A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum…

Paul Balm focuses on a nugget of information from the Elite League’s new found openness

It looks like the EIHL are finally starting to crack open the doors to their ivory tower and let us minions have a peek inside (presumably so we can find out what the outside influences are or at least to let them escape). After their latest board meeting they told us what they were talking about and it looks like some of it actually seems like a good idea! OK, I’m being a bit critical here but at times it’s difficult to be anything else after the decisions and edicts we’ve seen at times over the last few years.

Tucked away in the penultimate paragraph of all this there was one that really caught my eye as being a good thing if it’s done right. If I can get away with quoting the press release it said: “There is also the potential to hold a Fan Forum where each club sends a set number of elected or chosen supporters to take part in the fan forum at the Playoff Finals Weekend to discuss future plans of the Elite League with club owners and/or general managers.”

This is a great idea and something that I’ve been advocating that the Panthers should have been doing for years (which is probably why I think it’s a great idea) if it’s done properly and I’m afraid, for me, in this cynical mood I find myself in this afternoon that’s quite a big IF.

Anyone who is successful in business knows that it’s more important to listen to the people who don’t like something about your product than those that do. If you love tomato ketchup, then Heinz aren’t really going to learn much from your opinion but if you tell them it’s too salty or too sweet? Then they may make changes to improve it. OK, this doesn’t always work – whatever happened to New Coke?

The point I’m trying to make is that in order for forums of this nature to work the owners will have to take the rough with the smooth. There’s no point simply making this a PR exercise and invite a bunch of yes men or women that will sit and ask simple questions and nod at glib platitudes. I wonder if the idea of elected or chosen supporters is the right way to do something like this (although I’m struggling to think of another way if I’m honest so I’m not really helping here am I?) and could end up hindering the process. Will a club really want to send someone who is going to ask awkward questions? I’m not sure I’d want that at something as public at this in front of other fans at something like the play-offs.

And maybe that’s the thing. Maybe instead of having one for all teams the league should be encouraging the owners (can someone encourage themselves?) to be holding these individually and (this a biggy as well) regularly. There are problems with this, it’s a heck of a lot easier for Hull to do this than Nottingham but knowing what your customers think isn’t important it’s vital. OK, sport is different to soft drinks, I’m not going to change my team because I don’t like the new flavour (squad) but if there’s something off ice that I don’t like that’s going to affect whether I want to go or not isn’t it?

Like I said at the beginning I think, if it’s done properly, this is a great idea and the EIHL board should be applauded for it if it comes off. I really hope it does.

Vote Paul for your Elected Representative this April! (I’m joking)

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12 Responses to “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum…”


  1. 1 Kelly swanson January 9, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    You’re joking? You Don’t actually want to be voted for? Whatever.

    Got to love the Panthers super fans!

  2. 5 Paul January 9, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks for making me chuckle Kelly

  3. 6 Paul January 9, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Oh, and thanks for reading all the way to the end, most don’t & you can probably see why. I don’t blame them at all

  4. 7 Kelly swanson January 9, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    How about we see of any of the TCW super fan crew get voted for and if they accept? I just wish everyone would for me. (I’m joking)

  5. 9 Daryl Slinn January 10, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    As long as the forum isn’t being run by the loud mouth brummie and any comments made by the public aren’t publicly shot down in flames then why not.
    VOTE PAUL (starts here)

    • 10 Kelly swanson January 13, 2015 at 6:51 am

      You just gave them exactly what they wanted! The reason they wrote this article and spammed the cage and twitter with it (minutes after the announcement) was to get their name out there. They’ll get voted in, say they didn’t want it and then ask you all to tell them how good they were. So super.

      • 11 The Cat's Whiskers January 13, 2015 at 7:37 am

        You seem to have a problem with us Kelly, you could always talk to us about it or is sniping from behind a keyboard much easier?

  6. 12 Paul Balm January 13, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Thanks Daryl, at least someone gets it.

    Kelly, I doubt there’s much I can say that will make you change your mind so I’m not going to. Suffice to say that my issues with the whole idea of this fan forum have nothing to do with any desire to be part of it. I said it was a good idea but not one that I would want to be elected to. If you don’t want to believe that then fine. I know what I meant and how I feel and that’s more than enough for me. Can I finish by asking you a question? Have you read my other articles?


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