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Detroit Red Wings
Title track: 15
Fan relations: 22
Stadium experience: 92
Bang for the buck: 71
Change from last year: -30
Once deemed the gold standard for NHL franchises, the Red Wings dropped 30 spots in our fan ratings this year. Despite their 44th overall ranking, the team's ownership remains beloved by the Red Wing fans due in part to their relentless loyalty and drive to win. There's hope that the team's shift from the Joe Louis Arena to Little Caesars Arena can help make the Red Wings one of hockey's top franchises again.
If there's one thing that Detroit hockey has figured out, it's the ownership earning fans' trust and appreciation. Owner Mike Ilitch understands what it takes to be the best boss in all of sports. And for Ilitch, that means building a new stadium and rearranging staff and players to bring out the Red Wings fan in everyone. The Ilitch family exudes hometown pride and that shows in their efforts to make "the fan experience central in the design of the arena and surrounding neighborhood, known as The District Detroit," according to the Red Wings' public relations department. The Red Wings' ownership maintains a top 10 ranking simply because it strives to continue to enhance the fan experience and foster a community in Detroit, even after experiencing some bumps in the road.
The Red Wings slipped into the 92nd ranking of stadium experience, but don't let that fool you. The anticipation of Little Caesars Arena, slated to be the Red Wings' new home in 2017-18, can quickly make any fan forget about the third-oldest NHL arena killing their hockey vibes. With innovation in mind, the $627.5 million home of the Red Wings will ease any lasting memories of the Joe Louis Arena for the fans. Just the conception of this new arena has already led to a record rate of season-ticket renewals for Detroit. This new arena has one goal in mind: the fans. "Bringing fans as close to the action as possible and creating a blueprint that matches the steep incline and loud atmosphere of hockey's most intimidating arenas," says the PR spokesman.
When it comes to the players' ranking, the Red Wings took a huge blow, dropping from 16th to 52nd. The team won 41 games and ranked third in the Atlantic Division, but that wasn't enough for fans accustomed to titles. The coaching staff, too, can't seem to gain momentum with the fans after promoting AHL's Jeff Blashill last year. Down 25 spots, the Red Wings' staff continues to try to gain back the trust from the fans. With the hopes of gearing up for a more prosperous season, Blashill and general manager Ken Holland announced earlier this month that Justin Abdelkader will join Henrik Zetterberg and alternate captain Niklas Kronwall as the official leadership team. Just like they await their new arena, the fans are eager to see what Detroit is made of this year.