At the same time, I think that uniqueness has created barriers. There's no question the Leafs belong to Toronto or the Cubs to Chicago every bit as much as the Northmen belong to Orangeville or the Lakers to Peterborough. Those pro teams are at the core of those region's culture -- people cheer for the teams, wear their clothing, the city's mood even changes with wins and losses.
Notice I said the region, not the city. Even in the OHL, many fans don't come from the city. Oshawa draws more fans from the combination of Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Clarington, and Markham than Toronto. In Barrie, you see as many minor hockey jackets from Innisfil, Aurora, Newmarket, and Orillia as from Barrie. And in Kitchener, those jackets are as likely to be from Cambridge, Waterloo, Brantford, etc., as Kitchener.
By making the players so geographical, it's limited the target market. If a Burlington team is almost all Burlington, it's not likely to draw well from Hamilton. And I don't see Whitby draw fans from Oshawa, Ajax, and Pickering.
I understand your sentiment, yet why does it matter where the player was born? If a player plays for the Oshawa Generals, he's living in Oshawa, going to school in Oshawa, spending his money in Oshawa, whether he's born in Oshawa or Switzerland. As someone who's moved a lot, the concept of "these players are "from" here (whatever that means -- to me, where you're "from" is where you're living now) can be a little frustrating. I lived one place where a major local team only took players who were born in a certain geographic area, which I wasn't. That's a little different of course, but once I realized that team wouldn't have taken me, I definitely learned to despise that team and cheer for anyone else against them!!
I do think the idea of keeping a few protected players in a city makes a lot of sense. And it makes sense to have a lot of players who live locally, as there isn't the money on the game to make it a full time job. As long as that's based on current residence and not historic residence at some point, that's great. But if a player grows up and plays junior lacrosse in , say, Peterborough, but gets a job in Vancouver, he should't have to choose between his lacrosse career and his money making career by being forced to play senior in Peterborough.
Posted on Sep 4, 2011, 2:19 PM from IP address 22.214.171.124