OPINION: Partners, Partners, Partners!


I write mostly about the activities on the ice concerning the Motor City Rockers, be it game recaps or the players on the team. In reality, that all means little if the franchise isn't healthy and stable. Minor league hockey, especially at the single and double A level, is overloaded with franchises that did not succeed long-term and either folded or moved. I speak from experience just from supporting and covering the last two minor pro teams that played out of what is now known as Big Boy Arena in Fraser. The Detroit Falcons of the Colonial/United League lasted five years here from 1991-1996 before moving to Port Huron to become the Border Cats. The Motor City Mechanics of the UHL only survived two seasons from 2004-2006 before closing up shop, despite the added gimmick of NHL players like Chris Chelios and Derian Hatcher suiting up for them during the lockout in 2005.

In the case of both the Falcons and Mechanics, attendance was a major factor. In their final season in Fraser, the Falcons reported an average of 2,046 fans a game, their highest in their five seasons there. Trust me, I was at those games, that team didn't draw 2,000 fans a night. Attendance figures were fudged, it happens all the time in minor league hockey. The Mechanics averaged 1,775 and 1,602 in their two seasons, again numbers I seriously question considering what my eyes saw in the stands. It's no secret the Rockers' attendance in their inaugural season was not where the organization would like it to be, but the FPHL also has a much lower operating budget than the UHL did back in its time. Not to mention the under the table shenanigans many UHL teams pulled off to subvert the league's salary cap. Minor league sports can be a tough sell in the metro Detroit market, but not an impossible one if you find your niche. I've watched two teams I loved move or fold, it sucks, and I know there are other fans of both teams that now attend Rockers' games and can attest to how much it sucks. 

My experience from over thirty years of following minor pro and junior hockey in this area is there is that group that will simply never support something that is not the NHL. Any minor league is a "beer league" and junior hockey is "kid's hockey." Totally ridiculous, uneducated takes by the way. Keep in mind, we had major junior OHL hockey in this area, as good as junior hockey gets, both in Detroit and then Plymouth, featuring future NHL stars on a nightly basis, and that mentality was still prevalent in this group of hockey fans. Running an OHL team is also not a cheap venture and the Whalers, who drew better than the Falcons or Mechanics ever did, eventually moved to Flint. The primary target market for the Rockers are those looking for an affordable, fun night out, be it families, friends, groups or open-minded fans of hockey. Of course you have those minor league hockey fanatics like myself, but we aren't enough to fill the barn. Every single person I talked to, either in person or online last season, came away with a positive experience after attending a Rockers' game. It's just a matter of making people aware of the team and getting them out to a game. Once you've been to one, you're hooked.  

One major way to help build that fan base is through corporate partnerships and the Rockers have been busy this week announcing a slew of new partners and promotions that will help draw more people to games and contribute to the overall health of the franchise. I've been thinking about this topic a lot since the team announced the hiring of Scott Brand as the Team President back in May, but was just looking for the right time to write about it more in-depth. Brand has a track record of nothing but success, especially in this league, as he helped build the solid foundation of both Carolina and Columbus before coming home to Michigan to help lead the Rockers' organization. 

When I was brainstorming about potential partners I'd like to see the Rockers pursue, Meijer was at the top of my list and the team announced a partnership with the Michigan institution in August. Meijer will serve as the team's Media, Party Suite and Autism Awareness Night sponsor. Then in September, the team named Insight as its official healthcare provider, as well as a segment sponsor during game broadcasts. Both of these were a solid start. 

Now this week, the partnership announcements have been overflowing. The team is collaborating with brewing giant Labatt to bring $2 Beer Night to Big Boy Arena for select games. Bells/New Belgium Brewery will sponsor Sunday home games with a "Sunday Funday" promotion as well as an Ugly Sweater Night in December. Serta Mattresses is on-board as the "Official Sleep Partner". Anytime Fitness is the "Official  Workout Partner" for the franchise. Fraser's own institution, Schott's Market will sponsor this season's "Chuck A Puck" promotion. These have all been announced in just the last two days.

Now I am not going to use this blog to post an update every time a new partnership or sponsor is announced, but I felt this was the perfect time to address such an important issue facing the franchise. Their inaugural season was a bit of  a whirlwind trying to start a new professional sports franchise from scratch so the amount of corporate partners and sponsors was lacking. But the team succeeded with a successful season on the ice and a well-run organization off the ice thanks to the work of GM Nick Field and head coach Gordie Brown, and with a whole off-season to focus on building corporate partnerships and their fan base, the hiring of Brand showed how serious this franchise is about making things work here long term. These announcements, and I am sure more that will follow, show how that hire is paying off. This is exactly what he did in his previous stops in his career.

