The return of indoor football to Dayton

The Miami Valley Silverbacks will be back this year- playing at Hara Arena. Owner Jeff Kolaczkowski has hired Ryan Evans as GM.

They’ll be holding tryouts on Saturday, Oct. 23, at Englewood Indoor Soccer.

The team is working on their website- www.silverbacksfootball.com and more details will begin to appear over the next few weeks.

Coaching staff that is in place so far:

  • Derrick Sheppard- Head Coach
  • Michael Kiraly-Director of Football Operations
  • Head & Line Coach-Derrick Shepperd
  • Offense Coordinator & Receivers Coach-James Scott
  • Line Coach-Bill Nelson
  • Defensive Coordinator & Defensive Backs Coach-Reginald Jones
  • Line Coach- Lorenzo Burke

More will be announced at their “We are back” press conference on Oct. 19 at 2:30 pm at Hara Arena.

Local news coverage of any minor league sports other than the Dragons has been lackluster at best. Maybe, with an increased focus on generating unique local content, this incarnation of the Silverbacks will get more coverage from mainstream media.

Remember- you heard it here first.

Are you ready for some football?

Pro soccer in the heart of Dayton- and few people noticed

I looked on the Dayton Daily News Sports page today for a story about the Columbus Crew vs the Dayton Dutch Lions playing at UD’s Baujan field- and didn’t see a thing.
But, at 6:30 p.m. the two teams, both leading their respective leagues- took the field and played “football.”

Now granted, some of the serious soccer crazies are at home, glued to their sets watching the World Cup- along with the rest of the world, but, this was the big leagues- and the Dayton Daily News didn’t have a story.

Baujan Field is known to UD students- but, for most- you’d never know it’s there. Tucked away behind the old fieldhouse- it was built in 1925- and now is home to the very successful UD soccer programs. I’m not sure of the capacity- but, this should have been a 7,000+ attendance- thanks to all the youth soccer in the community. Sadly, I’d guess that it wasn’t half that.

With all the stories the DDN doesn’t cover, I’m wondering if it’s time to sue to change the name to the “Dayton Daily” or of late, “The Touchdown Jesus Times”

BTW- the Crew won 3-0. For the first year Dayton Dutch Lions, that almost counts as a win. However, Dayton’s soccer community really took a beating- from the sound of the crowd, there were more Crew fans there than Dayton fans.

Is the Dayton Daily News folding? Editor caught in questionable position!

Such a nice holiday present for the Dayton Gems professional hockey team from the worthless parasites at the Dayton Daily News, Front page “Are the Dayton Gems folding? B 1″ and the headline, top of page on sports section “Gems owner fears IHL takeover.”

Considering the paper couldn’t get a story in the Thanksgiving day paper about the game that ended at 9:45 on Wednesday- it’s amazing they can get this “blockbuster” story in today’s post Turkey day paper with their limited staff.

Yep- it’s filed by “David DiCenzo” a “contributing writer”- and it wasn’t available online until- oh, around 9:30 am.

The whole article refutes the claim from the league. What rookie owner Richard Bruner feels he brings to the table by sharing an e-mail that suggests that the league may take action is questionable, unless he’s looking for an excuse to scare investors off- and have a way to blame the Dayton Daily News if the rumors turn out to be true.

Sports marketing isn’t easy, especially on a shoestring budget. Many owners make the mistake of looking at UD Basketball or the Dayton Dragons and believe that they, too, can fill a house with fans. What they miss out is that both organizations have deep pockets. top-notch professional management, and unique customized facilities.

UD Arena was built for basketball. With it’s saddle-roof design that brings the roof down low over the court- it makes for a noisy building- with all the attention focused on the game. It’s the only facility I’ve been in that actually prevents people on one side in the nosebleed seats from seeing those sitting in pauperdom across the court from them.

The Dragons field is as near best-in-class as they come. Even the concessions are top-notch (even though staffed by “volunteers” instead of tax-paying employees). They effectively forced UD to up its game in decor and food service.

