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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Eric Krupka's First Interview

Just ran across this on the NAHL website. I'd been itching for an interview with Krupka since before Blaine. He's been busy, I've been busy (not just ranting about the Oregon fiasco), so we just hadn't had a chance to make a connection. To get beat out by Fischler... eh, I guess I can live with that. My emphasis in BOLD...

Krupka interview with Stan Fischler

October 3, 2006

With junior hockey thriving in many parts of the USA it’s significant that the North American League has just hired a successful businessman as its new commissioner.

President and CEO of the Deerfield, Illinois-based EHK Sports Enterprises, Eric Krupka is a management expert taking on the challenge of improving the NAHL.

In an interview with our Adam Schwartz he discussed the following topics:

WHY HE TOOK THE JOB: I thought I could better the league and make it move forward. I want to help improve the business model. Now we’re looking to get national sponsors.

MARKETING THE JUNIOR GAME IN THE U.S.: The league needs to focus on the 18-35 year old male group. I am looking for sponsorships with synergies to that same demographic.

VALUE OF A FRANCHISE: It costs $125,000 for a team. But team values vary. The Texas Tornado is worth millions. My main focus is to make the business end better and to have less teams losing money. Most of the teams are losing money. I want to contract.

STANCE ON FIGHTING: Fighting sells beer. I have no problem with it. Fighting is part of the game. Incessant fighting I have a problem with. I don’t think that there should be guys who are only enforcers.

LEAGUE PERCEPTION: The perception has been that the USHL is the better Junior league, but that isn’t true. I know there are some teams that are run well in that league but there are also some that are not well run. I would favorably compare the NAHL’s Texas Tornados against any franchise in the USHL.

RIGHT OR WRONG PLACE FOR JUNIOR FRANCHISES: A right place is any community with a good economy and a fan base that understands hockey or one that’s willing to learn. A wrong place would be a small city or rural area that doesn’t have the financial resources. Some teams aren’t run right, they’re in the wrong market. For example, Santa Fe is not a market that’s going to work for hockey.

UNPROFITABLE TEAMS: We need owners who are business people first and foremost and not philanthropist parents who want to give their child a place to play.

WHAT MAKES THE TEXAS TORNADO SUCCESSFUL: It all comes down to business. Texas makes sure the fans have the best experience they can at the games. They have the best building and are supported by the Stars and the owner is willing to spend money to make money.

CONTRACTION: The more teams you have, the thinner the talent pool gets. If you want more competitive teams, the league has to be smaller. The league was the best when it was 12 teams. I would like to have just 12 teams in our league.
Got some opinions there, Eric??? Wow...

I can't say I disagree with Eric on this, and sure his candor is refreshing... but there have got to be some bruised and bleeding folks out there. I am sure going to enjoy the follow up interview...

Comments on "Eric Krupka's First Interview"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:44 AM, October 05, 2006) : 

Candor is one thing, but publically telling at least one of your member teams' that they have no hope in hell of surviving is just plain stupid. How is ownership in Santa Fe, or the team's fan base supposed to feel about that? Here's hoping the Roadrunners prove Krupka wrong in the same way the Minnesota Twins proved Bud Selig wrong.

My wife stores her shoes in a hanger on the bedroom door.

Eric Krupka stores his in his mouth.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:39 AM, October 05, 2006) : 

I believe Santa Fe is proving they won't support the NAHL. Crowds of 200 in a town with nothing to do will not cut it.

Most people felt this was the make or break year in Santa Fe. Unfortunately, the "fan base" is proving to not be there.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:22 AM, October 05, 2006) : 

If the NAHL offices have moved to the Commissioner’s home area of North Chicago – I see a new round of conspiracy theories about the St. Louis/Springfield franchises – trying to keep them afloat, making sure their schedules are soft, “creating” exhibition games, yada, yada, yada. Great interview.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:23 AM, October 05, 2006) : 

I just took a long look at the Santa Fe website. The new owner has done everything right. They've got a radio contract. They're putting their players in the community spotlight. And, as mentioned in the post above this, they're getting 200 people. Lumby BC in the WHA's Junior West League is drawing twice that. Unless a mass enlightening occurs if the Roadrunners keep winning, this franchise is destined to go elsewhere.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:20 PM, October 05, 2006) : 

Reality is never a bad thing ... the NAHL WAS a better league when it had 12 teams.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:32 PM, October 05, 2006) : 

Santa Fe has first class staff and organization. If the city wont support them, they will move into a more supportive market. Eric Krupka knows the situation well and he will only help. Langer and company have assembled a very good team this year and it will be interesting to see how this pans out. I dont see these as negative comments towards the Roadrunners and that group seems to thrive when faced with adversity.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:20 PM, October 05, 2006) : 

Nice to read straight up facts. The only good "fluff" is between 2 slices of bread!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:24 PM, October 05, 2006) : 

At first I thought the Krupka/EHK connection could be a conflict of interest.
However, through the running of the successful showcases who would know better or have such an extensive database of players that have a desire to move up?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:20 PM, October 05, 2006) : 

Several years ago, the league was going to go with national sponsorships. What happened? Here's hoping Krupka can finally get things done.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:09 PM, October 06, 2006) : 

12 teams I think is weak. I think a way to build on a successful league with 16 to 20 teams is to have a flow to every program. See what different teams are doing right and wrong. Then mandate to get rid of all the wrong and implement the right league wide. I mean you look at teams like Texas and Fairbanks who put over 1500 fans in the building a night. Yes the demgraphics are good for hockey in both locals, however alot of it has to do with agressive marketing as well. A big part of Success in theis league is agressive marketing and continuing to educated and get fans excited about hockey. There is plenty of tallent out there to support a 16 to 20 league team. However everyteam in the league needs to be doing it right, not half assed.


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