For a few years now, hockey games at Joe Louis Arena have not felt the same, probably for a number of reasons, but all the reasons that I have heard from Red Wings fans are not really legit ones. Playoff games all the sudden feel like regular season games, and I also see many empty seats in the lower bowl, despite announced sellouts of 20,033 people. The fans are dead quiet most of the games, and really only get loud if they score a goal or land a big hit, but that noise only lasts all of 2 minutes, than it becomes so quiet we can hear the players communicating on the ice. It’s depressing for this once so proud and boisterous fanbase.
Through the last couple of years, I’ve heard excuses of the economy as the reason for empty seats, but like I said, they have announce sellouts and we still see empty seats. I’ve heard the fan excitement level has gone down because the team has the “Cup or bust” type of mentality, and the team has not shown it is capable of becoming a legit Cup contender because of early playoff exits. This is the same team that has won 2 President’s trophies in the last 3 years mind you, and has shown the fans they are more than a capable team, plus they are fun to watch with many growing stars. The list goes on, from Yzerman and Shanny no longer on the team, to the emergence of the Detroit Tigers (baseball is played mostly during the summer by the way), and on and on and on.
Well, I think the real reason is the fans are just spoiled, it’s that simple, and for such a blue collared fanbase, that should not be case. You know the saying, too much of a good thing is bad. The New Jersey Devils fans are the same exact way (don’t blame it on a boring style of hockey), and soon enough, the Wings fans may even start to stoop as low as they have over the years, by being in the bottom half of the league attendance despite icing a very competitive team every year (meh, they’ll win tonight, I’ll just stay home). We have already seen the Wings attendance numbers drop yearly since the lockout, and it got so bad to the point that most of there playoff games last year came short of selling out.
Now, I’m not saying the fanbase is dwindling and they don’t care anymore, I just feel they are sick of being real good but not the best, like recent years past.
All I have to say about this is, wake the heck up Red Wings fans and stop being spoiled, cause I know many fanbases that would die to even sniff the 2nd round of the playoffs or even the playoffs for that matter (Leafs, Islanders, Panthers, Jackets). As stable as your organization has been over the years and is now, you can’t believe it will last forever, cause sooner or later, it will bottom out somewhere along the lines, and you will be regretting what you once should have been more excited about. You have one of the most storied franchises in all of sports, and this alone is something you should not take mildly, but something very seriously with lots of passion.
And don’t get me wrong, I know many Wings fans that have not lost a step in the passionate department, but it is clear that a lot have.
Get out of your seats and scream if you see a 3 on 2 rush your way, yell at the refs for a missed call or a bad call, chant more and wave those towels or pom poms like you really care. Make me and others excited again to watch games at the great Joe Louis Arena, not when you’re on the road playing playoff games at non traditional hockey markets like Nashville.