Flying high

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BY JON BELL

0612 Dispatches Winterhawks 01
WHL Western Conference champions two years in a row, the Portland Winterhawks have sparked renewed excitement in Portland in more ways than one.
// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina

If you took a listen to the sports scene in Portland this spring, you probably didn't get much of an earful.

Sure, the Timbers Army — the motley crew that backs the city’s Major League Soccer team — was as boisterous and booming as always. But with the Timbers at the bottom of their conference in mid May, the noise was much more bark than bite.

Over at the Rose Garden in mid April, the Utah Jazz completely muzzled the Portland Trail Blazers in their final home game, slamming the door on a lackluster year that Paul Allen later called one of the most disappointing seasons in the 24 years he’s owned the team.

But just across the way at Memorial Coliseum, the building rumbled. Sirens wailed and thousands of fists bashed the air along with AC/DC’s T.N.T. every time the Portland Winterhawks scored a goal in their impressive run through the Western Hockey League’s 2012 playoffs. The team had already won 49 of 72 regular season games. They plowed through the Kelowna Rockets, the Kamloops Blazers and the Tri-City Americans on their way to their second conference championship in a row. And before sellout crowds of nearly 11,000 people in the Rose Garden they battled the Edmonton Oil Kings in a heartbreaking seven-game series that stopped them just short of a spot in the Memorial Cup, the world series of major junior hockey.

That a Portland sports team was actually doing well was remarkable enough. That it was the Winterhawks, whose last taste of the Memorial Cup came back in 1998 and whose prior management had driven them to the brink of nonexistence just a few years ago, was nothing short of miraculous.

“The revitalization has been pretty amazing,” says Ron Robison, commissioner of the WHL. “They have always been one of our most successful franchises, but they fell on some difficult times literally just four or five years ago. To see the way it has turned around has been great.”

And it’s not just on the ice that the Hawks are making waves. Over the past few years, the team has beefed up its community outreach efforts and helped reinvigorate youth hockey in a city with a rich history of the sport. It’s also poised to contribute $10 million to a $32 million overhaul of Memorial Coliseum, a long-overdue renovation that many believe will spur the revitalization of the entire 30-acre Rose Quarter district.

“We’re winning again, we’re getting notice from the press and now it’s becoming interesting to the business community, too,” says Doug Piper, who’s been president of the team since November 2008. “It is this perfect mix of winning games and exciting projects that have really turned around our fortunes.”



 

Comments   

 
Charlene
0 #1 mrs.Charlene 2012-06-05 21:34:44
thats right they are one of the best, if not the best sports team in Portland,they may not be big league but they make every game they play exciting and wanting more,i do not want to miss a game let alone a play!
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Political theater

News
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
0107-orbizplansum14-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit drew more than 1,000 people to the Oregon Convention Center yesterday.


Read more...

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


Read more...

Imperial Palate

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power Lunch at the Imperial.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president, plus an abridged Powerlist for the best commercial real estate firms.


Read more...

Old school: Paulsen's Pharmacy maintains old fashion ethos

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121914-pharmacy-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.


Read more...

That's Not a Watch (This Is a Watch)

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Tortoise and the Hare

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS