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Friday, October 06, 2006

Krupka Comments Update

Well... The NAHL has decided to pull Krupka's interview from the league's website. The controversy, however, did not escape the radar of Mike Easterling of the Albuquerque Journal. It's behind a subscription, so here's the piece:
RoadRunner notes: NAHL commissioner Eric Krupka ignited a fire storm of controversy Wednesday with his comments in an interview that appeared on the league Web site before it was taken down Thursday. Krupka's remarks were especially poorly received in Santa Fe, which he cited as an example of the league's problems. The commish basically threw the RoadRunners franchise— which has struggled to generate fan support since moving to Santa Fe in September 2004— under the bus, telling blogger Stan Fischler "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." Krupka also made clear his intention to drop several teams from the league in an effort to get down to 12 teams. Langer was still upset about the remarks Thursday night, saying: "It really didn't sit well with a whole lot of people, not just in Santa Fe. He could have said the things he wanted to say and not said anything about Santa Fe." While acknowledging the club's poor attendance, Langer cited the hard work the franchise did over the offseason to improve its presence in the community and bristled at Krupka's failure to recognize how many players the RoadRunners have sent on to NCAA Division I hockey programs over the last two years, which he described as the league's primary mission. "(Team owner) Mary Magdalene Lorang has busted her rear end to help this team," Langer said. "If the city of Santa Fe doesn't want to get behind us, that's fine. But we don't need to have our recruiting hurt by our own commissioner." The league's executive committee met for much of the day Thursday to discuss how to limit the damage from Krupka's remarks, but Langer seemed resigned to the fact that the controversy would hurt his team's chances of landing talent in the future. "There's not much I can do about it right now," he said. "I'm on a bus." ... Santa Fe defenseman Rafael Rodriguez, who sat out last weekend's series against the Wildcats with a shoulder injury, did not travel to Texas with the team. "He practiced this week, but he's feeling quite a bit of pain from his shoulder injury," Langer said. "It's a big loss for our hockey team." The veteran blueliner, who has struggled with a bad shoulder throughout his career in Santa Fe, had gotten off to a sizzling start this season, racking up six assists in his first six games before being sidelined.
Now, reaction here on the comments has been mixed, but if anything folks are applauding Krupka for facing some hard realities of the game. The problem is that while it's okay to have these opinions, as a league official it's not always appropriate to air them. I know Eric, and I know Brian McDonough, the league's media director. I hope this is just a rookie mistake for them, and they use the experience as an opportunity for improvement.

Comments on "Krupka Comments Update"


Blogger WCharles said ... (12:57 PM, October 06, 2006) : 

If Krupka had made his comments about Santa Fe two years ago or during last year's off-season, it might have been a different situation. However, with everything the RR organization did in this off-season, the veteran talent they brought in, and the way they have started the season, I think he should have adopted a "wait and see" approach. If all the changes the RR made do not result in a significant increase in attendance, being that harsh will be justified, but don't throw them under the bus at this point.

On another matter, would the desire to reduce the league to 12 teams reflect a plan to move to Tier 1?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:55 PM, October 06, 2006) : 

Wouldn't a practical solution be a separate Junior A league based in the West? It's crazy to have a league at this level spread from Pennsylvania to Alaska with no national media to draw interest between them.

The new commish is right to plan on a 12-team circuit. USA Hockey should then get behind any credible proposal to create a reincarnated America West Junior A or some reasonable facsimile thereof.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:01 PM, October 06, 2006) : 

Langer and company thrive on adversity. This will only make them stronger on the ice. That team is scary to begin with.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:44 AM, October 07, 2006) : 

What credentials does Krupka have to be the commissioner of this league? A former trader on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade and a guy that runs hockey tournaments and a paid subscription site. This is a case of who you know and not what you know. He shouldn't even have this position.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:14 PM, October 10, 2006) : 

Does this guy have the background to run a league? He is not off to a good start--at least publicly. Seems like you, Marc, are giving him the benefit of the doubt early on...


Blogger Marc Foster said ... (11:09 PM, October 10, 2006) : 

I think it's only fair to give Eric Krupka a chance, but at the same time I did bring the interview to public view (it had been up on the NAHL site an entire day, but not in what I would consider to be plain view). Again, I'm not sure I disagree with the comments. The political escalation of the situation in Santa Fe appears to be proving Krupka's point for him. It's the appropiateness of the comments I question.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:11 PM, October 11, 2006) : 

As you said, you can think anything you want, but to state it publicly as your 1st public announcement is not very wise. He may be 100% correct with all his statements, but he needs some credibilty with the public before making these comments.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:32 PM, October 13, 2006) : 

Santa Fe is horrible as a hockey town. They should have never left Texas in the first place. The RR should just "merge" with El Paso. Now there is a hockey town with a great fan base.


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