There are a few certain signs of death for a junior hockey team. Unpaid bills, unable to put a full roster together, and a general sense of incompetence are just a few of those.
The Minnesota Iron Rangers have all those little signs. When you add in the fundraising by rummage sale, pancake breakfast’s and other items that really don’t raise much cash, you have a team that is advertising its own death.
The SIJHL’s Iron Rangers are a disaster. Worse yet is that the “league” has not only allowed this disaster to happen, they have facilitated it happening.
Multiple offers have been presented to the SIJHL by multiple groups that would have saved the franchise, and relocated it to a more suitable community.
The SIJHL Commissioners office though is “committed” to having a team in Hoyt Lakes Minnesota. A city with about 2000 people in it! Yes, this is what the Commissioners office is committed to. A city that has demonstrated year after year that it can not support a junior hockey team in any way.
A city that in no way has the demographic profile that would give any real hockey professional any grounds to support having a team in that community. This is what the Commissioner is committed to.
This is the same commissioner who turned down multiple offers to save the team last season after if became public information that the bills weren’t being paid.
Its easy for a commissioner to take this position though. Because the commissioner has zero dollars at risk. The teams, and the owners of those teams in the league have everything at risk though.
Supporting this disastrous franchise damages every other teams franchise value and makes recruiting for every other franchise that much harder.
The SIJHL has complained that they don’t understand why higher caliber players don’t consider the league an option. They have complained about recruiting problems. They have complained that they don’t understand why scouts don’t come and watch more games.
The answer is that when you continually make absolutely stupid an nonsensical decisions like supporting a team that is clearly not viable, no one will have confidence in anything else you say or do. So, as we prepare the grave for the Iron Rangers, maybe the leagues owners will decide its time to pull their heads out of their asses and take a breath of fresh air.