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BIRD'S-EYE VIEW: Mailbag #4

Friday, August 7th
BIRD'S-EYE VIEW: Mailbag #4

BIRD’S-EYE VIEW:  Mailbag #4

Blog #22 – August 7, 2020

by John Peterson

I realized something late last week.

We haven’t done a K-Wings Mailbag in a long while. Mailbag #3 was way back in May.

Mailbag #1 and Mailbag #2 were three weeks apart back in April. At that time this COVID-19, work-from-home, quarantine, or whatever you want to call it was still in its infant stage.

A lot has changed since our last of these fan-driven Q&A blogs, while some things have remained the same.

It’s still the off-season. We still don’t know exactly what next season will look like, given the constantly developing situation. And boy, do we still miss seeing you guys.

For today’s Mailbag, we’re going to address some of your concerns, while also getting into some more fun questions. After all, you can only stare at the same headlines so long before you feel like banging your head up against the wall, am I right? So let’s have some fun.

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions. These Mailbag blogs are about YOU and your questions, concerns and random thoughts. Keep the questions coming! I promise we’ll do another one of these very very soon.

Q: Have you heard if the AHL is planning on going next year? If it is, how will that affect the K-Wings, assuming we have a season? Normally by now, they too are announcing signings, including some that might end up in Kalamazoo. Any thoughts?- Shawn D.

Great question, Shawn. The AHL, in alignment with the widely discussed intentions of the NHL, announced recently to delay the start of their season to December 4. Likewise, the ECHL followed suit this week with a similar plan, including a full 72-game season.

In a perfect world, this is how it will play out: the NHL, AHL and ECHL all start the 2020-21 season in early December and play a full season that is just delayed from December-May instead of the normal October-April timeframe. If this scenario pans out, affiliations would still work together to help each other out with players going up and coming down.

You make a great point about fewer AHL player signings that we’re used to seeing at this point. Keep in mind that the AHL and NHL cancelled their seasons much later than the ECHL did. Additionally, NHL teams have a much bigger influence on the makeup of AHL rosters than their ECHL partners’ rosters. Since the NHL is still playing their playoffs, there’s a bit of a holdup on premiere and depth AHL signings until the NHL teams make the first move.

The good news is ECHL teams can still recruit somewhat normally, keeping in mind that they’ll likely get a few players sent to them from the AHL. Having seen the K-Wings full list of signings so far, trust me when I say this team looks very good on paper, and that’s not including potential AHL/NHL prospects. We have a schedule in place to announce these player signing leading up to December. Thanks to everyone for your patience and support.

Q: Is there any way to get videos of the two Turner Cup Championships or Colonial Cup Championship? Are they available for purchase?- Rick C.

As far as I’m aware, long form videos of the 1978-79 and 1979-80 Turner Cup Championships have never been uploaded to the internet, as I can’t find them anywhere. The K-Wings’ 2005-06 Colonial Cup Championship only has short interview clips from what I’ve been able to find. Check out current assistant coach (and rookie goaltender that season) Joel Martin rocking a Cincinnati Reds hat during the celebration below.

If anyone can dig up the video from any of Kalamazoo’s Championships, we’d love to re-air them on our Facebook “LIVE” for a special viewing party. I’ll never say never, but these may be extremely hard to find.

Q: Can we come up with a good excuse to still do the Orange Ice game?- Delton G.

I like the way you think. We had some awesome things planned for this year’s Orange Ice game, so with the delayed start to the season, this popular event won’t be held around Halloween. However, if there’s an opportunity to work in the Orange Ice game later in the season, rest assured we will try to do so.

Q: Can season ticket payments be processed out until December instead of October because of the delayed start?- Kenneth C.

The plan is still to play a full 72-game season, just with a delayed schedule. If you’re on a payment plan for season tickets, contact your K-Wings sales representative directly with any questions regarding your options. They are all working from home and checking their phones and emails regularly. And I’m willing to bet the summer is extra boring, so I’m sure they’d love to hear from you!

Q: If you could have dinner with 3 athletes (past or present), which three would it be?- Jay K.

