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Minor League Malarkey: Ugly patriotism and election hangovers

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

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(Ed. Note: "Minor League Malarkey" is a new feature here on Puck Daddy in which we focus on the goofy world of minor league hockey; from the characters to the fights to the promotions to the die-hard fans that half-fill the stands. No, this isn't just an excuse to write more about the Iowa Chops. Necessarily.)

The old marketing adage in minor league sports is that you sell the game, not the players. That's one of the charms of minor league sports: Watching players move up the ranks in their sport and succeed.

The other charm is the bat-crazy promotions that teams do in order to increase attendance and gain extra media exposure. Bill Veeck, the legendary baseball executive who owned the White Sox during the infamous "Disco Demolition Night" at Chicago's Comiskey Park in 1979, was the godfather of promoting games during his time in baseball.

Hockey has yet to spawn its own Bill Veeck, but I'll be here to bring you the weird, wild, and wacky that are the promotions within minor league hockey.

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An alternate jersey worse looking than the Atlanta Thrashers'

To celebrate the Veteran's Day holiday here in the U.S., the Portland Pirates went all patriotic on the American Hockey League, busting out these stars-and-stripes jerseys in a game last Saturday against the Philadelphia Phantoms. I'm all for showing some national pride, but those are some rough uniforms to look at. I look at those jerseys, and can't help but think of "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan.

If you're a fan of them, the Pirates are auctioning them off to benefit the Portland Pirates Foundation.

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John McCain wishes US elections were settled by bobbleheads

In anticipation of last week's presidential election, the Manchester Monarchs wanted to help the democratic process and hold their own election. Before their game with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the team offered the first 2,000 fans the opportunity to choose between a John McCain or Barack Obama bobblehead doll. In the end, 516 fans decided on McCain while 484 took home the Obama doll.

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No, Wysh was not one of the judges

Wysh's favorite minor league team and hockey mom converged for a local radio promotion looking to find the hottest hockey mom...in Iowa. The Chops and radio station, am1700 The Champ held the contest where the winner would receive VIP tickets to a game, prizes from JT's Slap Shot Hockey Shop, spa treatments, three month gym membership and "a bunch of other stuff."

The winner was announced last Thursday; and if the four finalists are the "hottest" hockey moms in Iowa, please remind me to stick to fawning over Ice Girls.

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