22 September 2009
But there's a way to put these meaningless (for the fans, preseason games are incredibly useful for coaches) preseason games to use. Clubs could use these to expand their fan base and make the sport of hockey, as well as their brand, grow, and one of the best ways to do that is through a club's minor league affiliate.
The Avs should be looking to grow their fanbase through their Minor league affiliates, Lake Erie and Charlotte. This means they should be playing at least one (and 2 would probably be ideal) games in each town. I'm sure Cleveland fans who got to see Chris Stewart, David Jones, TJ Galiardi, TJ Hensick, Matt Hendricks, Cody McLeod, and all the other Avs that have passed through their system. In fact an Avs vs Monsters game (similar to the Burgundy vs White) followed by an Avs vs Blue Jackets game would be a great way to try and extend the Avs fanbase. The Avs could then head out to Charlotte North Carolina and play the Rangers, since they share the ECHL affiliate there (the Checkers).
These games would be no more taxing than road games, and the Avs could even substitute some of their road games with these games. The Avs currently play 6 preseason games (3 in Denver, 2 away, one in Vegas), this doesn't include the Burgundy/White game. The Avs could emulate Tampa and do a barnstorming tour, playing only the Burgundy/White game and maybe 1 preseason game in Denver, before heading to Lake Erie and Charlotte for a couple games.