LANDON'S BLOG - FROM THE DESK OF THE GM
From the Desk of Bruce Landon - August 17, 2009 - 9:00 am
Now that the schedule is officially released I want to make a couple of comments.
For those that think we don’t go West because of costs, nothing could be further from the truth. Due to the League’s travel subsidy program it would cost us no additional money to go to Winnipeg or Houston than it does to go to Hershey or Norfolk. We were one of the Eastern teams this year that volunteered to go to Abbotsford. However, we were not selected.
We have played Winnipeg and Houston and San Antonio in the past. Despite the fact that some people want to see these teams, the numbers show that attendance is much better when we play our Divisional opponents. However, next year we will see if we can get Chicago or one of the other Western based teams to play us. As I have said in the past you need cooperation from the other teams. Just because we may want to play a team out West, does not mean they want to play us.
Our schedule is very fan friendly. We have 35 weekend games and of the 5 mid-week games three of those are during school vacation. We are experimenting with some different starting times. I made the decision to move a few of our Saturday games to 7:30 PM to accommodate the building. In addition there are fans that would prefer a 7:30 PM start on Saturday nights. The change of the starting times to 3 PM on Sunday afternoons was based on a survey the League conducted. You will see several other teams in the League also going to a 3 PM Sunday starting time. The survey showed a sizeable spike in attendance when the games were played earlier than 4 or 5 o’clock.
Edmonton promised us they would dip into the free agent market this off season and they did so by signing Chirs Minard, Charles Linglet, Dean Arsene, Colton Fretter and Matt Nickerson. We also have a couple of free agents attending our training camp who could surprise some people. We also have to keep in mind that a healthy Jake Taylor, who was signed last year to a two year contract could make a difference on our back end.
Coach Rob Daum likes a strong, well conditioned, physical team. There is no question our team will be bigger this year. I believe all players deserve a chance at making the Oilers, but if you were to project which players could be coming to Springfield, there will be a noticeable difference in the overall size of the team that will start the season, as compared to last year.
Our training camp in Springfield will have the players reporting on September 19th with the first practice on the 20th. To make sure we have enough depth we have invited about 15 free agents to camp. As mentioned earlier a couple of these players could open some eyes at camp.
Stay tuned because we may have an interesting announcement sometime over the next couple of weeks. Enjoy the rest of the summer and I look forward to seeing you soon.