Friday, February 22, 2008


The best analogy for the Kingston Frontenacs opening the K-Rock Pot tonight? It's like when a company has a serious morale problem, so they move to new offices.

They might have new chairs and desks and a better paint job, but the negative vibes and all the dysfunction are still there. The new arena should be awesome. Let's be honest, though. Who is expecting radical change as long as owner Doug Springer and GM-for-life Larry Mavety have the run of the place? (To quote Marc at Junior Hockey Blog: "Psst, sometimes you need more than a new barn for a fresh start.")

Little Dougie almost got his cliché right in the local broadsheet, noting, "the way to succeed here is to field a good hockey team." (Last anyone checked, you ice a good hockey team, since hockey is played on ice, not a field.)

Make no mistake, Springer probably figures the Frontenacs' attendances woes are solely about the building. The dwindling crowds at the Memorial Centre over the past 10 years have only had to do with the old arena and nothing to do with the ownership and management -- even though the Frontenacs had a talented team that scored a lot of goals in 2005-06 and 2006-07 and still could get barely 2,100 fans a night. This is the kind of accountability that's practised by the higher-ups with the Fronts and judging by the standings, it's monkey-see, monkey-do with the players.

It's not as if Springer, Mavety and their minions are doing anything against the rules. The league can intervene, as the WHL has with the Portland Winter Hawks, when there's issues with the team paying its bills and properly caring for injured players. Incompotence, egotism and avarice are grey areas.

The Frontenacs will have sellout crowds of 5,700 for each of their first two games, but how many of those people are there to see the baby, the new building? (Believe you me, if you have Kingston in your blood, you're just amazed the thing actually got completed.)

Time will tell how us Kingston guys will look back at Feb. 22, 2008, as the start of a new ice age in the Limestone City, when the Frontenacs became a winning operation. That's the heart and hometown loyalty talking. The brain is saying it's more likely we'll have the same ol', same ol' that's become all too familiar during the dismal decade of Doug Springer's cheapskate ownership.

(Last, but not least, The Whig also had a poll asking readers to pick their all-time favourite Kingston coach. Larry Mavety finished a solid sixth -- out of six. Couldn't Springer have rallied a few more of his businessperson buddies to vote for Mav?)

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