The Dayton Daily News apparently now also is home to the gurus of sports marketing- because they had the nerve to suggest that WSU drop their Division 1 men’s basketball ticket price to $5 today. Considering that Men’s basketball funds the rest of the athletic department, a move like this would destroy the program. Even with sellouts every game, the $50K raised wouldn’t be enough to field a team. Plus, when your ticket price is that low, attending has no real meaning- “Honey, it’s snowing, we’ll skip the game- it’s only $20.” It’s a lesson that the Gems need to learn as well- with $5 tickets, free parking and $1 beer, the house was still more empty than full on Wednesday night.

Let’s get back to the Dayton Daily News folding- the headline of this article- yep, they fold the paper every day- otherwise it would be too big and flat to fit in their newspaper boxes. As to the editor being caught in a questionable position- we’ll see where this Gems story ends up.

But, I have a suggestion for the paper- since readership is dropping so much, maybe they start giving away the paper every day and see if they can make it up on volume…. sounds like a great business strategy, don’t you think?

Please welcome the Dayton Gems, ’cause we need some good news

The new Dayton Gems Logo

The new Dayton Gems Logo

Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins pushed the Stanley Cup to a decisive game 7, giving die-hard hockey fans one last great game of the season.

Today, the Dayton Gems made their official announcement to return to Hara Arena in the fall. It’s not the same team, or even the same league although the names are the same- and even some of the staff- with Warren Back and Guy Trottier on board.

The “International Hockey League” or IHL is far from international, or really much of a league- with six teams, all within an easy bus trip from each other. It’s not a developmental league like the ECHL, or affiliated with anything glamorous like the NHL; it’s workingman’s hockey, to be played in a hockey barn that time has forgotten, for all the right reasons.

The league understands that hockey is a fast, physical sport- and is even bringing in a 19th man to the roster- a “utility man”- which translates to “Goon” to those who know the game. It’ll be a hall where you can call the ref an idiot, spill your beer on the floor (as long as you buy more) and scream to vent the weeks frustrations and feel great about it the next day. It won’t cost a fortune and there won’t be “luxury boxes” and ways to blow the corporate expense account (if they still exist).

If you remember the movie “Slap Shot” with Paul Newman, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about- less the Hanson brothers and “foiling up.”

The Wamplers built that building in farmland, before the Salem Mall, RIP, and the Trotwood connector, or any talk of TIFs or handouts from government. They still own it, even though they’ve had to compete with facilities paid for with tax dollars, like the Dayton Convention Center, the Nutter Center, and even the Schuster (many Daytonians saw their first concert there).

It’s an honest effort, by honest people to put on very honest hockey.

There hasn’t been one request for a handout, tax increase, or new building to be built or financed with tax dollars. Refreshing.

So, why wasn’t the head of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce there? The Mayor of Dayton, the County Commission? Will they beat the business community over the head to buy season tickets like they did for the Dragons? Not a chance. Just the Trotwood Mayor and Commission, who I’ve worked with before- and found to be well meaning people who care deeply about their community.

We’ll hear all kinds of naysayers and negativity, but not from this aging hockey player. I’m not going to rush out and buy season tickets, because I just can’t commit to tying up that many evenings, but, I’ll definitely scrape up some money to buy some vouchers for a few nights of hockey once they get their site up at www.daytongems.net

I’d urge you to as well. Because this will be our team- the team of the workingman, with aspirations to be exactly what we are. There will be no prima-donnas on the ice- or in the stands, just people who love the game of hockey- played the way it should be played, for the love of the game.

Go Gems. And, even though I like both teams- Go Pens, because they are the underdogs in Game 7 in Detroit, and I always root for the underdog.

The final detonation of the Dayton Bombers

It was going to happen, in fact, just like the implosion of AIG, the only thing that would have saved the Dayton Bombers was a government stimulus check in the way of a new arena- and that would have had to have happened a few years ago.

