Big Lead Sports Bar

1/31/2008

Is PSU Football Anti-NHL?

I don’t know how well circulated this column from the Patriot News debunking the possibility of another outdoor game next year at Beaver Stadium was. But columnist David Jones uses some pretty harsh words in describing NHL fans and the state of hockey in general. Jones states that NHL will never trump football in this part of the state...just ask the Hershey Bears.
First off, Mr. Jones, comparing the Pens and Flyers to a sputtering AHL franchise with no fan base is a slap in the face to every Pennsylvanian that is a hockey fan. But the line that really fired me up was this one:

So 73,000 people showed up at a football stadium to watch an outdoor hockey game from seats which were all roughly one-fourth to one-half mile from the ice. Curious behavior, Captain.

I've heard NASCAR fans set up folding chairs out on the grassy highway islands to watch the tractor-trailers of their favorite racers roll by. Just the trailers, mind you. It's not like the drivers get out and sign autographs or anything. They're not even there. And the cars are, of course, inside the trailers so you can't actually see them. Guess it's the same type of thing.

Nothing against NASCAR but I find this insulting. Mr. Jones has no idea about how special this game would be to the state of Pennsylvania. But here are the main excuses for brushing aside the idea of a game:

Not that he has anything against the idea. Necessarily. But Curley said a lot that wouldn't be obvious to the average Iron-swilling, No. 87-wearing Pens fan must be done to make 107,000-seat Beaver Stadium anywhere close to ready for a hockey game.

Like functioning bathrooms. They turn the water lines off after the football season ends every late November.

"If you're going to put 80,000 people in there," Curley said, "you'd better figure out how to make the restrooms work."

Would it be cold enough if the game was played, say, the first week of December? Or would a double-time-earning maintenance crew have to crank The Beav back to life the first week of February?

But here‘s the real story.

Penn State is a selfish place with selfish administrators. So by now you're thinking, "where am I gathering this anti-NHL hypothesis"? Well, any Pennsylvanian knows that PSU is PSU Football, plain and simple. Yeah, I’m sure they do some nice Agro-horticulture research and compete with the best and brightest academically from around the county, but in all honesty Penn State is in the football business, first and foremost.

Any event that would overshadow anything football on that campus is a big no-no. Graham Spanier doesn’t want an NHL game, Tim Curley doesn’t want one, and the idea of hockey players being the biggest draw and most published event that occurs in Beaver Stadium in a calendar year has to fire up JoePa more than anybody. Believe me, nobody, I mean nobody upstages PSU football. And since JoePa is PSU football you are upstaging Joe himself by hosting an outdoor NHL game.

Not attempting to get in on the cash cow known as “outdoor hockey” is ridiculous. Just ask the city of Buffalo and the surrounding areas how much tourism profit (hotels, bars, restaurants, etc.) they reaped from the Winter Classic. Add up the free national press (any exposure is good for recruiting), TV exposure (ESPN, Fox) and the hefty check from the NHL to hold the event, and you are looking at a fantastic payday for the university. For athletic director that does lame 1-AA money grab sellouts (does Coastal Carolina ring a bell?) to start the season, why not reap the benefits of another sell out?

Lame excuses about how it’s just too much work to fire up Beaver Stadium and wondering where everybody will pee is not enough to convince me that PSU is doing enough to seriously plan a game for next season. I guess the Ivory Tower doesn’t get NHL Center Ice.

If you want to read the article in its entirety, here’s the link.

13 comments:

BlackAndGold said...

Great post - I completely agree that PSU prides itself for its football, and I doubt they would help make this potentially great event happen. I also thought it was awful that he said 80,000 fans when mentioning the bathroom situation. If the Flyers and Penguins met in Beaver Stadium, you better believe that every seat (107,000) would be filled.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

This guy's right though, I mean think about it.

We're just Iron Swilling, 87-wearing drunken morons. We probably don't deserve to set foot on the hallowed grounds of Beaver Stadium. I mean, it's probably because of that time about 200 sloshed Penguin fans chanted obscenities at Columbus Blue Jackets fans and chucked beer cans at them while they were simply walking down the street...