Love this question. In no particular order: Babe Ruth, Kevin Garnett and Jared Allen. Who wouldn’t want to sit down and have a hot dog and a beer with The Great Bambino. KG carried Minnesota sports for years and I’ll never fully be able to forgive the Timberwolves for trading him to the Boston Celtics for a pair of sneakers. I haven’t been able to watch the NBA since, truthfully. Jared Allen is one of my all-time favorite characters and the sack-master of the Minnesota Vikings defensive line for years. His calf-roping celebration after sacks was my favorite in sports.

Q: What sport do you think takes the most athleticism?- Darryl A.

This is a tough one. I could take this a number of different directions. If we’re getting specific to individual positions in sports, a goalie in hockey or cornerback in football would be right near the top of the list. You have no idea what kind of workout goalies go through on a nightly basis wearing 50 extra pounds of pads until you’ve tried it. Corners have to cover the fastest, shiftiest athletic freaks (wide receivers) while reading the play at the same time. Usually they’re smaller in stature than their counterparts and have to make up for it with their speed and leaping ability.

This might be an unpopular opinion, but if I had to pick one sport that requires the most athleticism, it would be soccer. Try running for 90 minutes straight, dribbling a ball in your feet and trying to pass and catch the ball from your teammates at high speed without using your hands. I swear it’s not as easy as those guys make it look. By the way, I’m pretty sure this answer will make Michael McFadden’s year. The K-Wings Game Operations and Community Relations Director is a diehard soccer fan.

Q: Do you consider NASCAR a sport and why?- Monte K.

This feels like a good transition from the last question. Yes, I consider racing a sport. It’s a competition that draws huge crowds all over the country and requires teams, training and strategy to succeed. Is NASCAR a sport that everyone can get into? No, I think it’s either you like it or you don’t. But it is a sport. I’ve read how ridiculously hot it is in those cars on the hot pavement during a three-hour race in 100 degree heat. It’s ridiculously taxing. That’s why you don’t see any 300-pound NASCAR drivers.

Side note: I’ve never really been a big NASCAR fan, but I give the sport a ton of credit for some of the changes and stances it has taken this summer on huge cultural issues in this country. It was long overdue, but NASCAR is taking positive steps to grow the sport to all audiences and deserves a lot of credit for being one of the first of the major American sports leagues to address these major issues head on this summer.

Q: If you could choose one Metallica hit as a pump-up song besides “Enter Sandman”, what would it be?- Marcus M.

Somehow word must have gotten out that I’m a big Metallica fan. I listen to all genres of music and some of my favorites include Blink-182, Coldplay, Zac Brown Band, and LINKIN PARK. But my all-time favorite band is Metallica, and my favorite song is “One”. I don’t know if “One” qualifies as a pump-up song, but it has the whole package. From the build-up guitar riff to the lyrics, the double-bass drum and the greatest guitar solo I’ve ever heard, I don’t think it can be topped.

But if we’re going for strictly a pump-up song, it’s either “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “I Disappear” or “Whiskey in the Jar”. An honorable mention that gives me the chills is the guitar open to “The Day That Never Comes” (which we used for the K-Wings radio broadcast open this year).

Q: How many cups of coffee do you drink per day and what keeps you energized?- Anonymous Concerned Fan

How many is “too many”? In a normal work day (or work-from-home day), I’d say I average two cups of coffee a day. On a game day, it’s closer to four cups a day.

I’m energized by a number of things. The coffee helps, as does a good afternoon nap (if possible). But what energizes me the most is working on a project that I’m passionate about. There are many days this doesn’t feel like a job, but a hobby. I’m extremely fortunate to do this for a living and that gives me energy daily. Wrestling and playing fetch with my dog, a three-year old Pyronees/Aussie mix named Gunther is also energizing (and exhausting). He’s the best.

--

Bird’s-Eye View is a Kalamazoo Wings blog, written by the team’s Director of Public Relations/Broadcaster John Peterson twice weekly. The thoughts, opinions and behind-the-scenes stories are that of the writer alone and not a reflection of the organization as a whole. Fans are welcome to submit questions and ideas for future blog posts to jpeterson@kwings.com. Enjoy!

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