Hockey Fans! I Tried!

December 20, 2007 | WNST Interns

It was last Saturday, December 15. My wife was Christmas shopping. My kids were doing something that good teenagers do on Saturday nights. (I’m not sure what that is, but they are good girls, and I trust them.) So, I’m “Married With Children” in Baltimore on a Saturday night. What am I supposed to do?

I know what I want to do. I want to go to a hockey game. But I went to Hershey two weeks ago, and the circuitous journey through that parking lot, on top of an hour drive, makes a return trip unattractive.

So, I settle for the Washington Capitals on the tube. It’s almost as bad as watching the Redskins. Besides, hockey on TV, more than any other sport, is different than being there. I love watching professional hockey in person. I watch it on TV only when I have a big-time sports-jones and there is no football or baseball.

We need an NHL team in Baltimore as badly as we need a new arena.

As the Caps skated on my two-dimensional TV screen, I got bored. I went to the Internet and discovered that Caps owner Ted Leonis has a site dedicated to communicating with the Great Unwashed.

The Great Unwashed? That’s me. I did what any bored, middle-aged Baltimore man would do. I sent him an email suggesting that he move his NHL team to the under-served Baltimore market.

Here’s what I wrote:

Have you ever considered moving your team to Baltimore? The state of Maryland is intent on building a new arena to replace the anachronistic Baltimore Arena. I am hoping that you are behind the scenes, working with the General Assembly and ensuring that this will be a state of the art major league arena.
Right now, the Capitals are the ugly stepsister in the Verizon Center. In Baltimore, you would be the only game in town from January to March. Your team would be the anchor at that arena. You would get the best dates.Unlike the Verizon Center, the Baltimore Arena, would be easily accessible by car. It would be easier for many fans from Montgomery, Howard, and Frederick Counties to get to your games in Baltimore.
The local sports media is hungry for another home team. The Baltimore market is the largest in the nation with just two major league teams. There is room on the airwaves for your team.
Baltimore has a silent, passionate hockey fan base. Fans who used to make the easy trip to Landover, stay away from the obstacle-filled journey to the park-and-ride lots and Metro stops in order to get to Verizon. These fans will line up for season tickets in a new downtown Baltimore arena.
Please come to Baltimore, Ted.
Russ Letra

Before you Baltimoreans write me with your inborn inferiority complex, stop. I’m a Baltimorean too. I have the same complex. I don’t expect Ted to come to Baltimore. Only in my wildest dreams can I envision the Baltimore Clippers playing the Montreal Canadiens on some Saturday night in January, 2011.

The best I hoped for is a polite reply saying that a new arena would open the possibility of a minor league affiliate in Baltimore.

Instead, my reply was…absolutely nothing. He didn’t reply.

It just reinforces my inferiority complex. Baltimore is viewed as the pimple on Washington’s butt.