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Friday, July 3, 2009

The Future of This Blog

With the launch of a sophisticated website and message boards a couple of days ago, you may be wondering what will happen to this blog (then again, maybe you don't care). I am pleased to tell you that I fully intend to keep this site going for the foreseeable future!
Over the last month or two you may have noticed that I have been diverting from lacrosse quite regularly. Expect more of the same in the months to come as I will now be giving attention to other sports on a regular basis. For the most part I will only focus on things that interest me or infuriate me. Expect regular doses of hockey and football. With the World Cup a year away and qualifying going on as you read this, be prepared for a hefty helping of soccer as well (even more than I have put up recently).
Will I still post about lacrosse? Of course! With "lax" still in the web address and the title being "Central Iowa Lacrosse & Sports Ramblings" I would be stupid not to. I will continue to post about college and professional lacrosse; I may even get some local lax news in from time to time. In addition, I plan on keeping most of the archived CILA material on this site! Some stuff, like the various leagues' info has been transferred to the new site and will be deleted from here shortly.
So sit back and relax as I begin the next phase of this journey. As always, your feedback is welcome and appreciated! Shoot me an email or comment below.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rest In Peace

The Des Moines Register apparently makes post-publication revisions. Perhaps this is why no media outlets have picked this up:
Nick Foley, a Dallas lawyer representing DM Hockey Holdings LLC, also revealed that the AHL already has voted to suspend the franchise’s operation in Des Moines for next season.“There will be no AHL hockey in Iowa this season,” Foley said. “That decision already has been made to allow the league to get its scheduling done.”
AHL officials have declined to respond to questions regarding the Des Moines franchise.
I will miss having the world's highest level of minor leaving hockey at Wells Fargo Arena this season. Hopefully the situation can be resolved and we can have our team back next year. This gives me a little bit of hope:
“We would be happy to give the team to the county, if, in fact, they would be happy to pay off the creditors. If they think they need an AHL team, they don’t need to look elsewhere,” Foley said.
I have stated several times (here, on the Register, and on various message boards) that a publicly owned team would ensure that we would have an American Hockey League franchise indefinitely. Whether Foley was being facetious or not, the idea could potentially work. The County could assume ownership and Global Spectrum could operate the team. Global has the resources to run a successful operation readily available and many recently terminated staff members would be happy to return to work. Foley's comment seems legit based on his own words and the facts:
“We don’t have an agreement to lose $1 million a year indefinitely while (arena management firm) Global Spectrum and the county makes money,” Foley said.
Polk County has reported receiving $3.7 million over the past three years from the operation of Wells Fargo Arena, meaning there has not been a deficit at the Iowa Events Center for the past two.
It's kind of funny that the County made about the same amount of money that the Schlegels lost. Perhaps this is a sign that the County and Global would be the best owners/operators of the Chops...
Regardless, I will definitely miss the overpriced beer and comfy seats. Most of all I will miss watching guys play in Des Moines one night and in the NHL the next. The Ducks gave us some great players and the staff provided an excellent atmosphere all season. Now it looks like I will be returning to Buccaneer Arena if I want to catch any live local hockey. Hopefully they perform better than they did last year...
Iowa Stars/Chops

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chops Are Here To Stay! --------Kind of

The never ending Chops saga took a positive turn today. Judge Robert Hutchison ordered the owners of the Iowa Chops of the American Hockey League not to relocate the franchise from Des Moines. The injunction is temporary until either the dispute between the County and the Schlegels is resolved or a permanent injunction is in place.
The only way I see to resolve the dispute is to force the Schlegels to sell the franchise. I am not sure if a judge can do that or not, but the league can. From what I have heard, the AHL wants to keep a team in Des Moines and has no further desire to deal with the Schlegels' shenanigans.
Hopefully the issue will be resolved in time to get the team rolling for this season...

Ready for the Next Big Thing?

Now that lacrosse really seems to be picking up steam in the Des Moines metro, I think it is time that we get a proper website. Sure this blog is fine and I can access it at work, but it is not overly user friendly.
After making several compromises in an attempt to make it easier to navigate, I grown frustrated with the blog's layout. I have been searching for a suitable replacement for about a month when it occurred to me that the Microsoft Office Live site I previously created for Valley has pretty much everything I could want (except message boards). Once I figured out how to obtain another site through Office Live, I knew I could set up a better Central Iowa Lacrosse site.
Making matters worse, some participants are still using the old Group-o-Matic "Des Moines Lacrosse League" site. Although, it might have some effectiveness as a communication tool and served us well in our initial drive to get new participants, that site is bulky, slow, and inefficient. Replacing it with a new system is vital as part of the relaunch. Hopefully a replacement for the GoM site will allow participants to interact more effectively and keep us more organized. As a result of the relaunch, the GoM site will go dark within a week to give people plenty of time to migrate to the new boards.
Ideally the replacement would also allow us to conduct polls more efficiently than in the past. Whereas anybody can respond to polls here, the new member message boards should restrict responses to registered participants only. Valley's website will also be linked directly to the new message boards.
Now all of our programs -current and planned- will be organized under a single site. Easy to use links will categorize various topics ranging from our Open Leagues to the Demons to youth lacrosse. A calendar on the home page will help keep everybody up to date on the Summer Open Lacrosse League and other events. Take a peak and let me know what you think!
Without further ado, presenting the Official New CILA site & New Message Boards!!!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I-80 Corridor Hockey News

While the Chops hang in limbo our former American Hockey League rival, the Quad Cities, has received some fairly decent news.

