The New Mayor of Hockeytown

It shouldn’t have been that easy.

As I alluded to on Deadspin last week, I’m up here in Michigan for two long weeks of business training.  Detroit?  What a great time to be in Detroit.  Two teams are highly-seeded playoff squads, the Tigers recently remembered that they play baseball for a living, and it’s time for Matt Millen’s Annual Draftastic Nightmare.  You have to be proud, Michigan.

As I sat in my hotel room, waiting for the final seconds of the Calgary-San Jose Game 7 last Tuesday night, I got a crazy idea.  One thing was for sure – the Red Wings would be hosting Games 1 and 2 of their 2nd round series.  And once the merciless clock runs out on the Flames (and the decomposing CuJo), those games’ details would be released by the league.  Since I had nothing going on for the weekend, how hard would it be to get a seat in Joe Louis Arena?

Now I know.  This is Hockeytown.   Playoff tix are probably bequeathed down from generation to generation.  There’s probably a sacred code that involves drinking the blood of Vladimir Konstantinov.  What chance does a sarcastic blogger sporting complete indifference for Mike Babcock’s team have in finding some space in the upper reaches of the Joe?  I better plan on laying a couple G’s.

Or not.

5 minutes on Ticketmaster, and I had my seat.  Hell, I only had to drop $150.  I’d gladly spend that cash to avoid getting sucked in to watching the damn draft all day.  (Call it a Berman Avoidance Tax.)  So what rafter will I be hanging from in order to watch Zetterberg and Friends through binoculars?  Let’s see…checking ticket…no, that can’t be right.

Front row, bitches.

Where does Detroit get off calling themselves Hockeytown when an out-of-town blogger can get a seat on the glass by simply entering his credit card number on Ticketmaster?  Against Colorado, no less!  And $150?  That’s nothing for the playoffs.  I should have been forced to pay twice that, fight Darren McCarty in the concourse, and eat my weight in Little Caesar’s.  Instead, I’m close enough to yell at Adam Foote on the Power Play.

(You know, if the Avs could have stayed out of the box long enough.)

Thanks to Weed for getting me a MYFO t-shirt in time for the game.  And thanks to Deadspin reader Ken, who recognized our logo when I was walking up the stairs to get a beer.  Detroit won 5-1, for two reasons.  One: Johan Franzen has turned into a playoff beast.  Two: the fear I instilled in Joe Fucking Sakic, who was mere feet from my face and a complete non-factor in Game 2.

Final note: Yes, those are my hands folded (in prayer?) and my head just over Datsyuk’s shoulder.  I’d have stood up, but I’d rather not lose my job at the Washington Post.  (Pic courtesy of Eric Seals at the DFP.



  1. Detroit hasn’t qualified to be called “Hockey Town” in years. Aside from the Canuckistanian franchises, I think the new Hockey Towns are Buffalo, Pittsburgh, etc.

  2. Wait? Did Ken buy you a beer???

    And did you eat fried octopussy?

  3. Minnesota too.

  4. Are you wearing a balaclava?

  5. RasK: Sadly, that’s my hair.

    Frank: No, but then again, he didn’t know why I was ascending the stairs.

  6. Did you make any Sakic looking like Harry Connick Jr jokes?

    “I loved you on Will and Grace!”

  7. We still love our hockey, but the economy is noticeably worse here than I think people give us credit for. The downturn is directly correlated to everyone losing their jobs.

  8. In Tampa, people don’t go to Rays games, and we’re bad fans who only support winners and the team should be contracted.

    Detroit ticket sales suck for a second round playoff game, and it’s “economic downturn”.

    Well, back up the whaaaaaaambulance.

  9. We’re not the richest bunch in the country, but Buffalo still manages to sell out the arena (albeit they only started selling out after the lockout).

    In fact, Buffalo and Detroit are the 4th and 5th poorest cities in the country. “Economic downturn” really isn’t a plausible reason for the lack of ticket sales, imo. :X

  10. Even if the economy is not the only reason, it’s definitely a factor (I’ve heard plenty of anecdotal evidence from friends in Detroit)…and it doesn’t mean that people love the team any less.