Today, the Dayton Daily News reports that the Bombers won’t skate next season:

The Dayton Bombers will not play the 2009-10 ECHL season, the league confirmed today, March 30.

The Bombers, who had the second longest tenure in the ECHL with 18 seasons, played their final home game Saturday, March 28, at the Nutter Center, where they have played since the 1996-97 season.

Dayton will wrap up the regular season on the road at Reading on April 4.

The Bombers organization must inform the ECHL Board of Governors of its future plans at the annual meeting on June 24.

“From the board’s point of view it’s a done deal, there won’t be hockey in Dayton next season,” ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna said. “There have been discussions about and rumors of possible owners, but nothing has come to fruition.”

via Bombers won’t play next season; cite declining support.

It hasn’t quite sunk in yet- but I’m already missing the idea of pro-hockey in Dayton. What makes my stomach turn is the comments on the Dayton Daily News site. Negativity to the nTH degree.

One can point fingers all over the place for the failure of the team (for at least the second time in 5 years) but, when it comes down to it- it’s a small business, just like any other small business right now, it’s tough.

The distractions caused by the Mandalay proposal for an AHL team, the talk of a new arena, and the way minor league hockey works (without real support from the NHL like the way the MLB funds minor league Baseball) all make hockey a tough business.

The reality of the matter is that Dayton (the region) just lost one more “cultural” attraction that helps contribute to the “livability” index of the area. This hurts all of us just a little bit, even if you never went to a game- and for that reason- all the naysayers on the DDN board should learn to STFU.

Dayton Bombers- it was nice having you around. You will be missed.

disclaimer: My agency, The Next Wave did project work for the Bombers under the last 2 owners.

Downtown Dayton Arena petition started

Well, as long as we’re not actually discussing if we need an ice arena or not, and we’re just talking about where to build one hypothetically, Bill Pote at Dayton Most Metro has put up a petition:

Unlike the proposed Austin Landing arena, the downtown arena would take full advantage of existing infrastructure, adjacent parking garages, existing downtown hotels and the Dayton Convention Center. Additionally, the downtown arena would help bring more customers to the many existing restaurants and bars within walking distance. Finally, it would compliment the existing entertainment venues in Downtown Dayton – including the Schuster Performing Arts Center, Fifth Third Field, Neon Movie Theater and Oregon District.

Please help us show Montgomery County leaders that this Downtown Dayton Arena makes more sense and that you support this proposal as well as our Dayton Bombers by signing our online petition below. Simply provide your name, email address and zip code – and feel free to leave a comment.

via Downtown Dayton Arena » Downtown Arena Petition.

Since the only money that’s been proposed to fund it is through an increase in the Hotel/Motel tax, it may or may not go through.

Since Mandalay and RG Properties haven’t been forthcoming with their plans, it’s really just an argument for or against sprawl. Which instantly gets my signature in the anti-sprawl, downtown site.

In terms of locations for a new Arena, Dave Hall Plaza makes a lot of sense, with readily available parking, a hotel, and the convention center all right there.  I urge you to jump over and sign the petition and put your 2 cents in.

Tell us how you really feel, Jon Husted.

The Dayton Dragons are one of the most successful minor league sports operations in the country. They are located downtown.

So when “local” State Rep and House Speaker, Jon Husted (R-Kettering?) says the following:

Husted said the interchange is the county’s best chance to see much needed growth in jobs and sales tax revenues.

“We have been trying to make downtown a destination site my whole life that I’ve been here and it gets worse and worse and worse, because people don’t want to go there,” Husted said.

via Proposal for Austin Pike arena runs out of time in 2008.

Either he knows something that no one else knows, or he’s clueless, since he really lives in Columbus and is facing an investigation into his residency.

