Gophers hockey leads Big Ten in fan disinterest

Serious question: Are you really the state of hockey, Minnesota?

Can you be with an empty arena for your signature college hockey team?

Those I asked on Twitter over the weekend insist that the University of Minnesota being forced to join the Big Ten’s hockey program, eliminating regional rivalries, is to blame for the disinterest in the program.

City Pages says there’s more to it:

The same year the team switched conferences, students who wanted season tickets for hockey were forced to buy seasons for football as well. Prices for everyone else soared, accompanied by mandatory donations with each purchase.

Talk of the “Gopher Family” tends to ring hollow when the Gopher’s always trying to raid your wallet.

And all this arrived with a precipitous decline in play. Despite having the most money, the best facilities, and all the prestige of a multi-generation dynasty, the Gophers began their tumble from greatness.

The quality of hockey is “stunningly bad,” City Pages’ Pete Kotz writes, more the result of bad effort than bad talent.

Kotz suggests the empty arena supports the notion of the state of hockey, since fans know lousy hockey when they see it and they demand better.