In addition to these new partners, the franchise also announced it is teaming up with both WJR and WCSX as their official radio partners. WJR will offer exclusive radio broadcasts of Rockers' games and both stations will provide additional coverage of the team through interviews, radio shows and the like. All of these partnerships are tremendously positive for the organization, and its diehard fans, as it will help grow the team's footprint in the metro Detroit market. With Motor City's home opener still over a week away, I'd expect to see more of these announcements before the puck drops at Big Boy Arena on the second Rockers' campaign.

Rockers Announce 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule

2023-2024 Regular Season Schedule

The Federal Prospects Hockey League officially announced its schedule for the 2023-24 regular season today. The FPHL will enter its fourteenth season with eleven teams after the Delaware Thunder chose to go dormant instead of relocating to New Jersey as had been rumored. That sent the schedule into a bit of flux at the last minute but it is now finalized. Once again, each team will play 56 games, 28 each at home and on the road.

For the Motor City Rockers, that means the franchise's second season is set to take off in late October. After opening at home last season, the Rockers open on the road this season but it's against their closest rival, the Port Huron Prowlers. For a less than an hour drive up I-94, Rockers fans can still check out their team as the puck drops on a new season. And they better get used to seeing a lot of Port Huron again, as the two teams will play each other a whopping eighteen times, eight in Fraser and ten in Port Huron. After the two game set at McMorran Arena, the Rockers return to Fraser for their home opening weekend at Big Boy Arena October 27th and 28th against the new Wytheville, Virginia franchise. Rockers fans had better savor those two games however, as Motor City plays twelve of their first fifteen games on the road, including an eight game road trip from 11/22 to 12/8. That script gets reversed in February though, when Motor City has a nine game home stand starting 2/17 through 3/10. In fact, overall they play eleven of twelve at home during this stretch with the lone road game in nearby Port Huron. This should be a crucial stretch of the season for playoff positioning and Motor City will be at home for over a month, something they must capitalize on. 

Judging from fan comments on Facebook and Instagram, there are a lot of FPHL fans across the league unhappy with the schedule this season. In fact, Port Huron will be the only team that faces every other team in the league at least once. In the case of the Rockers, Motor City does not play a single game all season against the new expansion team in Baton Rouge, or the Mississippi Sea Wolves. That's a shame as the Rockers and Sea Wolves had developed a little bit of a rivalry by season's end. More frustrating to me, the defending Commissioner's Cup Champion Danbury Hat Tricks don't make a single trip to Fraser this season, although the Rockers go there for two games at the start of December. In fact, Danbury never sets foot in Michigan all season as Port Huron has to travel there twice, but never hosts them once. I completely understand the league trying to cut down on travel budgets, the last thing I want to see is a team unable to continue to operate due to prohibitive travel costs. But as a fan, it stinks that three of the other ten teams in the league will never skate a second in Big Boy Arena this season. This is not a Motor City problem, let me make that clear. Every fan base in the league is commenting on what they will miss this season, some with more vitriol than others. For me, I get it, it won't affect my attendance at games or support of the team, but I don't have to be thrilled about not seeing nearly a third of the opposing teams in the league all season.

As for who Motor City will be playing, here is how things shake out. As mentioned, Rockers fans will get to see their biggest rivals Port Huron eight times in Fraser. Surprisingly, the other team that plays here eight times will be the expansion Wytheville franchise, while Motor City only has to travel there once for a set of games in January. The Columbus River Dragons make the trek to metro Detroit to play four games against the Rockers, while Motor City plays three down in Georgia. The Binghamton Black Bears play here three times, while the Rockers play two games there. The new Elmira team is in Fraser for a pair of games right before Christmas, while Motor City plays there four times. The two times Motor City hosts the Watertown Wolves in March could be of interest to fans of former Rocker goalie Travis Ridgen as he was acquired by the Wolves via trade this past week. Keep in mind, March is a long way off and Ridgen still has to earn his spot on the Watertown roster, but definitely something to keep an eye out for if he does. The Rockers meanwhile will play five games in Watertown. December 15th will be another notable date as it is the only time Motor City plays the defending Continental Division Champion Carolina Thunderbirds all season, with this lone match coming in Fraser.       

