Moving Day For Traverse City North Stars And Soo Eagles

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Moving Day For Traverse City North Stars and Soo Eagles

Unlike the Baltimore Colts move in the middle of the night in March of 1984, the moving trucks and vans were replaced by a bus.

The Soo Eagles traveled to Traverse City on Monday to pack up and move their new equipment assets. Office equipment, chairs, player equipment and jerseys all found their way underneath or within the Soo Eagles bus, and began traveling to their new home, Pullar Stadium.

TJHN drove down to Centre Ice Arena and took in the atmosphere surrounding the change. After seven years, the North Stars are now history, and that winning history now joins another winning history in the Soo Eagles Organization.

Somber is how one could only describe the few North Stars fans and staff who were present for the event. General Manager Anthony Polumbo made it clear when talking to the local press that it was attendance in recent years that forced the North Stars to sell. Polumbo commented on how well High School Football and Basketball are attended in the Traverse City area and implied that the region simply cant compete for attendance with hockey.

Northern Michigan is a unique area, the Upper Penninsula and Northern Lower Penninsula are dramatically different in their cultures and sporting culture than the Southern Michigan Cities. What works in Detroit, Saginaw or Kalamazoo when marketing hockey or junior hockey, will not and has not worked in Northern Michigan.

Local Ownership. If you dont have it, find it.

Local Players. If you dont have them, forget it.

Rivals that are easy to travel to and from. If you dont have them dont waste your time and money.

These are just the three most basic items fans in the Northern Michigan area look for. Why? Because there are so many hockey options in Michigan, competition is fierce for ticket and sponsorship sales.

In small, regionalized, mostly rural communities, fans come out to support their home town people. Go to a Traverse City West, Traverse City Central, or Bay Area Reps High School Hockey game and you would have seen where the fans chose to spend their hockey entertainment dollars. The Junior Hockey experiements in Northern Michigan Cities have seen Gaylord, Marquette, Alpena, and now Traverse City come and go.

The problem has never been the level of play, even when loosing seasons we underway, fans always thought the hockey was good. But when given a choice to watch Little Johnny from three doors down whose family we have know for years, or little Johnny from New Mexico, the choice was always made clear.

The Soo Eagles now inherit not only the physical remains of the North Stars, but they get their players and the team history. For the last few seasons, the North Stars were very good on the ice, and so were the Eagles. Talent is not in short supply for the relocated franchise next season, and making the Eagles sqaud will not be easy for any player.

Change is almost always painful, even when its a positive or needed change. Traverse City will recover, and players will find where they fit in through the natural course of development. The NAHL finds a new partner with Championship experience, and the world of hockey will move on. So in these days of change, lets remember the people most effected by change, the players and the fans. Although the change may be good for the Soo, one needs to remember the pain being felt in Traverse City.

The Kalkaska Roughnecks of the GLJHL are now the junior hockey option for many Northern Michigan residents. Heading into their second season, the Roughnecks, only twenty minutes from Traverse City, could now become a power house on the ice and at the gate.

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