I've got to hand it to a few of my friends who are UNO hockey fans that are showing excitement for Saturday night's exhibition game against British Columbia. Let's be honest: this game is for diehards only. There likely will be three or four times more Omahans in Madison, Wisc. than will be inside the CenturyLink Center. It's an exhibition game; it doesn't even count. And it's simultaneous with one of the biggest regular season Nebraska football games in quite some time.
And when I say "diehards", I mean that the only people who'll be there are people who could not care less about Nebraska football.... or outright loathe it. Or are forced to be there. So some UNO fans will put on their brave face and show up, but I'll be surprised if there are more than 4000 fans in attendance on Saturday night.
From my perspective, the season really starts the next weekend on Friday night against Mercyhurst in the Stampede. Speaking of the Stampede, with UNO playing in the season opening IceBreaker tournament in Kansas City, will this be the final edition of UNO's tournament? One can only hope. The Stampede started with a noble goal, but with excessive ticket prices and lackluster attendance, it's simply not worth it for UNO.
One final hockey note: it's an ominous sign that senior Alex Hudson was suspended for a training-camp violation. It's not the fact that he'll miss the exhibition game; that's no big deal. It's the idea that one of UNO's most talented players, a senior, and a captain, would put himself in that position. That's starting the season out on the wrong foot.
The World-Herald's Rob White and the management of Omaha's former AAA baseball team likely needed a chiropractor this week after straining to pat themselves on the back for their 1% attendance increase out at the Trailer Park. So 2010 was not a "normal" year? OK...then what makes 2011 a "normal" year? New stadium, new merry-go-round, etc. And the institutional amnesia of the history of the franchise ("never before turning people away") makes the story even more ridiculous. Bottom line on the Trailer Park: it doesn't matter the attendance. They charge more for tickets, charge for most parking, and keep all of the concession revenue. So as long as attendance doesn't drop much, the new stadium is a financial windfall for the owners of the franchise.
And of course, taxpayers will be holding the bag...once the county board finally admits how they are going to pay for it.