Hockey Franchise Notes: No Signs Sens' Attendance Drop Will Stop
THE ATHLETIC's Chris Stevenson wrote there is "no question a portion of the shocking decline in attendance" the Senators have experienced lately is "attributable to fans unhappy with current ownership." Subsequent events, including the trading of D Erik Karlsson, RW Mark Stone and C Matt Duchene, also have "contributed to the decline." Stevenson: "Is there anything that can be done to reverse the attendance trend?" Throw in the "potential departure of the last remaining popular veterans," D Mark Borowiecki and C Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and there "might still be a couple of public relations potholes to navigate." Stevenson: "Things might get worse on the attendance front before they get better" (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/31).
STAYING PUT: AHL President & CEO David Andrews said that the Golden Knights have "interest in buying a team." In Chicago, Brian Sandalow noted there have been reports that the Golden Knights are "hoping to bring one to the desert as soon as next season." However, Chicago Wolves Chair Don Levin, whose team currently is affiliated with the Golden Knights, said there is "no scenario at all" where they continue that connection next season. He added, "Vegas has asked every independent team if they wanted to sell. I don't know if they've found anybody or not, but it's certainly not me." Sandalow noted the Wolves and the Golden Knights have a five-year pact through '21-22, but it "appears it will end after three seasons" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/2).
GETTING WARMER: NHL Seattle VP/Communications Katie Townsend said that the organization is "happy with the number of ticket deposits they've received already" for their Palm Springs-based AHL affiliate, and that it has been "interesting to see that they are coming from both snowbirds and full-time residents." NHL Seattle GM Ron Francis, who visited Palm Springs yesterday, said that "drumming up interest in the team and the sport in the desert will be similar to what he did as a player" when he joined the Hurricanes in '98, a year after their inception (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 2/4).