Southern Oregon Spartans Armor Starting To Rust

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Southern Oregon Spartans Armor Starting To Rust? October 30, 2012 7:50 AM

Being swept by the Idaho Junior Steelheads this weekend, must have the Southern Oregon Spartans rethinking their move to the WSHL this season.

The Champions of the NorPAC, decided to make the move to the Western States Hockey League this year. One of the worst kept secrects in Tier III hockey was the Spartans dis-satisfaction with the declining team membership numbers in the NorPAC.

For those that dont know, the Spartans are a money making machine. A pay to play team that regularly has well over 1000 people per night at its home games. The variety in competion available in the WSHL made it a more marketable league. Variety in competition keep fans entertained and buying more tickets on back to back nights.

What the Spartans did not expect was to be below the .500 mark heading into November. With a record of 6-7-0 the Spartans are in unfamiliar territory in more than just the wins and loss columns.

In the twenty two team WSHL the Spartans are near the bottom of the league in goals against average at number 17. They are in second place in one statistical category though and that is penalty minutes. The Spartans have 611 minutes in penaltys behind only the expansion Bay Area Seals that have 614, but they have also played two fewer games than the Spartans.

Players are also noticing changes in the Spartans. Some players reportedly left the team after arriving in camp to find roughly four dozen players contracted or tendered. When players began talking to one another, some quickly realized that there were more players committed to the team than there were roster spots available.

Players who made the team are now refusing to report to other teams after being traded. One player TJHN spoke to has decided to quit the game after his experience with the Spartans saying "it wasnt fun any more, I feel mislead.".

Most in the hockey community felt that the Spartans move to the WSHL was not well thought out. The general concensus was that the over all talent depth of the WSHL had become better in recent years when compared to the NorPAC. Winning the NorPAC and then being easily handled at USA Hockey’s Tier III Nationals should have been a sign to Spartans ownership that they were not as strong as they thought they were.

Will the Spartans right the ship? Will the players continue to buy into the team because of great fan support? Or, has theOregon rain allowed the Spartan armor to take on the rust of a program that needs refurbishing?

By Kevin Kelly Guest Writer

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