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VeniceMenace

"Basketball Mafia" does not want hockey at SLU

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Great Facebook post features photos from SLU's D1 hockey team in the 1970s. I remember seeing the annual "Billikens vs. Blues rookies" exhibition as a kid and thinking the Bills' unis looked cool.

In the thread, Joe Fresta writes, quote, "The 'Basketball Mafia' does not want hockey! With all the homegrown talent here hockey would bring a national championship way before basketball. They're probably afraid of that too."

Thoughts?

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Interesting. Always seemed short sighted to stop program. interesting ? surely we were in position to make frozen 4 easier than final 4 because of the numbers of teams.

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Once the Blues - Owner Solomon - stopped paying the major cost of the program the school was not in any financial shape to keep it going.  In the 70s the school was really strapped before Biondi went on his big fund raising binge. 

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Hockey was picked up my last year at SLU, I think. It might have been started the year before. The only game I ever went to was in Boston when they played BC in Newton. For a start up program, however, we did pretty good. It was started to ride the coattails of the Blues who were selling out every game. I had some classmates that never went to a Bills BB game, but rarely missed a Blues game. The Blues really cut into college BB at the time. It was a shame too, as we played really good schedules back then. The Valley was loaded w/ good teams,. we had games against Mizzery, ND, Marquette w/ Al. But those games were played at the Arena, and even if they got a crowd of 10,000 it seemed empty. I don't know what the Capacity of the Arena was, but it was one huge building. Moving to Kiel for 71-72 seemed to help as it was much more compact. Good crowds for UL, Cincy, and Memphis. 

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11 hours ago, VeniceMenace said:

Great Facebook post features photos from SLU's D1 hockey team in the 1970s. I remember seeing the annual "Billikens vs. Blues rookies" exhibition as a kid and thinking the Bills' unis looked cool.

In the thread, Joe Fresta writes, quote, "The 'Basketball Mafia' does not want hockey! With all the homegrown talent here hockey would bring a national championship way before basketball. They're probably afraid of that too."

Thoughts?

My other thought is that I wish there was a "Basketball Mafia." Imagine our resources would be even greater if that was the case. 

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Hockey and football are both either/or options with basketball.

When we are striving to build both soccer programs, men’s baseball, and both basketball programs, the last thing we need to de is deemphasize our best profit earning major program for a costly program that never earned a dime while it previously operated with a 50% subsidy from a single outside source.

And, to boot, all of our best national players were drafted directly into the NHL. They bypassed college en Toto, so SLU would still be raiding Canada for players.

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3 hours ago, cheeseman said:

Once the Blues - Owner Solomon - stopped paying the major cost of the program the school was not in any financial shape to keep it going.  In the 70s the school was really strapped before Biondi went on his big fund raising binge. 

The university was in financial trouble with a huge amount of short term debt when short interest rates were near 20%. Father Fitzgerald was able to create fiscal discipline while refinancing to long term debt.  Fitzgerald does not get enough credit for the job he did. 

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1 minute ago, willie said:

The university was in financial trouble with a huge amount of short term debt when short interest rates were near 20%. Father Fitzgerald was able to create fiscal discipline while refinancing to long term debt.  Fitzgerald does not get enough credit for the job he did. 

I  agree. He doesn’t get enough credit. He actually started the badly needed campus renovation with the rec center.

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9 hours ago, Brighton said:

Look at Lindenwood for your local college hockey fix. They’re D1 and decent.

Not yet. Lindenwood is D1 ACHA or “club” hockey but has plans to go to a lower/mid level real D1 hickey. ACHA = club hockey.  But Lindenwood has been one of the very best ACHA teams - having won several national championships. Maryville and SLU are D3 ACHA or “club” hockey programs.  Maryville paid $1 million to get naming rights and its own locker room  as to the new facility in Chesterfield (approximately $22 million)    Great  facility built with 1/3 fundraising/loans from youth hockey, 1/3 public money and 1/3 corporate donations/support  

Top D1 hockey requires budgets of $10 million plus per year. Lindenwood is closer to $2 million and will need corporate sponsors to double this to even compete. Doable. But we/SLU needs to find an ice hockey version of Dr C

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On 3/14/2020 at 10:56 PM, VeniceMenace said:

Great Facebook post features photos from SLU's D1 hockey team in the 1970s. I remember seeing the annual "Billikens vs. Blues rookies" exhibition as a kid and thinking the Bills' unis looked cool.

In the thread, Joe Fresta writes, quote, "The 'Basketball Mafia' does not want hockey! With all the homegrown talent here hockey would bring a national championship way before basketball. They're probably afraid of that too."

Thoughts?

