It’s time for the Calgary Flames to listen to their fans and go in a new direction

Photo credit:Saltwire.com
Robert Munnich
6 months ago
To be a successful organization in professional sports, you need something to sell to your fan base. Winning, hope for the future, or entertainment are three things that teams can hang their hat on. Right now, the Calgary Flames are not selling any of those elements to their smart, dedicated, loyal fan base.
The Calgary Flames are a directionless organization. They’re not good enough to be a legit contender for the Stanley Cup (they might not even be good enough to make the playoffs). We don’t think they’re bad enough to bottom out and get a high draft pick. They’re not a fun team to watch. There are no star players. There are no players or play on the ice that get the fans out of their seats. What is there to cheer about right now?
Flames fans are asking themselves “what is this team’s long term plan to build a contender?” The Calgary Flames have yet to answer that question. Nothing has been communicated to the masses on what the direction of this organization is by any of Craig Conroy, Don Maloney, or John Bean.
Flames fans know their hockey. They are incredibly educated when it comes to the game of hockey and the NHL. Nearly every fan can see that this is not going to work in the long run. So, if the fans are smart enough to see this inevitability, how has the team not been able to?
Flames fans are going to start to tune this team out if the organization doesn’t make changes to the direction of the team. We’ve already seen it in terms of attendance. The home opener is usually an automatic sell out. They drew 17,414. Last night against the New York Rangers, a popular team that draws well, only 16,800 showed up to the game.
On all forms of social media, fans are already showing their displeasure with this group of players, particularly their highest paid players who look nothing like high end NHL talent at this point of their careers.
It sucks to say, but frustration is at an all-time high among the fan base.
One of the reasons for frustration is the Flames insistence on wanting to double down on this group of players. Why do we keep hearing from the team and insiders that the organization is looking to keep all their pending UFAs and roster players? It’s obvious that this team as currently constructed will not be a legit competitor for a Stanley Cup any time soon. And if you’re paying attention to attendance and fan feedback, it’s clear that even the most loyal supporters don’t believe in this team.
Now, could the Flames sneak into a playoff spot with this group of players a couple times over the next 5-8 years. Sure. Will they even get a sniff a Western Conference final? Not a chance.
Shouldn’t the goal of an NHL team be to build a sustainable winner? To put on an entertaining product on the ice for the fans? To draft and develop the next group of star players?
Or is the point of all this for Murray Edwards to get two playoff dates every couple seasons so the Flames can make a profit?
We will never know because we rarely hear from the Edwards, the rest of the ownership group, or CEO John Bean.
For once, it’s time for the Flames organization to actually listen to their supporters. This fan base does not believe in this team right now. If this level of play continues on the ice, the fans will stop showing up in numbers we haven’t seen since the early 2000s. And if the fans don’t see a change in direction off the ice, those attendance numbers are going to continue for a long time.
It’s time for the Flames to do the right thing and move in a different direction. The focus should be on building for the future. Start by acquiring draft picks and prospects for aging players. Focus on drafting and developing the next generation of Calgary Flames. And most importantly start selling the fans some hope. Because right now, there is little to no hope or belief in this team among its most important, forgotten stakeholder, the fans.

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