The Rockers will once again host Port Huron on New Year's Eve at Big Boy Arena, with a 2:05pm faceoff set. This was one of the best attended games of last season, so definitely one to look forward to this season. All of Motor City's home games this year will take place on the weekend, with eleven Friday night games, twelve Saturday games and five Sunday afternoon contests. Weeknight games are a tough draw and they had a few last season so I'm glad to see the weekend-heavy schedule for 23-24. Despite some of the issues with the league's schedule, I guarantee you once the season rolls around and the action starts again, most of that will be forgotten when we have games and rivalries to debate.   

You can view the complete schedule on the Motor City Rockers website here.               

Rockers Announce Scott Brand as Team President


A momentous day for the Motor City Rockers franchise as they have officially announced Scott Brand as their Team President. I've been waiting for this to be made official as there is a lot to say about this hiring and the implications on the long-term success of this franchise in Metro Detroit. For an FPHL franchise looking to build corporate sponsorships and a fan base, you really cannot make a better move than this. Brand has had success everywhere he has been, including building both Carolina, and most recently Columbus, into FPHL hotbeds. With Nick Field continuing on as General Manager and the addition of Brand, if this group cannot build the Rockers into an institution in this area, no one can. As a supporter and fan of the franchise, I can't emphasize enough how huge this is and how excited fans should be about the direction of the Motor City Rockers. 

I will have a lot more to say about not just the Brand hiring, but the outlook for the Rockers to build a diehard fan base that packs Big Boy Arena on a nightly basis in a future post I am planning. But in trying to keep this blog timely with news, I wanted to get this up the same day as the announcement was made. The team's full press release can be seen here. Of note, the team expects to announce ticket plans for the 2023-24 season on June 1st.     

Rockers Prepare for FPHL Expansion Draft, Announce Protected List

Rockers Expansion

The 2022-23 FPHL season has come to an end with the Danbury Hat Tricks being crowned Commissioners Cup champions, after they came back from being down two games to none to defeat the Carolina Thunderbirds in overtime in Game Five. Now all eyes turn to the offseason and in the minor leagues, there is rarely a dull moment. Just because the season is over doesn't mean there still won't be plenty of news, moves and rumors around the FPHL. 

The first order of business will be finalizing what teams will take part in the 2023-24 season, and currently that is in a state of flux. The Delaware Thunder are out, at least in Harrington, where Delaware State Fairgrounds officials have essentially told the team, "we don't want you here", much to the chagrin of their diehard fanbase. More detailed information about the Delaware decision can be found here.  There is also trouble in Elmira, where the Mammoth are now involved in a dispute with the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency, who is in the process of terminating their lease with the franchise to play at First Arena. You can read all about that situation here. If neither of those teams are returning, that drops the number of teams to eight, but what about expansion?

So far, we know Baton Rouge is in, the franchise has officially been announced and is listed as one of next season's teams on the FPHL website. Wytheville, Virginia is also apparently in. They are listed as a future market on the FPHL site, and in a league press release today, the franchise was named as joining the league for this coming season. There are also rumors buzzing that Danville, Illinois could be returning to the Fed after the complete debacle that was the SPHL's Vermilion County Bobcats. Conditions could be right for a return of the Danville Dashers who were in the league from 2011 to the end of the 2019-20 season. But this is still in the rumor stage, nothing has officially been said one way or the other. If Delaware and Elmira are out, the league is back to ten teams next season with the addition of Baton Rouge and Wytheville. Time will tell how this shakes out.

So all this uncertainty leaves the exact date of the upcoming Expansion Draft up in the air, you certainly won't find any information about it searching online. But, we do know there will be one, and we do know that each team is allowed to protect fifteen players, so turning things back to the subject of this blog, how does this affect the Motor City Rockers? That came to light today when the league announced which players each team, including Elmira but excluding Delaware, are protecting for the 2023-24 season. So let's take a look at the Rockers fifteen protected players. 

Ross Bartlett - It's easy to forget about Bartlett as he only played in seventeen games for the Rockers before getting the call up to Huntsville of the SPHL right after the New Year. Unfortunately, he only played in five games with the Havoc before suffering a season-ending injury, but when you look at what he did in his seventeen games in Motor City, it's easy to see why he was protected. Bartlett scored seven goals to go along with twelve assists, a point a game forward. His 58 penalty minutes also shows he plays with grit, he'd be a welcome addition back to the Rockers lineup next season.