Yes, my thoughts are: Post a link when you're referring to something on another site. What FB page?

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On 3/16/2020 at 1:29 PM, Pistol said:

Yes, my thoughts are: Post a link when you're referring to something on another site. What FB page?

Wish it were that simple, Pistol...it;s in a Facebook group, "St. Louis Memories," and someone has to first approve letting you in the group....so the link might lead to nowhere if the person clicking the link is not a group member...if you do get access, the post was 9:51 a.m. March 10.

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23 hours ago, VeniceMenace said:

Wish it were that simple, Pistol...it;s in a Facebook group, "St. Louis Memories," and someone has to first approve letting you in the group....so the link might lead to nowhere if the person clicking the link is not a group member...if you do get access, the post was 9:51 a.m. March 10.

Would you mind taking a screenshot of the post and posting it here? 

First - I've wanted Hockey at SLU for as long as I can remember. It would be amazing in the Chaifetz. It would continue to differentiate us as an athletic program away from Mizzou and Illinois, and there is a massive homegrown talent base here. I really don't see any reasons (other than I don't get to look at SLU's books) that we don't have hockey and/or lacrosse. 

Second - No football, ever, at SLU. I couldn't feel more strongly about it. 

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23 minutes ago, prebilliken said:

Would you mind taking a screenshot of the post and posting it here? 

First - I've wanted Hockey at SLU for as long as I can remember. It would be amazing in the Chaifetz. It would continue to differentiate us as an athletic program away from Mizzou and Illinois, and there is a massive homegrown talent base here. I really don't see any reasons (other than I don't get to look at SLU's books) that we don't have hockey and/or lacrosse. 

Second - No football, ever, at SLU. I couldn't feel more strongly about it. 

Chaifetz was not built to have ice but I am guess that anything can be retrofitted for enough money.  

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I seem to remember hockey at Chaifetz coming up on here before. Anyway, a hockey rink is 200 ft by 85 ft. A basketball floor is 94 ft by 50 ft. Can you begin to see the problem here?

Ain't gonna fit. And to make it fit? Build another arena.

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The Chaifetz is in use, profitably I presume, as a place for music and other types of events, including the Cirque du Soleil. As White Pelican notes above the size of the playing field is much larger for hockey  than it is for basketball. I also believe that a retrofit to install the ice surface and equipment to produce it and maintain it would likely be very expensive to finance, plus it might interfere with the use of the Chaifetz as an income producing event location. Financially I do not see how this can be justified or approved by SLU.

 

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1 hour ago, cheeseman said:

Chaifetz was not built to have ice but I am guess that anything can be retrofitted for enough money.  

Don’t they do Disney on ice and stuff like that there? I can’t remember.

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They did do it at least once several years ago. But that does not mean that the ice for a Disney show is the regulation size for hockey.

 

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There are synthetic ice surfaces (I'm guessing plastic of course) and from what I've read, they can vary from awful to almost like real ice. And I've also read that Disney on Ice has used such surfaces in the past. Don't know if that's the case at Chaifetz but wouldn't be surprised.

And like old Guy said, even if Disney skated at Chaifetz, that doesn't make the arena big enough for a college hockey rink.

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11 hours ago, Old guy said:

The Chaifetz is in use, profitably I presume, as a place for music and other types of events, including the Cirque du Soleil. As White Pelican notes above the size of the playing field is much larger for hockey  than it is for basketball. I also believe that a retrofit to install the ice surface and equipment to produce it and maintain it would likely be very expensive to finance, plus it might interfere with the use of the Chaifetz as an income producing event location. Financially I do not see how this can be justified or approved by SLU.

 

I am assuming its possible, I don't obviously know that as a fact. But concerning the playing area. All of those seats in the first ten rows or so can be pushed back, think about how the floor looks for graduation rather than for a basketball game. 

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As the last public address announcer for the Hockey Bills at the Checkerdome/Arena, hockey was indeed a very cool time (pun intended).  The formation of the team was a direct result of the popularity of the Blues and the spill over of fans who could not get tickets to the NHL.  The Blues were one of six expansion teams in the late 60s and all six were placed in one division.  I believe the Blues won that division each time their first three years and then summarily went on and were shut out in three straight Cup finals, winning nary a game.  But hockey was a hit.  

