Owning a hockey team is SUPER FUN, right, Chuck?... Right?... Chuck?...

About once a week, I think, “Gosh, wouldn’t it be great to have a job in hockey so I could get paid to obsess over hockey?”

But then I remember the egos in sports management, the low pay because profit margins are thin, and the long hours for that low pay, etc. etc.

At which point I realize the gig I really want is just being rich and OWNING a team. Brilliant!

Now, I haven’t figured out the being rich part because, well, I’m a writer . So, my only option is to start playing the lottery, which I’m going to start doing right away, because – you guys – the Wheeling Nailers are for sale!

Some day you'll be mine, Wheeling Nailers! Logo provided by SportsLogos.net

Of course, as a responsible adult, I need to make smart financial decisions, so I present my list of pros and cons for buying the Nailers (as opposed to some other team) when I win the lottery:

Pros

  • I understand West Virginia can be quite lovely, and Wheeling’s web site has some very nice pictures of the town, with some tidy old brick buildings and a nice church and a big clock. I’m sure it’s quite charming.
  • The Nailers have been playing there for 20 years and are integral to the fabric of the community.
  • They’re called the NAILERS. Sexual prowess AND toughness is built right into the name of the team! Genius and right up my alley.
  • Affiliated with the Penguins and those guys are pretty good.
  • Probably a reasonable price because, well, it’s Wheeling and it’s the ECHL.

Cons

  • It’s Wheeling and it’s the ECHL.
  • I giggle and do a little hip thrust every time I say “Nailers” (I’m sure I’d get over that eventually, right?)
  • It’s probably not as much fun owning a team as it looks, especially when you insist on being the GM as well, which I clearly would.

Obviously, the pros outweigh the cons, so when I do win the lottery, I’m totally giving myself the green light to go do this thing. Fortunately, I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about the things I’d do if I owned a hockey team, so I can hit the ground running.

Personnel

  • First order of business, I’d sign Barry Brust to an “as long as you want to play” contract at whatever the going rate in the DEL is for awesome, handsome, funny goalies. I’d guess it’s quite a lot relative to the usual ECHL salary, and I’m perfectly okay with that. Back the Brinks truck up. You can build a franchise around a guy like that.
  • Buy a cardboard cutout of a #2 goalie to stick on the bench. That guy’s never going to play anyway if I have my say. And I will because I OWN the team. Woo!
  • At least one forward with flowing blonde hair who scores a lot of goals. Every team needs one for the skater-loving girls to swoon over. (Totally don’t get those girls, BTW. But as the owner, I want their money, so… )
  • Lots of grit but no pure fighters. It’s a new era and Ms. Conduct’s Wheeling Nailers are nothing if not progressive.
  • A coach with a high beerability rating who will tell me lots of great hockey stories when we go out drinking.

Game Ops

  • On the list of things I’d be super stoked to have control over, right behind signing goalies is picking the music for the game. I would give the players some voice in the warm-up music though. At least, the players who don’t like country music.
  • One of my favorite things ever at hockey games is when the person in charge of music cleverly has songs for certain players, either on their own team or opposing teams. Like, if an opposing Swedish player scored or got a penalty, I’d fire up “Dancing Queen” by ABBA with absolutely no mercy. (Wait, do Swedes even bother with the ECHL or do they just go to Sweden and play? Well, anyway, you get my point.)
  • We would also definitely have a “sexy glove save” song. My finger would be hovering over that button the whole game… so to speak. Right now, I’m thinking “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO. Perfect, right?
  • Lots and lots of chucking free stuff into the crowd. People love the crap out of that and it distracts them from a bad game (not that MY team would ever play poorly or anything).
  • Teddy Bear Toss twice a year. Boom! You’re welcome, disadvantaged and/or sick children of West Virginia!

I would have the keys to this baby, WesBanco Arena, where my Nailers play. That is bad ass. It even comes with snow! (Photo by Ryan Stanton)

Other Stuff

  • “Security” cameras in the locker room. I need to (personally) monitor for, uh, a rash of, uh, sock tape theft? Yes. That.  *ahem*
  • Bonus incentives to the goalies for points and fights to encourage goalie behavior I enjoy, like chippiness and dramatic, risky outlet passes to his teammates in the neutral zone. Oh baby…
  • Like any minor league team, we’ll have awesome theme nights (“Burt Reynolds Night” is high on my list) BUT I will not put my players in corny, ridiculous jerseys. I’m not a monster: If they have to put up with the indignity of the team owner leering at their muscles all the time, they shouldn’t also have to put up with the indignity of a bad uniform.
  • Finally, I’d do the charity calendar I’ve always wanted, fireman-style, firm butts and biceps aplenty. I’m sorry if your wife/girlfriend/mother does not approve, sugar, but it’s in your contract. Plus, you’re helping cure cancer/rescue puppies/feed homeless/whatever, so say cheese.

I’m sure there’s other very important stuff to think about as the owner/GM of an ECHL team but these are the things I’d be hyperventilating with excitement about. Hopefully I’ve won enough in the lotto to hire someone to do that crap I’m not excited about, like doing math and firing people.

So, what’s on your list of must haves and must dos if you suddenly owned a hockey team of your very own?