The trouble in Moose Country

Boy oh boy, am I getting old? Do I sound old if i say “remember the good old days in Moose Country”? 

They were heady days. The days of 7,000 average, yes average, attendance. When the team iced a team with talented players, or at least a roster who resonated with the team motto of “Pride, Heart, Determination”. 

The days when The Sign Lady (the late Sue Moore) graced the seats mid-section across from the players benches with messages of inspiration on rolled up window blinds. When Lorna the dancing queen wasn’t the only one dancing in the aisles. The days when there was a line snaking outside the Metro Centre and around the corner to get ahold of playoff tickets. 

The days when Jody Shelley was a fan favourite, when Jamie Brown was named all three stars, when Jean-Sebastien Giguere marched the Herd to within one game of the Memorial Cup. When the team hosted the Memorial Cup in 2000. When the Parade Square was packed for a rally before that event. When the team had stability in it’s staff. (ie: They’ve gone through three goalie coaches in three years) 

This is the third season in a row where the team on the ice… well… they’re just not very good (and that’s me being nice). Who wants to drop their hard earned Loons on watching a team who’s going to lose every game. And because of that it’s party understandable why the air is out of the sails of Moose Country. 

But I think it started before that. Four seasons ago when the team sold the farm to get Brad Marchand and try to make a run for it all. Despite the team on the ice, the fans didn’t really seem into it.

The franchise needs some renewal. And right now it doesn’t help that the team owner, Bobby Smith, decided to demote Head Coach Cam Russell in favour of putting himself at the helm. Under Smith the team is 3 and 7, which is hardly something to inspire hope. In fact I hardly expect the team to do much better and I think Smith needs to find a new, QUALIFIED head coach to take the helm of the young team. 

The fans understand that the Q is an ebb and flow league where you will have that rebuilding year (usually one not three) at some point in a franchises history. But the fans are also frustrated with the team, especially when they look to the west and see franchises MUCH younger than the Mooseheads (Moncton, Saint John) who are annual contenders. In fact just this week, the NHL’s QMJHL prospects rankings came out and seven Saint John Sew Dogs were in the top 25. That tells me they have their scouting ducks in a row. Do the Mooseheads have their scouting ducks in a row? I’m not so sure. To me it almost seems like the organization isn’t very organized as of late.

I had said early in the season if Cam Russell didn’t get a team that produced he’d be shown the door, I didn’t think he’d be replaced by the owner. I think if the team keeps down this road for the next month, the fans (the ones who are left) will be asking for Smith to exit stage left as well.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

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