No one comes to UD Flyer games either Jon-  another prime location for an ice arena. If you think Jon needs to better understand that he works for us- not the developers looking to make a quick buck from your tax dollars- feel free to write: Jon Husted

A new sports and concert arena in Montgomery County?

Conventions, Sports & Leisure International is sending out e-mails to do some research on a new arena:

“Subject: Possible New Sports Arena Off I-75

Dear Ohio Resident,

We would like to share some news regarding the potential development of a new sports arena in Montgomery County.  The arena is envisioned to host minor league sports, concerts, family shows, commencements, other sporting events, including collegiate sports, and a variety of other educational, cultural and entertainment events.  Additionally, the arena is expected to operate as a component of a larger development that could potentially include a mix of unique uses including retail, commercial, hospitality and residential.

As your thoughts and opinions are extremely important to our initial development decisions, we would like to invite your participation in a 10-minute internet survey as part of a strategic study that will help shape our plans for the prospective new arena.

Your time, insight, and advice are deeply appreciated and will help determine the future of sports entertainment venues in Montgomery County.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Lawrence King
CSL International
5741 Legacy Drive, Suite 310
Plano, TX  75024″

Jumping over to their website- they have a bit about themselves:

OUR COMPANY

Founded in 1988, Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CSL) is a leading advisory and planning firm specializing in providing consulting services to the convention, sport, entertainment and visitor industries. CSL was established for the specific purpose of providing a source of focused research and expertise in these industries. Services include new/expanded event facility feasibility studies, organizational reviews/performance enhancement studies, destination master planning, industry benchmarking, negotiation assistance and related services.

Could this be a red herring? Part of the UD Master plan?

A bold move at Miller Lane or by the Dayton Mall? The first steps toward “Sportsplex” or a companion facility to the Dragons in “Ballpark Village?” Anyone want to ponder what’s going on?

Cheeseheads know hockey. You can too.

Next weekend- Oct 12-13, 07, The Lefty Mcfadden College Hockey Invitational comes back to the Nutter Center. College hockey at it’s best- with the 06 champion Wisconsin Badgers coming to town and bringing their fans.

With the Dayton Bombers going to the Kelley Cup Finals last season, and this line up for the Lefty- it’s time for you to discover the joys of good hockey. Besides- this brings sports tourist dollars to the area- just like SportsPlex would:

Hockey tournament to bring $500K to area – Dayton Business Journal:
The 2006 NCAA hockey champions are among the four teams set to carve up the ice at the 2007 Lefty McFadden College Hockey Invitational.

The Ohio State Buckeyes, Wisconsin Badgers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Mercyhurst Lakers will compete at the Nutter Center Oct. 12 and 13, according to event organizers.

Wisconsin was the NCAA “Frozen Four” champion in 2006. Notre Dame was the 2006-07 Central Collegiate Hockey Association champion and spent much of the season atop the Division I college hockey polls.

Incoming fans could generate anywhere from $450,000 and $550,000 in economic impact, based on 3,000 to 4,000 people attending per night, said Kathleen Young, executive director of the Greene County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Organizers said they are seeing a spike in pre-sale discounted two-day passes this year, up 25 percent to 30 percent, with buyers from Ohio’s neighboring states, plus Wisconsin, New York, Tennessee and Canada, said tournament director Bob Brogan.

“Although we have offered a two-day tickets before, we’ve never had this kind of reception,” Brogan said. “Frankly, the way the Wisconsin people responded has been totally astounding.”

The tournament generally draws in 2,500 to 3,500 per night, Brogan said, but this year could draw as many as 5,000 per night.

The Dayton Hockey Foundation sponsors the Lefty McFadden College Hockey Invitational and also manages the Dayton Hockey Hall of Fame. It is a nonprofit organization that performs philanthropic acts in the Dayton area through hockey-related activities.

I hope County Commissioner Dan Foley shows up at the Lefty- and uses this as justification to get our planning for a local Sports Authority into high gear.

And- Welcome to Dayton you Cheeseheads.