The Slow Death of Hockey in Flint

About an hour north of Hockeytown Flint, Michigan sits as a slowly dying hockey area.

Born in Flint and raised in a small town, and by small I mean one stop light at the time small town, outside of Flint I can remember as a kid the excitement of going to what was then the Flint IMA to see the … again THEN Flint Generals.

The lights outside the area, the noisy busy Lobby area, the crowded concourse and fans cheering. That is how I remember hockey in Flint. I remember going with my mom and dad and running into people they went to high school with and co workers. The community loved it’s hockey.

Darren McCarty’s return to the NHL came via the Flint Generals and as he made his last run so did the team.

Once the IHL closed up and left Flint with a vacant arena; however, hockey didn’t abandon Flint – it abandoned hockey.

The NAHL came to town.

In fact they actually ousted the Generals in a lease agreement summer. Wouldn’t that have been something after the CBA expired to see NHL teams come back with no arenas? It happened in Flint. The city decided it wanted to go a new direction and opted for the younger players hoping that it would catch on.

OHL caught on in Saginaw why wouldn’t NAHL catch on in Flint?

To paraphrase Roberto Luongo: “Because it sucks.”

Not the NAHL; but the team, well more to the point the management of the Michigan Warriors.

This new team has failed to gain any hold with the community and in fact has given it a cold shoulder by pulling gimmicks like bringing in The Situation for autograph sessions during intermissions.

The team now run by the arena is in as sad a state as the arena itself.

I took a walk around the lobby area of the now Perani Arena and it is depressing.

Banners from the Warriors first season still hang high; because that was their highlight. One spectacular season – now they are at the bottom of their division. No pictures of the current team, nothing in the lobby. Looking at pamphlets on the box office window for learn to skate classes for a different local link are even dated for 2011. I wish I had taken pictures with my phone with how barren it was.

I realize their season is over. You can use that as an excuse and claim they took it down but I doubt it as the outdated stuff was still up.

There are pictures in the lobby sure… for peewee teams from 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Where is the pride?

The same people that run this arena are now running this team and they can’t figure out why their attendance is so low?

I took my kids to a game this year. Every one got in free. Even that didn’t sell out. Tickets are $5-$7 it’s not that they cost a lot it is the fact that people go to games to have fun, have a good time, not feel depressed.

To those that grew up in the Flint area of my generation and those of older generations don’t want to go to the arena that is being run by people that don’t care; by people that don’t care about the team. When you don’t care it shows.

I know people that have gone and preformed anthems for the Michigan Warriors and I was floored when I found out that they had to pay for a ticket to stay and watch.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

I use to be a performer.

We are pretty use to having to pay for parking to perform at events, that isn’t really a big deal; however, telling the performers if they wish to stay for the game they need to purchase a ticket is completely mind boggling.

You do realize performers like to socialize and have a good time right? You know they talk with other performers’ right? You would have made your money up from the free tickets in the concessions sales that night but I know that many refused to order any concessions because of having to buy a ticket to an event they were asked to perform for. It’s not like the Warriors paid them for their time either.

Disgusting.

It might cost more in gas and in tickets but I will be taking my kids to either Saginaw and watch the Spirit or to Plymouth to watch the Whalers for now on.

Why would we give you our money? The people getting hurt in this are the players who are just trying to develop and get into the USHL, the OHL or play for college, and hope to get drafted one day.

GM died in Flint and you can see it is decaying corpse all over the city – the stench is all over hockey and the way things are going they wont be alive in Flint much longer.