Another tournament has come and gone. Unfortunately the same couldn't be said for the fans. Empty seats once again lined the rows at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. As I watched from home I couldn't help but notice the emptiness. It was almost a glaring distraction from the on-ice action.
It's sad when the topic of conversation switches from the hard work of the teams to the attendance -- or lack thereof. Players worked hard all season to be celebrated at a conference tournament, only to have few more than mom and dad in the crowd.
"You get to this time of the year, and you want to play in front of good crowds," Gopher head coach Don Lucia told the Detroit Free Press. "Doesn't matter if they're cheering for you or against you. It's kind of what you're used to all season long."
But the more pressing issue isn't just the lack of attendance, it's the question of why. Why do fans continue to remove themselves from conference tournaments? Where has the passion gone and will it come back?