April 7th 2009
OPEN LETTER TO OUR FANS
On Saturday, I was reminded of how fragile a sports franchise can be. A fan of ours in a Rock jersey looked up into the box in which I was sitting and yelled “Get owners who want to win!” Honestly, it got me thinking.
I have had the privilege to be the Toronto Rock President for the past ten years, we had tremendous success early on with attendance records and Championships but obviously in recent years we have struggled both in wins and fan support. Has the ownership group changed its mandate of winning and providing an entertaining product for the fans of the Toronto Rock? My answer is no.
We have continued to spend money to bring the top players into this market, have continued to invest in lacrosse in Ontario and have continued to bring an entertaining experience off the floor to the ACC. So why would a fan think we are doing anything but trying to win?
I can tell you personally, I have never been more disappointed in a team than what I have witnessed this season. Be it either the chemistry of the players, coaching decisions or maybe just strictly the lack of consistency, we have failed to reach our goal. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the results this year have been too low.
I was watching Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday and he said “trailing hockey is losing hockey.” It reminded me of six games this season when we began our games trailing by two or more goals in the first quarter. It’s hard to win when always trying to catch up. In order to be successful, our best players need to be our best players on a game by game basis, this has not happened.
So what does all of this mean? I, like many of you, am very frustrated with the results these past few years. The Rock have succeeded in Ontario due mostly to our fan support and I don’t want to lose that. Rock fans are the key to success for the future of this franchise and I understand that many of you are getting frustrated.
I am not one to quit and I guess that is really the message of this letter. I feel that that with our struggles this year with the team, the economy and our effort, it would be easy to give up, but as President, I am not going to let this season destroy a proud franchise.
Fans, and to the one fan in particular whom I mentioned earlier, I hope that you do not for one second think there is any motive for the ownership group to do anything but provide a winning team. I was wrong to think that this team was rebuilt for this season and for that I will take responsibility. But I will tell you this, we as an organization will make the changes needed to not make that mistake again.
As I write this letter there is still a chance, though out of our control, to make the playoffs but I wanted to address this particular fans’ concerns immediately.
I have attached my email and phone number to this letter and would be more than willing to answer any questions or address any concerns that you as fans might have.
Thank you for your time.
416-596-3075, ext. 227