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If a tree falls in the Hershey Centre, but nobody is around to hear it...

Who says it’s too early for CHL rankings? Probably a lot of people, but seeing the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the number 10 position is quite appealing. Pretty arguable considering the season just started, but most people would agree that going 2-0 is better than 0-2.

One more game on the road against Niagara and then the home opener…

Sure, all this is a big deal to me, but we all know the rest of Mississauga doesn’t seem to have the same opinion. If its residents did, they’d be filing into the Hershey Centre every game.

This has always been a sensitive subject for me since I’ve been a major junior hockey fan for years. Even the Mississauga IceDogs didn’t fill the seats the way the team deserved, but it was a better turnout than the Majors have been getting. When the IceDogs left in 2007, it took me a couple of years to get used to the Majors; after all, the two teams were (and still are) rivals. Perhaps other fans felt the same way.

There are so many different factors that contribute to the lack of attendance, but a lot of it is just hearsay.

To quote ITO’s Trevor Miller, “too many Tim Horton’s?” Still not sure what you meant by that, but anything seems possible.

Mississauga is a highly populated city. One would think it’s easy to get enough people out to a game, but it doesn’t seem to fit the demographics. In smaller cities, hockey is hometown, it’s part of the community. With so much attention on Leafs Nation, it’s arguably impossible to get people out to a major junior game here. In Toronto, you have a losing team with unbelievably high attendance records. Yet its neighbouring city can’t get enough fans out to its winning team’s games, even at a significantly lower price point. Someone figure that out and get back to me once you have the answer.

Then there’s the status topic. Of course as teams win, the arena fills up. That’s the case in any sport and Brampton is an example of that during its run in 2009.

The IceDogs had a great team and a superstar in Patrick O’Sullivan for years. He was talented and exciting to watch, and a strong leader for that group. Many talented players, but right now and even in recent years, the Majors lack that “it” player; “the face of the Majors” or whatever you want to call it.

Back on a bitter cold evening in January, 2008, I dug my car out of the snow and drove to the Hershey Centre just to catch a glimpse of John Tavares, and apparently so did thousands of other people. This was probably my first game back at the Hershey Centre since the IceDogs moved. The place was sold out. In that kind of weather under those circumstances, I’m sure a lot of people had the same idea in mind as me; to see a future legend.

In their 2010-11 home opener against the Spitfires, the Majors had about 4200 tickets sold in an arena that holds 5400 seated. I was there and noticed a lot of Windsor fans, but plenty of blue nonetheless. During regular season, they averaged around 2500 per game. As playoffs approached, that number increased by 1000+ more. Finally saw a sold out Hershey Centre during the latter rounds of the playoffs, but Niagara and Owen Sound fans are to thank for that. The numbers put up during the regular season is enough to sell out The Jack in St. Catharines. Before I get hate mail from Niagara fans (if I’m even worthy of hate mail) I’m well aware that little deserves to be compared to IceDogs fans because it’s safe to say the arena could easily sell more if it had the space.

On November 10 last season, the Majors hosted a special Remembrance Day game, as they do every year. It’s a great event; kids take the day off school and fill the arena. Last year that number was just under 5000. Not to mention that game represents a lot more than just hockey. So why the huge difference? This game is highly advertised, so that could be a contributing factor. But to me, it seems like people need a reason to go, as long as that reason is, “I get to miss school” and not, “because I love hockey and want to be here.”

I have to give credit to the fans that are there. They show up in their double blue, cheering on their home team at Hershey then making the journey to places like Guelph, Kitchener, and St. Catharines. I know this because I've seen them there. Season ticket holder, Dancing Dave, I look forward to seeing you this year.

For all you people who continue to make jokes about it…give it a rest already. The jokes are tiresome and overdone. The numbers aren’t as bad as you think. You’re entitled to an opinion, but keep in mind, people can be sheep; if you make fun of the situation, they’ll follow suit.

I’ll be at the games, so if anyone wants to join me, I’ll see you there.

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