Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?

Is Yosemite National Park ready for Freddie the Falcon?

Coming to the national park nearest you, professional hockey!

OK, not every national park, just Yosemite National Park. And really, it's semi-pro hockey, not the NHL.

But still, the question of whether this is an appropriate event for a national park bubbles to the surface. True, it's not as controversial as Toyota taking over Alcatraz Island for a private party complete with booze and burlesque.

But should there be a semi-pro hockey game played across from Half Dome and beneath Glacier Point?

Next Monday, the 14th, at 5:15 p.m. and again at 6:15 p.m. the double-A Fresno Falcons hockey team, and sidekick Freddie Falcon, will make an appearance at the Curry Village ice rink in Yosemite Valley.

Park officials are so excited about this that they're encouraging live satellite broadcasts of the event. "Special arrangements can be made to coincide with live shots during 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. broadcasts," they say.

Is this an attempt to compete with Disneyland?

Absolutely not, says Yosemite spokeswoman Adrienne Freeman. More simply, it's designed as a community event, one geared to the kids who live in Yosemite year-round and who even have their own hockey league, she says.

“I really do believe that it’s an opportunity for the kids in the club to come out to see some real hockey,” Ranger Freeman says. "If you question having the team play, do you also question having the rink? Many people do.”

But if hockey goes over big in Yosemite, what's next? Will the Billings Mustangs be invited to make an appearance at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park? Perhaps the Colorado Rockies can head up the road to Rocky Mountain National Park for an event.

Comments

Wow, that's a scary picture. Especially since I was the Fightin' Blue Hen mascot in college at the University of Delaware. Freddy looks a bit deranged. I wonder if they gave him a background check before they let him get near the kids!?

Actually, if it's a one-time thing, I don't see the big deal. Hockey is one of the few professional sports I still enjoy watching and it's one job in the US where illegal border crossers won't be taking over for less pay!

What is so egregious about this? A bunch of minor league hockey players skating in circles at Curry Village while the Fresno TV stations do live shots with their satellite trucks.

We're not talking about thousands of fans, or even referees keeping things even... just a promotional appearance in the community.

How, exactly, is the park harmed?

Merryland, I'm guessing the Blue Hen never put skates on during your time in Newark.

Will the for-profit hockey team pay royalties for their use (on TV) of the National Park? What rights do they have to re-broadcast images of NPS employees? What other for-profit enterprises can 'use' the National Park in this media-friendly way? Would my high-school hockey team be equally able to commandeer this piece of public property for an evening? In summary, how much policy review has this action received by our public officials?

TZ - You're not answering my question, just talking about a bunch of roadblocks you think should be put up before this happens.

How is the park harmed by two or three TV news trucks and two vans full of hockey players showing up at Curry Village for a few hours in the dead of winter?

Nick,

You're probably right, the physical aspect of the park won't be harmed. But does that make it OK to stage this sort of event in a national park, whether it's Yosemite or Golden Gate NRA? Were the parks designed to be backdrops for promotional events? Should Yosemite Valley be a backdrop for a semi-pro hockey team?

I raised this question last year when Toyota staged a party at Alcatraz, and when the Charlestown Navy Yard was rented out to a major health-care company. Were those appropriate uses?

Now, part of the difficulty in answering these questions in connection with the Fresno Falcons is the fact that there is a year-round community in Yosemite Valley. What rights does the community have to entertainment? Should it be like Anytown, U.S.A., or should there be some limits imposed because of its national park setting?

Where do you draw the line? Would it be OK to have a circus come to the valley as long as the physical environment isn't damaged?

What about Yosemite's visitors, folks who might have spent several thousand dollars on a vacation to come enjoy the valley and are confronted by those satellite trucks with their bright lights? Do you think they expected that when they booked their vacation? Some might think it's fun, some might not.

I think the difference is clear. Unlike Alcatraz or Charlestown, you're not bringing in more than a couple dozen folks for this visit. The benefits to the team are minimal — will this honestly help them sell hundreds more tickets, and even if it did, would those ticket sales cover the costs of van rental, a couple hours on the road, gas, etc?

It's not like they're paying TV stations to come out. If the TV stations do, that's great for the Falcons. These aren't the giant trailers behind arenas that broadcast games live — these are The Fox 12 Mobile Newsroom, or whatever satellite truck the local CBS affiliate owns or leases because their microwave transmitters won't work at that range. They'll be long gone before the first room goes dark at the Ahwahnee.

How is that different from TV stations coming out to report live after someone falls or drowns or otherwise has a horrible accident that leads off the evening news?

So no, it wouldn't be appropriate to bring a circus to Yosemite. But if somebody can come in as part of community outreach and use existing facilities — a conference room, an amphitheater or an ice skating rink — then what does it matter?

I covered this league for a couple of years in my sportswriting career, and I know the kind of thing that's going on here. Nobody's driving up from Fresno to watch the Falcons carve the ice at Curry Village. It's quite possible the TV stations won't even show. If a line has to be drawn, draw it — but be realistic about where it's set and don't use slippery slopes to establish it.

I'll be right there in agreement when the next NHL Winter Classic is scheduled between the Maple Leafs and Wild on a pond at Voyageurs, or when the Asheville Tourists play the Arkansas Travellers on a meadow in the Great Smoky Mountains. But if a local organization — even a for-profit organization — wants to make a low-key visit to a residential area in the anticlimax of the offseason, I don't see the issue. Park workers' kids didn't choose to live there, and they shouldn't be deprived the benefits of city living just because their parents happen to live within one of the wonders of nature.

Mook -- I tried roller skates at the local roller rink once -- it didn't go over too well.

That being said, the two previous Blue Hens before me always wore roller skates and skated around the parking lot before football games.

