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Abbotsford Heat observations

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I live in the Abbotsford area and have seen the Abbotsford Heat play and I must say the hockey is pretty good, much better than WHL, my son and I got to meet some of the players at a public skate Abbotsford arena over the weekend, which was a good event.  The prices are relatively inexpensive compared to the Canucks.  The cheapest Heat seats are around $22 with all of the fees and stuff and goes up into the $40 range.  This is comparable to the Manitoba Moose, who have a lot of travel as well, however they are well-established in the area already.  The arena is state of the art and although there isn't much parking around it is relatively easy to access the arena.  There are a few concerns about the team, number 1 is the website www.abbotsfordheat.com which is pretty pathetic, there is no forum and no Creative forum for that matter, the updates and news items are not overly professional, there are no stats, not many items in the store section, it could be much, much better.  Number 2, the general public in the Abbotsford area is starting to become apathetic towards the hockey team, 1st game had 5,100 fans, 2nd game 3600, 3rd 2900, 4th 2700.  I think the problem is advertising and the prices may be too high.  Just a side note, originally the cheapest tickets were listed at $13.50 a couple of months ago, now with all of the service fees they are up to $22.  There are a few billboards on signs and on buses around town, there is a general write up in the Abbotsford News and Abbotsford Times newspapers, but nothing in the The Province newspaper, there is some advertising on the Team 1040 sports station in Vancouver, there are the occasional highlights on Sportsnet, but you would think there would be better coverage to a wider area of people.  There are over 500,000 people within a 1/2 hour driving range of Abbotsford without having to cross the Port Mann Bridge into Vancouver and considering the Canucks are always sold old and what should take 1 hour to get to a Canucks game can take up to 2 hours now because of traffic you would think more people would want to see Professional Hockey in Abbotsford.  It is great to have the team in the area, but someone please market them better!!!! just my 2 cents worth.

I agree with you 100%.  I am a season ticket hold and I am pissed off.  How do you explain 2700 people for a game against the Laffs farm team.  I have not heard one promo spot on radio this week for these games on any of the big networks (team, cknw, etc).  I was listening to the Team1040 on the way into work this morning and they were advertising Canucks, Giants, and of all things Horse Racing.  This is a bloody joke.  How can th eplayers be excited to play in front of such a crap crowd.  Come on Heat, do some bloody marketing.  The website is complete garbage as you have highlighted.  Why we cannot get 5000-6000 per game is solely based on the lack of a proper marketing effort.  I cannot believe that of all teams, they baby Laffs come to town and not one thing is said.  If I was not a season ticket holder I would have no idea they were even playing.  Nothing in Province, Sun... get with the program.  You need to advertise in other papers, internet, etc.  It is excellent hockey.  Just crappy promotion and marketing.

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I'm also wondering if they just figured they could put hockey in a hockey market and people would just show up. Ridiculous to me, and I'm sorry you guys are going through that. It frusturates me that they can't get a consistant 4-5K.

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I think when a team starts winning, it will gain some marketing momentum and the seats will fill. The Heat haven't haven't even established themselves as a team anyone would want to watch compete... Unitl they do that, everything will be fine...

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I would hate the reason would be that Abbotsford is the farm for the arch-rival. That being said, I know they have nearly 3000 season ticket holders, and not all are Flames fans (quite the opposite!). I agree though that the marketing needs to be better, including TV and radio. I listen to Country 107 sometimes on game night, there is virtually no pre-game, and little post-game. There should be some call-in after, but then it's really only open to those that went or watched online. There should be more people, but I can't help wonder how the tally attendance. Officially, there were only 2688 people last night, which reminds me that that number is below the average that made them move from QC in the first place.

And yes, the website is a joke. Seems like it only gets updated with the basics, and nothing more. Even then, it's slow.

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