Trevor Babin - As much of a no-brainer as it gets, the team's number one goalie and one of the best in the Fed. The only question with Babin is does he get a shot at a higher league? If he does, it's much deserved, but either way you have to protect his rights if you're Motor City.

Tommy Cardinal - Cardinal finished second on the team in penalty minutes, but also was one of four twenty-goal scorers on the Rockers. You can never have enough forwards who can put the puck in the net, but also aren't afraid to get their nose dirty.

Scott Coash - Like Babin, another player that certainly is deserving of a shot at a higher league. Coash led the Rockers in goals with forty and points with 72. As natural a goal scorer as you'll find in the FPHL, if he's returning to the league, thankfully it will be here.

Josh Colten - The big defenseman is one of the anchors on the blueline for Motor City and finished tied for fifth in points on the team.

Declan Conway - Centering the top line with Coash and usually Connor Inger, this was another easy choice. Conway finished second on the team in goals with 27 and points with 52.

Roman Gaudet - The Flat Rock native, and biggest forward on the team, finished seventh in points with 33, and also wasn't afraid to mix it up and use his size.

Connor Inger - Another local player from Macomb, Inger joined the team in mid-January, only playing in 29 games, yet finishing tied for eighth in points with 31. It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers he can put up in a full season, especially if he remains on the first line with Conway and Coash.

Nicholas Magill-Diaz - Clawson's own came home to join the Rockers in mid-December after starting the season in the SPHL with Vermilion County and Quad City. He was a welcome addition to the defense corps, just a steady defenseman who also will throw his body around.    

Derek Makimaa - The Swartz Creek native impressed in his first season of professional hockey, finishing third on the team in goals with 22 and tied for fifth in points with 41. Another big forward who isn't afraid to get physical, one of the anchors of the second line.

Tim Perks - Hailing from Oxford, Perks is a fan favorite, I hear people shouting his name at games all the time. The hard working forward is also one of the quicker players on the team and he chipped in seven goals and seventeen points in 33 games.

Brad Reitter - At 5'7", 170, Reitter is on the smaller side, but do not let his size fool you. Like Perks, another speed demon who also wound up third on the team in points with 47. The Grand Rapids native made it easy to protect his rights.

Dante Suffredini - Along with Colten, another rock on the blueline who had to be kept. Suffredini also led the team in assists with 36 and finished fourth in points with 44. And he's another local guy.

Elias Thompson - Every team in the Fed needs toughness and at this level of hockey, every team needs that one designated tough guy. Elias fills that role perfectly. He's also quickly becoming kind of a folk hero to the fanbase with his heavyweight bouts and post-fight celebrations. His 138 penalty minutes led the team, but the fact he chipped in three goals and six points in such a limited role tells me "Big Sexy" has a lot more to give on the ice with increased playing time. 

Danny Vanderwiel - The former Plymouth Whaler joined the Rockers in late November and by the time 2023 rolled around, was named team captain and a player/assistant coach. His sixteen points in 28 games were a big contribution as well.

With those fifteen players protected, that means the rest of the roster is not and is available to the expansion teams at the time of the draft. Let's take a quick look at the players who were not protected.

Ricardo Gonzalez - The rookie goaltender joined the Rockers at the end of March and saw 42 minutes of action. Given his status, I'm honestly not even sure if his rights needed to be protected. I'll try to get this clarified. 

Dylan Johnson - Another player you might have forgotten about, Johnson joined Motor City at the beginning of December, popped in six goals and added five assists in just seven games, then was recalled to Birmingham of the SPHL, where he spent the rest of the season picking up thirty points in 38 games. More than likely, he wasn't coming back to the Motor City next season.

Cade Lambdin - This was the biggest surprise for me as Lambdin is another fan favorite. The undersized forward busts his tail every shift, blocking shots with reckless abandon and is not afraid to mix it up or get under the skin of any player on the opposing team. However, it's hard to argue with any of the fifteen protected. Unfortunately Lambdin may be playing elsewhere next season, but I'm certainly hoping a deal is worked out for him to return.

Jameson Milam - After former Red Wing Ian White signed in the ECHL, Milam was a welcome veteran presence on the blueline. He joined Motor City in late January and was a +22 while also contributing four goals with that booming slapshot of his and six assists. Milam has played at higher levels most of his career, but at 39 he might be ready to hang up the skates. And even if he is not, the Lake Orion native is not likely looking to play far away from home at this stage. 