Sid Saloman owned the Blues and gave SLU a pretty good deal on playing our games at the Arena.  We then had the largest college hockey venue at the time.  But we didn't really have a league and we struggled to advance past NCAA qualifiers a few years running.  I loved hockey but I was obviously biased; it was also my 'beat' for the UNews.  Bill Selman's temperment, the only coach we ever had, rivaled that of Herb Brooks and Bill Belicheck.  We had a few kids from St. Louis make the team but few rarely played; the pipeline was direct from Canada.  When Ralston Purina purchased the team and the venue in the mid- to late-70s, the favorable lease went out the window and expenses grew.  The team had no practice arena, holding practice at area venues like the Affton Ice Rink and others.  Of course, overall, all our athletic facilities sucked.  Student support for the program was weak despite constant Fireline runs to and from games.  Ditto the basketball Bills at old Kiel.  SLU students today have no idea.

Games were two-game series; the visitors would come in for a Friday night game followed by a Sunday afternoon tilt.  The largest crowds I ever got to see/PA were two games against the then #1 Bowling Green Falcons of Mike Liut and Ken Morrow.  I think 11,000 came to the Friday game (I think we lost 4 to 1) and then 15,000 came to the Sunday game.  It was that Saturday inbetween that then AD Joe McDonald announced hockey would be discontinued after that season.  We won the rematch 4 to 3 on a Chuck Durocher goal late in the third.  

Hockey is an expensive sport just like football and if our BOT is somewhat reluctant to spend on its cashmaker (men's basketball), I can't see it taking a plunge into another unknown like hockey.  A basketball 'mafia' seems highly unlikely; an anti-sports mafia seems more appropriate.  Maybe roll in some NCAA basketball dough on a consistent basis and we can talk.  Ditto if you throw in a niche sport like lacrosse.  

I find it funny when some talk about us being in an "East Coast Bus league" like the A10.  Our hockey opponents included teams like Bowling Green, Lake Superior State, St. Lawrence (another SLU), Eastern/Western/Northern Michigan, Brown and Colorado College.

You'd need a couple Dr. Richard Chaifetz' who were ice hockey buffs to pull this off.

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Title IX will result in an addition of a women's sport, if you are adding schollies for a men's hockey team.  Add that into your budget.

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Lindenwood handles the Title IX issue by having a women’s hockey team as well. Their women already play real D1 - bc there are not many women’s hockey teams and no real option to play club hockey.  Lindenwood owned their own ice rink in Wentzville  (2 sheets of ice) and now have partnered in the new ice complex in Maryland Heights with the St Louis Blue - not an on campus site - but within the short distance from campus requirement of real men’s hockey - believe the NCAA requires w/in 10 miles from campus.  SLU has no ice rink anywhere close to campus and would need its own ice on campus to practice and play games. Yep Alot more expense. And with ice rinks, the real expense is not the building of it but the maintenance of the ice.  Chaifetz was quite expensive to build but is inexpensive to maintain. And by renting it out, SLU is making money off Chaifetz 

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4 minutes ago, Clock_Tower said:

Lindenwood handles the Title IX issue by having a women’s hockey team as well. Their women already play real D1 - bc there are not many women’s hockey teams and no real option to play club hockey.  Lindenwood owned their own ice rink in Wentzville  (2 sheets of ice) and now have partnered in the new ice complex in Maryland Heights with the St Louis Blue - not an on campus site - but within the short distance from campus requirement of real men’s hockey - believe the NCAA requires w/in 10 miles from campus.  SLU has no ice rink anywhere close to campus and would need its own ice on campus to practice and play games. Yep Alot more expense. And with ice rinks, the real expense is not the building of it but the maintenance of the ice.  Chaifetz was quite expensive to build but is inexpensive to maintain. And by renting it out, SLU is making money off Chaifetz 

I may be wrong, but i believe saint louis university lease chaifetz to an outside promoter.   in turn the promoter brings in acts and shows to use the facility, including slu events.  i would be shocked if slu doesnt get first dibs on any and all days at a set price that is a "deal" for slu.   

my guess is that the promoter would consider anything and  all things assuming they arent losing money.   i.e. who's paying for making it possible to have ice and prepare the ice each time?  therefore even if the dates could be secured saint louis university would still be faced with the task of putting in ice in all likelihood.   as someone above mentioned, the BoT isnt going for this and dont be asking the good doctor to pony up again.   as Taj suggested, go find another doc chaifetz who loves hockey to make it happen.  they not only would be faced with the ice issue, but the additional costs of adding another sport including the title IX issues.   point is, this isnt going to happen. 

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Yes. SLU would need its own ice rink on campus to play real D1. And I am sure there are minimum seating capacity requirements such as to hold 5,000.

Again, the 2 sheet of ice facility in Chesterfield cost $22 million and I believe included the land. And the 4 sheet complex in Maryland Heights cost $70 million. So raising $25 million is not beyond reach -  instead it would be the monthly expense of maintaining the ice. Partnering with others makes sense.  But yes, SLU hockey would need its own Dr C

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