    I went to one Caps playoff game this year. I realized that I just couldn’t afford to drop $50 a game on 4 games. I still got to watch all the games, and was perfectly happy to do so at Bugsy’s since I got to have the live “playoff experience” at least one time. We sold out for the playoffs, but where were all those people in early November when we were the worst team in the league? I guess I just don’t think that ability to fill seats really tells the whole story about which teams have support and which don’t.

  11. We’ve had problems with selling out since losing to Edmonton in 2006. Last year against the Flames, there were large patches of the upper bowl empty.

    Also, Detroit has a tendency to have a lot of oddly empty seats near the ice (a lot of seats during the regular season, many of the same in the playoffs…).

    Go figure, too. We wanted Colorado for the rivalry.

  12. We never have problems selling out. Detroit’s fans are as committed to their franchise as ever. We are a united city, and our fans have made it clear that they are seeing our successes as a franchise, and are willing to support it.

    This economic downturn is nothing but an anomaly, something the “fat cats” and the “financinistas” have pushed onto the people of the great City of Detroit and the outer-lying suburban and metropolitan area. Those people say Detroit is a poor town, it has too many “bad” areas, it is run down, there isn’t any money flowing, and the people aren’t motivated to work. To that I say, look at our franchise. We employ 53 people, and look at how hard they work. Ford Field is really nice. People still show up…how did they get there? They drove, that’s right. They PAID to get in. There’s your money flow right there.

    These “fact police” say that Detroit’s municipal government is sucking the money out of the city, and nothing is getting done. How could that happen? My box in Ford Field always has a stocked bar. Just because Mayor Kilpatrick bought himself a “pimped out” Lincoln Navigator with public funds, and had an affair with a fellow city worker, then lied about it doesn’t mean he’s not getting things done. We had Super Bowl XL. Somebody got that, right?

    And again, I say my franchise supports the city. We play our games in Detroit. Our players drive in from Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak, Troy, Grosse Pointe, Rochester, and Allen Park to come and play. Just because our practice facility isn’t in the city doesn’t mean we don’t want to be in Detroit. We’re named the Detroit Lions. Apparently we play football. But this is about hockey. If I were Ken Holland, I’d sign Roman Cechmanek to be the goalie for next year. Him or Jim Carey. Also, if I were Ken Holland, I’d have job security for life.

  13. Does anyone else smell burnt toast?

  14. 1). The Wings have priced themselves out of the market for a lot of the diehard fans, particularly during the playoffs.
    2). Detroit sports fans now have to contend with a Pistons team in the playoffs, a resurgent Tigers team, and the Red Wings. When the Red Wings were “Hockeytown”, they were the only consistently good team in Detroit. A Detroit sports fans entertainment dollar is stretched farther.
    3). The JLA is, how do I say this politely, kind of a dump. And when they charge $15 for parking at the garage on top of your ticket price, it’s harder to keep going down there. Even on freebies, it’s not a cheap trip
    4). The passion is still there, but it’s not the same as it was say a decade ago, when the Wings had been so close for so long and were finally tasting the sweet success of a winner. When things go poorly (the Oilers flameout as previously mentioned, etc.), it puts a dent in the “passion” of the casual fanbase.
    5). Hockeytown has always been a marketing slogan. People can disagree with it.

  15. Look – the economy is bad but I don’t buy that they’ve priced themselves out of the market. I moved from Detroit to California and it is a HECK of a lot cheaper for me to buy roundtrip tickets for two, hotel, car, and hockey tickets than it is for me to get tickets from the “aftermarket” to see the San Jose Sharks.

    I really believe they have a hard time with ticket sales because anyone with any cash left and a skill beyond cars has jumped out of that city. There are so many Detroit fans all over the country because we were all smart enough to get the heck out of Detroit!!

    And you know, its hard to say there is any issue with the fan base when the commish has done everything in his power to destroy the sport – I am amazed there are any hockey fans even left.

    Again – just my two cents.

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