Jump to navigation
The state of (NHL) hockey in the United States
About a week and a half ago, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Silicon Valley for work. With the NHL playoffs in full swing and the San Jose Sharks in the mix, I thought I'd share some of my experiences. First off I couldn't watch any of the games live as my hotel didn't carry Versus - I had ESPN and ESPN 2, but no Versus. And ESPN and ESPN 2 didn't really give hockey a lot of coverage. Highlights began almost 30 minutes into Sportscenter though they did have Barry Melrose commenting on some of the games, during the late night broadcast.
The other thing I found intriguing was a particulary commercial that always seemed to run during Sportscenter. It was for a hockey DVD compilation...a compilation of hockey fights! Some of the footage was probably 20 or 30 years old, showing bench clearing brawls and multiple fights on the ice - far from what the NHL is like these days. It got me wondering if gooning it up is what it takes to sell the game in the US? The answer of course is no, because hockey has never had much of a standing except in certain areas.
Back to hockey in Silicon Valley...I will say that many people were quite enthusiastic about the Sharks. I don't know how much of this was because they knew that I was Canadian (and hence a big hockey nut). I also got to learn that the Sharks are really trying to build up a core fan base and it shows in their gate numbers. The question now is whether there are more hockey fans, than the ones packed into the HP Pavilion?