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Soo Greyhounds hearing it from fans about noisy arena

Under Sheldon Keefe, the Greyhounds have an OHL-best .857 point percentage (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

Hockey is Canada's religion, but it's not supposed to be quiet like a church inside an arena.

There are a few arenas throughout junior hockey that are so quiet during games that you can actually hear coaches calling out instructions to players from the bench. Up in Sault Ste. Marie, the Soo Greyhounds are playing a brand of hockey that's very pleasing to the eye, as evidenced by their 11 wins in 14 games. Now some of the patrons are displeased about the toll the din inside the Essar Centre is taking on their ears. Perhaps you have to be there to appreciate the crux of this grievance, but at first blush one has to wonder if this ran in the Sault Star or The Onion.

From Mike Verdone:

Director of game day operations and community relations with the Hounds, Megan Dubas, says they “do get quite a bit of complaints” from fans.

“It's more (about) the loudness and how people can't socialize or talk to their friends in the stands.”

Dubas said the players request the music be loud. It's about generating excitement.

“That's why we play the music louder for warmups,” she said.

“Anything with that is usually involved with just trying to create an atmosphere for our players to play in, and kind of get them pumped up.” (Sault Star)

In other words, it's Hound Power vs. Grey Power. People of an older vintage make up a large part of major junior hockey's core fanbase. It's important not to be too mocking here, since hearing loss is a fact of life as we get older. This probably illustrates the universal age-youth gap. As Dubas noted, the team wants the pump up the volume to get their 16- through 20-year-old players' competitive juices flowing. There is an argument that if someone is coming out to watch young hockey players do their thing, then on some level they have to appreciate what goes into making that possible, i.e., the cranked-up warm-up music. An arena atmosphere designed to inflame the senses also helps with getting children excited about being at the games, helping build a lasting loyalty to the team.

If there's issues with music and the public-address announcements being distorted by the Essar Centre's acoustics, that needs to be fixed. The "can't socialize or talk to their friends" gripe is a little amusing — isn't that what a coffee shop is for?

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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