Cody Oakes - Oakes joined the Rockers in mid-December after starting the year in Carolina, appearing in eighteen games and contributing eight points. But he is one of those players on the bubble when you look at who was protected, he just wasn't going to supplant any of those fifteen.

Nick Papandrea - Much like Oakes, Papandrea is another player who just didn't play enough to warrant being protected over the fifteen who were. Papandrea bounced around quite a bit in the 2022-23 season, seeing some time with Quad City of the SPHL and playing for Carolina, Elmira, Watertown and Motor City in the Fed. He joined the Rockers in March but only saw action in five late season games.

Travis Ridgen - The You-Tuber/podcaster/self-promoting Ridgen never really got much of a shot here, but credit to Trav, he has championed Trevor Babin as the best goaltender in the FPHL consistently on his podcast and social media. He knows it would be foolish to complain about not playing over Babin. Ridgen played in just 44 minutes before a season-ending knee injury took him out of the picture, but he did win one game for the Rockers, a wild 7-6 victory over Watertown in October, after he had to take over for Babin who was tossed from the game for fighting.

Ryan Rotondi - The Port Huron native signed with the Rockers on three separate occasions during the season and I was always impressed with his solid play on the blueline. In thirty games, Rotondi scored three goals and added five assists and also spent 41 minutes in the penalty box, always willing to take part in the physical side of the game. 

Blake Scott - Scott won the backup goalie battle and, at times, stepped in admirably when Babin was out, either due to suspension or illness. Scott went 11-5-2 in net, with a 3.69 GAA and .898 save percentage. He stood on his head in a shutout over Port Huron as well. But with Babin firmly the number one here, it's tough to use two spots on goaltenders and Scott did struggle at times letting in untimely goals, especially during a rough road trip to Mississippi in February after Babin was suspended. Scott was a solid backup, but my assumption is the team is looking for an upgrade.

Mike Winn - Another bit of a surprise, although Winn did miss a good portion of the season due to injury. Once he returned in March though, he was on the blueline every night logging a lot of ice time. On the depth chart, he fell behind Colten, Suffredini and Magill-Diaz who were protected. It will be interesting to see where Ann Arbor's Winn lands.

Before the protected list was announced, I had made my own best guess at the fifteen players Motor City would retain, and I was spot on with one exception. I had Cade Lambdin instead of Ross Bartlett, not knowing Bartlett's status. You really cannot argue with who was protected, and one important note for fans who may be upset about a certain player who was not. A lot can happen between now and the start of the regular season. Deals are made, players are left unprotected because teams know they won't sign elsewhere, or have no intention to even play next season in some veteran's cases. Just because a player is unprotected above, does not necessarily mean they won't be wearing a Motor City Rockers jersey come next season. On the other side of that coin, just because they were protected doesn't mean these fifteen are a lock to be there when the season starts. As I mentioned, players will be looking for opportunities in higher leagues, or maybe even overseas.  A lot happens in the offseason with player movement in minor league hockey and I'll be here to chronicle all of it involving the Rockers from now until opening faceoff in October.         

Welcome to The Rock Show

I've been a hockey fan since I was a little kid. Broke my leg ice skating when I was in first grade. Didn't stop me from getting back out there and dad obliged by freezing the back yard into an ice rink for a few years, complete with goals made from plastic piping and wooden "goalies" he made to shoot at. One goalie in a Detroit Red Wings uniform, the other in a Hartford Whalers jersey, my two favorite teams growing up. Red Wings games became can't miss appointments, I'd watch every one while keeping score in a notepad. Tickets were easy to come by back then so dad took me often, the team was absolutely horrible, the Dead Things era, and you had your pick of where to sit at Joe Louis Arena back in those days. My diehard fandom was finally rewarded in 1997 when the Steve Yzerman led Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup since 1955. I still vividly remember that night as if it were yesterday. 

