So the NHL is back. Fans are falling somewhere on a spectrum that ranges from unrepentant glee at one extreme to open hostility at the other. In other words, not all fans need some kind of stroking to come back to the NHL. But every fan would take anything the teams give them, right?
And we're not talking "Thank You Fans!" inside the blue lines.
Here are some of the ideas I just floated on Twitter, as well as some new ones:
*Give away game-used gear after every home game (not just the last game of the 'season').
*Raffle off "Ride To The Game With [insert player name]" packages for every game. The money goes to charity.
*Post-game skates with players.
*Ramp up visible support for the military.
*Send players out into local schools to participate in "pep rallies". Have them bring coupons for reduced price tickets for kids.
*Dunking booths manned by Bettman and Fehr on the concourse during admission. Make it for charity.
*I think it was the Penguins who first had players hand deliver tickets to season ticket holders. That was a great move. Every team should do this.
*The pucks that get tossed to the kids hanging over the boards by the tunnel after the shoot around warm up? They should A) be autographed by players and B) be in abundance.
*How about a package where you buy a ticket to the game for you and your kid, then after the game you get to sleep over in the arena? Bring a sleeping bag, the team shows hockey movies or famous game replays, hot chocolate, then a continental breakfast in the morning.
I'm just coming up with these off the top of my head. The point is: there are no limits to what the teams can do to re-ingratiate themselves back into the local communities. They just have to have the will to do so.
What are some of your ideas for things the teams can do to #winbackthefans?