Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sports this 'n' that

It's being reported in today's Albany Times-Union that the current owners of the New Jersey & Albany Devils (NHL & AHL, respectively) are looking to move their top minor league franchise out of Albany, citing poor attendance, which wasn't so much an issue when former GM Lou Lamoriello was in charge in New Jersey. If the deal is finalized, the Albany Devils will move to Binghamton to replace the Binghamton Senators, Ottawa's AHL club, which is moving closer to the parent club's base in Canada's Ontario province. The same article also says that the Times-Union Center is soon to be picking up a new minor league franchise---not in hockey---to share the cavernous facility with Siena College's men's basketball team.

The departure of the Devils would end more than 2 decades of AHL hockey in Albany. Siena outdraws the Devils by a comfortable 3-4 to 1 margin in average attendance, even when they're not playing well. That speaks to the priorities local fans have and pro hockey has never been a priority ever since the Detroit Red Wings moved their AHL club out of Glens Falls several years ago.
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Once the college basketball season ends in early April, Brent Musburger will call it a career, the latest to walk away from ESPN. Musburger has been with ESPN since the 90's, after an unceremonious exit from CBS. Musburger has called college football & basketball, and has contributed to the Little League World Series while with ESPN, and parlayed the gig into a cameo appearance on Tim Allen's current series, Last Man Standing, a couple of years back.
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WWE fans will get a double barrel of wrestling action in the home district over the next two months. First, NXT makes its 3rd annual visit to the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany on February 11. Expect tickets to be sold out the very first day, thanks in large part to online sales. Shows at the Armory each of the last two years have had lines curling around the corner and down the hill from the Armory on the night of the show. The only drawback seems to be the Armory's poor sound system, as the acoustics don't match the volume, making for a murky mess. I should know. I've been to enough events at the Armory in recent years.

There will be a main WWE roster show at Times-Union Center five weeks later on March 18, where the minimum price for tickets has gone up to $20 (it had been $15 in previous years). Inflation, you know. You actually have a better chance of getting tickets at the T-U Center, since they won't pack the joint if they don't bring the television cameras.
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Mother Nature may have wiped out high school sports on Tuesday for the 2nd straight week, but then, it wasn't quite a full schedule anyway. Most schools have mid-term exams this week, and in the Suburban Council, that means most basketball teams get a week between games. There was some action earlier in the week to make up for last week's postponements. Troy High's bowling team, last in the Suburban Council, returns to action today, while the basketball teams are back on the court tomorrow.

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