I suggest changing the name of Red Devils to team Switzerland, Stampede to Team Sweden, Admirals to Team Finland. That way we can lie to the public to get them to the game, but it will be okay because we have provided good hockey.

    3/. He is not charging what he needs, he is charging to make a lot of money, because the product he is bringing won't cost as much as the product he is claiming.

    4/. I am not going, but I have never suggested others shouldn't go, merely providing them with facts so they can make up there own mind if its worth the price. Because the promotor sure as hell isn't providing the truth.

    5/. We are not angry cos he could have done better, we are aggrieved he is lying to the public.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Anon, this guy Douglas did the same with the Crusty demons, set up a copy show to run just after the real crusty demons ,with a lot of reference to crusty demons in his advertising but had nothing to do with them.
    He also left town (Hastings)and a lot of people out of pocket. He also over promised what he could deliver.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @anonymous - Any chance you can get in touch with me directly to provide more information on this? Drop me a line at http://ryanhellyer.net/contact/ if you see this please, as I'm really keen to hear about the Crusty Demons issues. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is written by a person that is affiliated with the NZIHL. Basically, they are peeved they didn't get included in the promotion and as such, are not making any money out of the event.

    Its sad that they would black label an event that will increase and bring more players to the sport in New Zealand.

    Their stance is short sighted.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I wrote this post. I am affiliated to NZIHF in the sense I play ice hockey in this country, and I am a member of my local body which in turn is accountable to NZIHF, which itself it is affiliated to IIHF.

    As I understand the reason NZIHF is not involved is not because they weren't asked. (They were) It is because this Hockey is not sanctioned by Hockey Canada and Hockey USA, and as such the IIHF stepped in and told them not to be involved in an official capacity.
    Just as the NHL players that were originally going to come got told not to be involved by the NHLPA.

    That being said, I never said don't go, I just pointed out the facts that people need to know before, purchasing their tickets. I wish the promoters great success, which they probably would have got if they were honest to begin with. This post was written months ago, when the promotion was less than honest, since then the advertising has made it clearer that it is not Team USA and Team Canada, so in that sense this post has served its purpose...

    ReplyDelete
  12. so how did it turn out - did they turn up as indicated and play or did they sell the tickets and "scoot off with the cash" ...

    and if they did play, did they fill the stadium or did 6 people turn up?

    i just stumbled on this post by chance and would be very interested to know what the outcome was

    ReplyDelete
  13. They turned up, and played. Well some players did, Kyle Quincey and Robbie Schremp didn't, so again there was lies. No active NHL players showed, ahl and some retired guys (I have to say decent quality) they didn't bring enough though so had to pad roster with NZIHL imports. In Auckland they weren't allowed to do slapshots, because the promoter forgot netting.
    The footage that was filmed never showed up ondiscovery or espn as was claimed, instead I nice little video about the players trip here was shown 3 times on sky sport, with very little hockey in it.

    There was a few staged fights at each venue between players. My name was mysteriously scratched off the honours board after game in Dunedin.

    The games did sell out, in Dunedin it was intentionally oversold, which made it uncomfortable, and we have people they are not coming to game because the bad experience they had. So the games did alright, I have seen no evidence it brought more people to hockey.

    ReplyDelete
  14. They turned up, and played. Well some players did, Kyle Quincey and Robbie Schremp didn't, so again there was lies. No active NHL players showed, ahl and some retired guys (I have to say decent quality) they didn't bring enough though so had to pad roster with NZIHL imports. In Auckland they weren't allowed to do slapshots, because the promoter forgot netting.
    The footage that was filmed never showed up ondiscovery or espn as was claimed, instead I nice little video about the players trip here was shown 3 times on sky sport, with very little hockey in it.

    There was a few staged fights at each venue between players. My name was mysteriously scratched off the honours board after game in Dunedin.

    The games did sell out, in Dunedin it was intentionally oversold, which made it uncomfortable, and we have people they are not coming to game because the bad experience they had. So the games did alright, I have seen no evidence it brought more people to hockey.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Azzy77

    I am a massive hockey fan, from Edmonton, Canada and have stumbled upon the same type series in Australia this year.

    See link below.

    http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=ICEHOCKE13

    From reading your earlier posts... I fear I may not be happy with the quality of the product as well.

    Would you personally fly from Brisbane to either Sydney or Melbourne to see this game? No rosters have been released prior to ticket sales here either.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey.

    Personally I wouldn't drive in from Melbourne to Melbourne to see this event.

    They under-delivered for true hockey fans. For people who had never seen the game it was good (apparently), they had staged fights and in Auckland they couldn't even have slapshots due to lack of netting.

    Now these guys are professional promotors so they may have learnt from there mistakes, and the lock out might help them secure a better calibre player. But these guys also have a reputation of over-promising and under delivering, so I am not sure.

    I don't think the players they put on the ice will be worth the money, but then again because its Australia they might be able to have more pull with players...

    Based on the NZ product I would not go.

    ReplyDelete
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