Meant to cover some of the building news from the town hall meeting. The quality of the ice is still a key concern, and quality (or lack of it) are not for lack of trying. There seemed to be implicit (but not explicit) comment that the building would be colder next year. At one point jokes were made about “wilson brother’s sweatshirt night”, that sort of thing. The group was humourously polled how cold the building had to get before people would complain. They basically stopped about 40 degrees when they realized nobody was saying “too cold” yet (I found that interesting as far as the audience went, and I think it was noted by the panel)
One area that also was affected by the netting was the Jumbotron, and Jamison said they were investigating (but didn’t guarantee) upgrading it with new video boards with roughly double the density, which would make for a much improved picture.
Near and dear to my heart (and ears) was hearing (finally) that work on the arena audio system is happening. They acknowledged strong and dead areas, and some work is evidently going to happen to reposition some speakers and try to improve this. It was also noted after a couple of “TOO LOUD” comments from the crowd that they did tune it down about 20% last season, but I got the feeling this was an area that was going to be watched. it was noted that Jason Minsky is no longer with the team, and Steve Maroni is now in charge as Director of Event Presentation (and the sharks have even updated their web site! wow! yippee! Oh, sorry…)
Using de-ionized water was one thing being investigated for the ice. So were installing dehumidifiers, since they seem to think it’s the humidity that’s the worst problem. it was also noted that the Sharks don’t skate much at the arena other than games, and I got the implication that Ron Wilson was interested in changing that, but it was never really said. Building availability will be an issue there, as well as the practice facility, but one way you harden ice is to skate on it and compress it….
(FWIW, it’s a very quiet summer at the Tanq, not a lot of light dates this summer right now… that might cause them to try for more falls/winter dates, to try to keep revenue up. they were also hoping for one more arena football game….)
Parking: season ticket holders will pay the same as last year if you bought the package. day of game parking they couldn’t guarantee would stay the same, but it’s undecided. It’s been noted prices have only gone up twice in ten years for parking (but that was 7 to 10, 10 to 13, so each jump was pretty steep), but at the same time, I’ll note their parking is competitive with other venues.
Radio: discussions about the coverage of radio went on. The Sharks noted that they had a good station lined up for the east bay last season, and at the very last minute, it got sold, changed formats, and didn’t want their broadcasts any more, leaving them hung out to dry with no real alternative (Note to greg jamison: if nothing else, you got all of the bad things out of the way in one season, no?). East bay coverage is a focus this year (again), and one they’re very aware of and working to solve.
Finally, I find this on the sharks web site interesting. Anyone want to guess what it might mean?
down at the bottom, under Miscellaneous:
Television Play-By-Play Broadcaster Randy Hahn
Television Color Analyst Drew Remenda
Radio Play-By-Play Broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky
Radio Color Analyst Pete Stemkowski
Radio Hockey Analyst TBD
Looks to me like there’s a roster spot waiting to be filled. Hmm. If Pete’s still around as the color guy, one can only assume the hockey analyst is the position being held for — some ex–player? That was was Zettler and Granato were doing, so it looks like adding in that third voice is going to continue. One can only wonder who it might be…. I have some thoughts, obviously, but I’m not going to curse them or make you think I want them to retire… It may stay open until after camp, even… (hey, laurie, send them a resume! If you don’t get that, they have a job open for Alternate Governor and CFO!)
(also, Danny Miller is listed as the only game host, no sign of the blond woman who was working with him late last season. I consider that a hopeful sign — she was rough early, pretty much had the role figured out by the end, but I find her voice wrong for that job in the arena. Maybe if they retuned her mike or something, but she’s too screechy for my tastes)
A couple of other people were called out for introduction in the crowd during the Town Hall:
Ken Sweezey was introduced as Director of Guest Services. If you’re unhappy at a game, he’s your guy. Laurie and I know him just enough to know he’s pretty cool and interested in getting things fixed. I expect by the end of the season he’ll see us and run…. (grin)
Michael Lehr was introduced quickly. He’s president of the Cleveland Barons, and as Greg Jamison noted, Lehr was very good at keeping them informed about what was going on in Cleveland, especially as the injuries went insane and the team turned into an ECHL team (side note: Roy Sommers was given a strong vote of confidence for his work there last year in the face of amazing adversity — at one point 11 people on the injured list and only one AHL-rostered defenseman. They were very happy with how that place held together as well as it did, and with how the players reacted adn fought through the problems….)
David Pollack was introduced from the mercury, so he could agree with everyone else that hockey coverage in the bay area sucked (well, he was more polite than that). The suggestion (from Greg Jamison) was if you want that improved, you need to write the editors at the Merc, and keep letting them know you don’t like what they’re doing.
Finally, Greg Jamison introduced Matt Levine, who was formerly Vice President of Development for the Sharks. Matt is one of the key people involved in making sure the Sharks actually got to San Jose, and spent many years working for them building the relationships into the region. A couple of years ago he went off to help found a startup for educational software, but he still hangs around the Tanq. Matt was one of the first people (along with Ken Arnold) to take the internet seriously with the Sharks and see some of the opportunities, and the person who really first took this list seriously as a group of people interested and involved with the team, and was willing to work with us and listen to us over the years. If I had a dissapointment with the meeting, it was that ALL OF YOU PEOPLE WOULDN’T SHUT UP so Laurie and I had to leave before the meeting ended, and that kept us from tracking Matt down and saying hello. (so, matt, if you’re out there, “Hello! let’s do dinner at George’s some time, my treat!”)
(big grin on the wouldn’t shut up part, in case it wasn’t obvious…..)
And with that, a good time was had by all…