After the Calgary Flames yanked the Knights out of Omaha and relocated them to the Quad Cities, the long time United Hockey League Mallards were nixed. The QC Flames took over their renovated home but the spark died within two seasons. Since the NHL club pulled out of QC in favor of Abbottsford, BC a couple of months ago, the i wireless Center (formerly The Mark)saw a potentially empty 2009-10 season.
Luckily the hockey fans in that metro loved their Mallards much more than the Flames. Attendance rates were actually better in the lower league. Because of this, much speculation has been made this spring/summer about QC's return to AA level hockey. Rumors from a joint entry by QC and Des Moines in the ECHL (technically it stands for nothing now) or Central Hockey League to single bids to join the International Hockey League (the re-christened UHL) have run rampant. Now it looks like the latter is coming to fruition.
At this point all we know is that QC will be rejoining their former league this fall. They will continue playing at the i wireless Center. Even without an official name announcement, expect the Mallards to quack once again.

In other hockey news, the University of Nebraska at Omaha Mavericks ice hockey team is moving from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association beginning in the 2010-11 season. This move will pit them against more regional competition like the Minnesota and the University of Denver rather than schools located further away including Michigan and Michigan State. Moving to the WCHA should give the program an increased amount of exposure in our area.

Monday, June 29, 2009

We Blew It

I did not have the heart to write this yesterday. After witnessing the best 45 minutes in US Soccer history, I was ecstatic. At the end of the first half the US national team was up 2-0 over perennial powerhouse and five time World Cup winner Brazil. Sure we had already beaten FIFA #1 ranked Spain, but a win over a Brazilian side that humiliated us 3-0 in our last meeting would have sent a strong message about American Soccer.
Everything - and I mean everything - was going our way in the first half. We would playing the most aggressive soccer I had ever witnessed from a US side. We were clearing the goal area like our lives depended on it. Our forwards pushed ahead in numbers. Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, and Davies combined to make some very impressive passing strings. The give and goes were spectacular. The goals flourished with creativity. Everything that plagued US Soccer disappeared in those 45 minutes. Going into halftime, the Brazilians' heads hung as though they knew their end was near.
Then everything changed. Our cockiness edged out our concentration. The team was no longer in full on attack mode. Instead they retreated to the old "bunker and defend" system that has been our albatross for over a decade. Playing a much weaker style allowed the Brazilians to score their first goal within the first two minutes of the second half. It was downhill from there. Our cockiness gave way to panic. Our panic caused as systematic breakdown which eventually led to two more Brazilian goals. Our 2-0 lead at the start of the second half became a 2-3 loss by the full 90.
In our first chance to win a FIFA tournament, we defeated ourselves. Not to take anything away from uber-talented Brazil, but that game was ours. Had we come out in the second half with the same focus, same determination, and same game plan, we would have won. Brazil was completely unprepared for an aggressive US side and panicked as we coordinated attacks with militaristic precision. The failed to find a way around our stone wall of defense. They cringed as even their most tricky shots were flicked away with relative ease by Tim Howard. Yet we came out in the second half playing in our old and familiar way to give Brazil the opening they needed.
At least a couple of good things can be taken from this tournament. First, we took home second place in a FIFA tournament. this will help our confidence as we continue our qualifications for the World Cup next year. Second, we saw some new faces on the USMNT and we saw some new strength in a few returning players. Many of these guys are currently playing in the top European leagues. Our bench continues to get deeper and more talented; this will only help us before better in the future. Third, we learned that when the chips are down, the USMNT has the gumption to pull together and conquer a stronger enemy (Spain). This will be vital to our success in the World Cup. Fourth, we dominated Brazil for a full 45 minutes. Once we learn how to play a full 90 like that, we will reach soccer superpower status.
This week the US begins its quest to become the first team to win three straight CONCACAF Gold Cups since Mexico in 1993-1999. The roster will be significantly different from the Confederations Cup squad; many of the players will come from Major League Soccer teams as the games are in the US and those players will be the most familiar with the current weather conditions. Coverage of the USMNT in English begins on Saturday (7/4) on Fox Soccer Channel (MediaCom 212). Other nations will be broadcast in Spanish on Galavision, Telefutura, and Univision.

Tribe 7