While I remained a Red Wings fan, another pro hockey team arrived in the metro Detroit area in 1991. Ads for the Detroit Falcons of the Colonial Hockey League ran in the Detroit News at the time, boasting of a rough and tumble team playing out of Fraser at the Fraser Ice Arena. My first Falcons game was on a Sunday afternoon during the 1992-93 season against the Flint Bulldogs. They took to the ice to "Hair Of The Dog" by Nazareth, with it's key lyric, "Now you're messin' with a son of a bitch!" making everyone aware this wasn't hockey for the faint of heart. All it took was one game and I was hooked. Essentially the legendary hockey movie Slapshot played out in Fraser and the other arenas of the Colonial League for five seasons. The talent level of the league was better than expected, a mix of former college and junior players, minor pro vets and even some guys who had a cup of coffee in the NHL. The rivalries were great and there are so many wild stories from those years in Fraser and things I saw on the ice, and off the ice, I could write a book.

The Falcons moved to Port Huron after the 1995-96 season, a victim of poor attendance, and were rechristened the Port Huron Border Cats where they drew much bigger crowds until their owner completely flubbed plans to build his own arena to move the team to, another wild story I could write another book on. A year as a traveling hockey team with no home arena killed the fan base in Port Huron and the franchise never recovered.

I was working in the Blue Water area during those Border Cats years so I was still able to follow my beloved former Falcons, but nothing compares to a hometown team and I was ecstatic when the now United Hockey League announced a team would be returning to Fraser, in the same arena the Falcons had played in, for the 2004-05 season. The Motor City Mechanics were born, with former Red Wing Garry Unger as head coach, and I was all too eager to plunk down my money for season tickets. Unfortunately, Unger came from the Central Hockey League and underestimated the talent of the UHL and the Mechanics were absolutely horrible out of the gate. Everything changed that year when the NHL lockout cancelled their season and the Mechanics made waves by signing NHL'ers Sean Avery, Bryan Smolinski, Derian Hatcher and the legend himself, Chris Chelios. I've never seen the arena, now rechristened The Garage, in Fraser as packed as those games with the NHL guys in uniform, but it still wasn't enough to propel the Mechanics to the playoffs. When the next season rolled around and the NHL guys were back in The Show, The Garage was back to being half empty most nights and with the high budgets involved with running UHL teams, the Mechanics were done after two seasons.   

There was another minor pro team that called Fraser home for a short time in 2008, the Detroit Dragons of the All American Hockey League. But the less said about that league and franchise the better, the team folded after 14 games and the league never made it to a third season. So did I ever expect a minor pro hockey team back in Fraser? Once I started to read about the Federal Hockey League I always figured it was possible. The Fed started off as a complete gong show but has come a long way since its inception in 2009. Currently six of the league's ten teams are in former UHL markets and there are franchises in former AHL and ECHL cities as well. So I wasn't shocked when the Motor City Rockers were announced in 2020, set to play out of Fraser.

The COVID-19 pandemic squashed the initial incarnation of the Rockers but a new ownership group took over to finally bring the team to the ice for this season. Although I was unsure of what the quality of the hockey would be in the now renamed Federal Prospects Hockey League, I knew I had to be at the Rockers home opener to see for myself. I also could not resist seeing another pro hockey game in the storied old barn in Fraser, now known as Big Boy Arena, with so much minor pro hockey history and so many personal memories. And once again, from the first game I was hooked. Much like the early days of the Colonial League, I wasn't familiar with many of the players, but you quickly learn who the characters of the league are, the goons, the scorers, the best goalies, the biggest pests, and now I can't get enough of The Fed.

So why The Rock Show? For starters, I've written about minor league hockey in the past, covering the Border Cats for a local newspaper devoted to Michigan based hockey teams, and then covering the Mechanics for a now defunct website. The Rockers don't get enough coverage in the metro Detroit area and I'd like to help in whatever way I can to improve upon that. And minor league hockey is just a passion of mine. It's still the sport the way I grew up on it, before Gary Bettman stepped in and made the NHL both unrecognizable from the league I loved as a kid and, for me, unwatchable most nights. The best hockey to me on a pure entertainment level is the mix of skill, speed, grit and toughness the NHL once was with that underlying threat that at any second all hell could break loose. That element isn't in the NHL anymore. It is still very much prevalent in the minor pro game, especially at the level of the FPHL or SPHL, and to have it return to our backyard in metro Detroit is wonderful for hockey fans like myself who have been turned off to the modern NHL game.    

So welcome to The Rock Show. Here I plan to recap Rockers games, post team news, including player transactions as they happen, and give opinions on the team and league. I know I'm starting this late in the season but there is still a lot to cover in the last month with the Rockers in the thick of a playoff race. It'll be good to help me get back into the groove of writing to start this now, with the hopes there will be a whole off-season and second Rockers season to post about going forward. Let's rock.