Micmacs need more fans in order to survive

Posted: Friday, December 19, 2003

The Peninsula Micmacs need you.

The Micmacs, a collection of the top adult hockey players from around the central peninsula, have compiled an undefeated record so far this year in play against other amateur teams from around Southcentral. But according to Head Coach Rick Richardson, the team may not be able to finish out the season unless more fans start to show up at the Soldotna Sports Center.

"If we don't start getting some turnout, the team's going to go down," Richardson said Thursday.

Richardson said the team has been able to support itself through its first six games, but the recent purchase of new jerseys, combined with poor turnout at games last month, has left the squad's financial situation in jeopardy.

Though many of the Micmacs are former professional hockey players, the team plays just for fun, and team costs are relatively low. But paying for such things as visiting teams' hotel bills can hurt the bottom line if fans don't support the team.

"We just need people to come," Richardson said.

He said ticket prices are cheap -- just $5 -- for the quality of hockey fans see on the ice. He said the team isn't about making money. Instead, it's a chance for local players to get some ice time and for local fans to watch a few of their favorite players.

"What the ultimate goal of this team is, is to promote hockey," Richardson said.

Though turnout at games has been less than spectacular, some of the play of the team this year has been outstanding. In last month's series against the Mat-Su Thunder, the Micmacs got outstanding performances from the likes of SoHi's Ian Tracy and Kenai's Eric Downs -- names peninsula high school fans might remember well from the mid-1990s, when both starred for their respective teams.

Tracy, in particular, has been showing he's still got plenty of jump left in his skates. Although usually one of the shorter players on the ice, Tracy has consistently been the Micmacs' go-to guy. He proved his worth against Mat-Su, netting six goals over the two game series.

"I figure Ian will probably help us out again," Richardson said.

Richardson's son, Jess, also has been a key factor in the Micmacs' high-powered attack, assisting on several key goals this year.

"Jess seems to be getting a lot of assists," Richardson said.

Those players might not have much longer to show their stuff if attendance doesn't pick up. If the fans come, however, Richardson said he'd like to see the Micmacs finish the season strong and perhaps even go to Anchorage to prove they really are among the top hockey teams around.

"One of our other goals is for us to go to the Gold Cup in Anchorage," Richardson said, referring to the annual hockey tournament which draws the best teams from around the state.

"There's no reason why we can't play at that level," Richardson said.

Playing at such a high level, Richardson joked, may actually be hurting attendance.

"Maybe (the fans) just think we'll go out and win all the time," he said.

The bottom line, Richardson said, is that the only thing the Micmacs need to have continued success is fan support.

"We can't keep playing if we can't pay the bills," he said.

Fans wishing to get out and support the Micmacs will get another chance tonight, when the team faces Mi/SWACO of Anchorage. The puck drops at 7:30, and tickets are available for $5 at the gate.

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