From the East Coast to the West Coast and points in between, Tier III teams are on the verge of folding. On Saturday September 7th, we wrote about Tier III Player Shortage – A National Epedemic.
The Epedemic may have been under stated.
Since September 7th, TJHN has been contacted by no less than twenty teams accross the country that are still looking for players to fill a roster. While some are only looking for two or three players, the majoriry are looking for eight or more players!
These teams range from those that have been competing on the ice for a number of years to those that are in their first year.
Based on the phone calls we have received, there are more than one hundred and twenty players needed to fill just the rosters we are aware of! That is no small number.
Some Tier III operators are looking to blame Tier II teams for holding on to too many players. Well, thats simply not the case. Most NAHL teams are already down to twenty five man rosters, some are lower than twenty five. Nearly every Tier II team in Canada has made their final cuts. There are a few leagues still in camp that may be carrying extra players, but not enough to make a significant impact and most of those players are Canadian so it would only effect limited import numbers.
Tier III teams will be folding. Nearly every area in the country will experience this.
The question is “why”?
Has there been too much expansion? Definitely. Are bad operators chasing players away from the game? Definitely.
There are many other answers to “why”, but the most common answer is that teams did not spend money working and recruiting in the summer months.
In many instances Tier III expansion has taken place with inexperienced and/or under funded operators. If they dont have the experience or the money, how are they expected to know how to recruit or be able to travel the country to recruit?
Some leagues are simply going after the expansion franchise money, and need to become more responsible when expanding.
Some teams will fold this year or next because they simply need to go away. Bad operators who do not provide a valuable customer experience are also some of the teams looking for players. When you get a reputation for not providing a good product and value, you will struggle for players every year and eventually fold.
Some teams will fold because they are in over saturated markets.
This is the fault of the owners and leagues looking at these markets. If you want to own a Tier III team close to home, you better know the demographics. If there are other established teams in the market you need to pull your head out of the sand and know you are not going to have an easy time competing on multiple levels. Real owners will operate teams even when they are not close to home, an owners location should never influence a teams location.
Tier III teams are folding. The market correction is comming. Stay tuned for those announcements.