I do not believe that any of the natural resources should be accommodating human interests, unless humans are preserving the environment and the wildlife. Therefore, no, Hockey and any other human interests should not be allowed in, on, around, or underneath said park. You couldn't pay me enough to give up my rationale on this issue...nor is there enough "legitimate" funds in the world that could pay for rebuilding the harm that will be (not might or possibly) done to the environment and the wildlife. I'm sorry, but it's my own humble opinion that most of mankind is just not capable of ensuring the safety and preservation of what little "natural" life we all have left to enjoy. For gosh sakes people are voting on condoning hockey games in a very old glacier because it is a "natural made ice cap" while our own government is trying to persuade the rest of Americans to vote yes on the slaughter of the wolves in Alaska (and any other state that condones it) AND drilling for oil in Alaska where polar bears live.
The world has been around for centuries - how many places are still in their "natural" form?
Did you ever wonder why the US/Canadian govt has banned boats on the upper half of the Niagara Falls (limited boats on the lower end)?
Why some natural parks/beaches require a fee to visit these areas?
Why "feeding" the animals is not tolerated anymore?
Why some wildlife is more annoying to residential owners than others?
Did you know that some animals on land, in water, and in the air are migratory, and for decades have returned to where their migratory radar directs them to go...only to have it abused by man's "interests"? Example: some snapping turtles migrate along residential streets in Lake County, IL, but are usually run over by either impatient motorists or snow-mobiler's. I know this because I use to live there and we had migrating turtles in our ditches - their natural migrating path. Same with deer both in Lake County, IL and Kitsap County, WA. They have a migrating path which is more often then not obstructed by "new home communities," which reduces their feeding and mating grounds. There are so many examples in your own states, all you have to do is look around at man's history to change the landscape to what he wants. Still need proof, do the research yourself. Review information about your area, what it was like 5, 10, 20, 30, etc years ago, then see what happened that wasn't naturally created. By naturally, I mean how Mt St Helen erupted and over the years has replenished the grounds around her (yes, mankind has assist to a degree in her rehabilitation) and nature has flourished in its own time frame.
Before anyone decides why they should or should not agree to changing / using the natural resources still available for all organisms to in habit / enjoy, they should first: weigh their own beliefs, secondly: the beliefs of their "family" unit (families vary), thirdly: what this means to their community (local/state/country/world), and lastly how far they are willing to travel to see nature in all her splendor and wonder. I'm sorry for being preachy, but I've had enough of this balderdash about "why" something should occur to offset nature's balance and "how" mankind the world over will benefit from it, yet not one blessed piece of remorse for the destruction nor the rehabilitation of what nature has been able to balance for centuries without mans interference.
If you're angry at me for my opinion that's great... that means you're thinking about more than your own personal gain, and if you're not, well maybe you're more at peace with where nature is going to be in another 20 or so years.

There's a skating rink at Yosemite. That's where the hockey game will be played. It will be a fun little event.

I'd save the rambling gibberish for legitimate threats to the environment. Of course, there's already a global excess of hot air . . .

Ok. Hope this is succinct enough for you.

National Parks are not like everywhere else. They are as lands considered too unique for common use, but instead they are mandated by law to be preserved and protected for the enjoyment of future generations.

Where the hell does a hockey game come into the National Park mandate? How do future generations benefit from the noise, trucks, and carnival atmosphere? How does this possibly come even close to fitting into the National Park idea?

Yes there is a community there. But the community exists for the sake of the Park, NOT the other way around. The community has gone to gateways for hockey games before and for the park's sake, they should continue.

How the hell can we encourage less auto traffic, noise and light bombardment in Yosemite Valley and allow such non-mandated activities?

It's a crazy idea.

First of all, I did read that it is in the rink..thank you for adding your excess "hot air," and secondly you overlooked answering any of the questions I posted in said "hot air" message. This one in particular stands out the most from all the others I mentioned "Why some natural parks/beaches require a fee to visit these areas?" Either you don't get out much or you don't contribute to the preservation of the natural parks/beeches. The fees were placed there for "damage control," reimburse the rangers and other folks who are continuously cleaning up after well meaning folks who do visit during the off season, the funds purchase seedlings, bulbs, and other various materials that insure the safety and security of both the visitors coming during on season and the wildlife that inhabit these resources year round, and last but not least, these funds are collected to help assist in the repairs needed during climatic natural disasters year round, so that folks like you have a place to visit and enjoy.
So what harm can a few people coming in as an out reach program do to Yosemite park at an indoor skating rink... What was your answer to this original question? Nothing, just a personal attack on another members post. When you have something other than "hot air" to contribute... then post, otherwise do something more fruitful with your time and ours.

For those of you who actually care. The kids loved having the team up here to play. These are kids that make the choice of either going to a very small school (30 students Kinder. to 8th grade) where they don't have the same opportunities offered to them that most kids get in larger communities or being gone for school from before 6AM until around 5PM and still going to at least a small school (in the winter it's dark when they leave for school and dark by the time they get home from school).

The team being up here had less impact on the environment than your average everyday tourist, they didn't go tramping through the meadows that we are trying to restore just so they could build their cute little snowman, they didn't leave their trash all over the ground, they didn't try to pet the newborn deer (making it's mother reject it). No, instead they made a lot of little kids, who really don't get the opportunity to see a real hockey team everyday, very happy. So what if it was a stupid media thing, the kids had fun, the kids are our future they are what matters (these are kids who are growing up GREEN unlike most of the 'outside world').

And for those of you who don't like the tourism (which I'm right there with you even though it pays my paycheck)...It's just one of those unfortunate things in life, while the tourists may be 'loving the park to death' they are also what keeps it alive, for without the money they bring in there won't be money for National Parks at all.

BTW was anyone able to see it on TV?