... oh wait, those were Penn State football fans doing that to Ohio State fans this past season. It was on video and everything. Man how did I forget that?

Ok, but he does have a point with the bathrooms. I mean, if you pack 80-100,000 hockey fans in there all of those restrooms have to work. And that's too much to ask of a place like Beaver Stadium because they never have to worry about crowds that large using their restrooms. Good point.

..... oh wait. There are 80-100,000 people at every Penn State home game, and I've never really heard any complaints about the restrooms. Hmmmm....

I guess asking the folks at Penn State to pull off what freakin Buffalo pulled off just 3 weeks ago would be too much to ask. Especially since Penn State's last possible home date is mid-late November, whereas the Bills play right up to the end of December. But hey, even with that lack of time after the end of the season, those apparently amazing folks in Buffalo were able to do just fine.

So, here's what I gather. This guy thinks that any Pittsburghers that would attend the game are too drunk on Iron City to have our feeble brains even begin to comprehend the complexities of putting on a sporting event of this magnitude.

Also, Penn State's people aren't competant enough to make sure that the bathrooms, which worked fine from September to November, still work in January. Got it.

My final conclusion: The guy that wrote this is a douche.

Fred Jones said...

David Jones is a douche-bag. Plain and simple.

Sean said...

A Penn State article and no comment by Adam. What's going on?

Patrick said...

I think we're throwing out the baby with the bath water. Are people getting bent out of shape because they feel this is a shot at the NHL's regional fan base or are they mad becasue they think Penn State has something against hockey?
Look, if you want an outdoor hockey game play it in Philly or Pittsburgh. Penn State is not equiped to deal with this event. The 100k plus that pack Beaver Stadium every weekend in the fall use RVs. State College is a small town at best and really does not have the resources to accomodate 100k day trippers. This sounds ridiculous but if you have ever seen the enourmous RV lots around Beaver Stadium you know what I mean. Hockey fans don't travel like that. Buffalo was a hit because they had it in Buffalo. Keep it simple and play the game in Philly or Pittsburgh. Besides, Penn State would jack the ticket price through the roof and 322 would be a traffic nightmare. Penn State is a nice place but there just isn't much up there as far as hotel and traveling accomidations. It's a college not a city. Keep it simple. Play this game in a place where it will succeed and stop getting bent out of shape over this.

ha-mace said...

Until recently I would have said that there was zero chance that an NHL game would have been played here at Penn State. In fact, I did say there was zero chance (www.collegeotr.com) for the simple fact that there has never been anything but football played at Beaver Stadium. But, since they announced that Fergie will be playing a concert there the day before the Blue-White game in April, I think maybe there is a shot of a Pens-Flyers game at some point.

Who would have thought that Paterno would have allowed a pop singer to disgrace his field, but it's happening. Actually JoePa probably found out with everyone else when it was in the paper.

But, while I agree with the idea that football trumps almost everything else here at PSU, there is one thing more important ... money!

I think Buffalo got about $1 million from the NHL to host this year's game, and certainly Penn State would get a similar offer. Add to that they money the will get from parking, concessions and varous other rip offs, and it would be a huge pay day for the university.

But, Curley was quoted in The Daily Collegian as saying they would rather host the game at a time when the students were around, so a New Years Day game would be out of the question.

It would not only be a huge monetary boost for the university, but for the town of State College as well.

So, my assessment (for what it's worth) is that it will happen, just not until 2010 at the earliest ... but, what do I know.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

There's a 100,000 people in rural Pennsylvania that are going to see Fergie?

Really?

And I'm not really that mad about them having a game at Penn State one way or another. I just thought that article was very condescending towards hockey fans (in particular, Pittburgh hockey fans), and that there were some B.S. copout excuses tossed around.

Nascent said...

My school sucks.

GO PITT!

- Penn State Student

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

great post Rege, I doubt most Pittsburghers would have found this article.

worstavid said...

Why not play the Sabres at Heinz field? Forget the Flyers AND Penn State.

laclips said...

We are ... PENN STATE!

Nascent said...

We are ... becoming a shitty football school!

steve the duquesne fan said...

yeah but they can have a fergie concert comming up in april. the psu official gave u straight bull crap