by Patrick Hoffman on 10/09/11 at 10:00 AM ET
This is something that could definitely be applied to the National Hockey League and European Expansion.
As most hockey fans are aware of, the league has been displaying its game in Europe to kickoff the season for the past few years now. The NHL has had games in Prague, Sweden, and many other countries abroad to help grow the game and show that their league is the best hockey league in the world.
With that in mind, one has to wonder if the league would ever consider expanding into Europe. Here are some reasons why that would be a good idea:
- Would Help Grow the Game: As most hockey fans know, their sport is not very popular, especially in the United States. By expanding into Europe, the league would be able to showcase the best players in the world and show that their hockey is the best kind of hockey around. It would more than likely become popular abroad and may be that would translate back to North America as well.
- Would Enhance the Competitive Aspect of the Game: Even when NHL teams are playing preseason games abroad, the non-NHL teams are trying to show the world that they can beat a National Hockey League team. If the NHL ever expanded into Europe, this would create more competitiveness and also make games a lot more interesting as both clubs would be playing for pride.
- Would Be A Return Home: It would give players a chance to play games in their home country in front of their family and friends. The NHL has an abundance of Europeans currently playing in the NHL so this would be a good way for them to play where they grew up.
Obviously, when there is the good, there is also the bad:
- Travel: Having games overseas would clearly impact travel. It would be tough to travel overseas, play a game or two and then come back to North America and play more without much of a rest.
- Viewing: It would be tough for die-hard fans to watch their favorite teams due to the time difference. Obviously, fans can now follow the game online but if they wanted to watch it live, they would have to miss work/school/etc.
The NHL may be far from doing something like this but it is always fun to imagine the “what if’s”, especially when it comes to the sport that we all know and love.
What do you folks think?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.