Kukla's Korner Hockey
Make a commitment to the next World Cup, and hockey fans will respond with their hearts and wallets, more than they did this time. They want to see the best. But they need to feel that it’s about the hockey and making history, not just another way to wring a buck out of those who love the game.
-Damien Cox of the Toronto Star where you can read more on this topic.
It’s tough to come down hard on hockey fans in Toronto given all they’ve gone through, but surely it wasn’t lost on NHL brass how disappointing the World Cup crowds were.
Despite millions of dollars in marketing and promotions around downtown Toronto that included an expansive and pricey fan zone, endless advertising and six-foot high pucks at hundreds of street corners, the rare chance to see hockey’s best-on-best featured thousands of empty seats most games.
Yes, the tickets were pricey and, yes, it’s hard to get too jacked about a Finland/Sweden matchup, but in a supposedly hockey-starved city with money and a population base like that, every game should have been sold out.
Clearly, the next incarnation of the world Cup needs to move to a place like Edmonton, where its fans will once again demonstrate what it’s like to be a real fan of the game.
Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun at Canoe. Francis has more on the World Cup.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Pierre LeBrun sat down with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr on Thursday night before the final game to discuss the event's impact and its future.
Pierre LeBrun: Can you share your observations so far on how the World Cup has played out?
Donald Fehr: The first thing I would obviously look for is, How do the players feel? And it seems to be uniformly positive. They like the event, they like the format, they really enjoy the level of the competition and doing it in one place without having to fly around the world. So that's really good.
Secondly, I think the public acceptance of the quality of the event has also been really good. In terms of the future though, and going back to see what could we have done better or differently -- what would it look like if it was in a different place, if the format was slightly altered? -- that's yet to come. I think we're going to examine it to see what can be made better, not to see what was a problem.
LeBrun: [The NHLPA] has agreed with the league that there will be another World Cup, right? There won't be another 12-year wait like the last time?
Fehr: No, [the next one will be held in] 2020, absent something very unusual happening.
from Danny Ecker of Crain's Chicago Business,
Major League Baseball's fingerprints are starting to show up more clearly on the NHL.
In one of the first major new product launches since MLB Advanced Media took control of the NHL's digital assets, the league next week is expected to roll out a new mobile app called "Arena" that is modeled after the "Ballpark" app that MLBAM introduced in 2012, according to sources close to the leagues.
Specific details of what the new app will include are under wraps, but it stands to be a substantial in-stadium smartphone tool if MLBAM puts as much emphasis on "Arena" as it has on its baseball version.
When MLBAM launched the "Ballpark" app in 2012 (then called "At The Ballpark"), it was designed to be a useful second-screen tool for fans in the stands with team and league content, social media and the ability to check-in at games. MLB has since beefed it up, adding the ability to purchase and manage tickets, upgrade seats and even buy food and beverages from your seats at some ballparks.
The "Arena" app will add features over time in a similar way and may not be used by all NHL teams to start, one source said.
NEW YORK (Sept. 28, 2016) – In support of the continued growth and momentum of the National Hockey League’s national business, Heidi Browning has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the NHL, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced today. Ms. Browning, who joins the League after leading digital marketing strategies and solutions for companies including Fox Interactive Media, Universal McCann and, most recently, Pandora, will assume her duties Oct. 10.
Browning will place a particular focus on digital and social initiatives and developments. She will be responsible for executing the League’s marketing campaigns, including strategy, creative development, production and distribution. Browning also will help identify and incorporate new marketing technologies and strategies to promote the NHL and broaden its reach across traditional and digital channels.
In addition, Browning will oversee the League’s environmental initiatives as well as its public affairs efforts. She will work with MLBAM across the League’s social platforms to devise distribution strategies and content initiatives.
Commissioner Bettman also announced a series of NHL Enterprises changes pertaining to the business and media functions:
I tweeted this earlier today but I know many of you don't use Twitter, so watch this short but funny story.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Also notable is that Babcock clearly feels that the next World Cup should be made up of teams representing their countries and not include the 23-and-under North American team or the team he's facing in the finals, Team Europe. I happen to agree with him. I think a traditional field is the way to go, with a European qualifying event the year before the next World Cup to determine the final few teams in the field. If the NHL doesn't go to South Korea, I think there will be even more onus on having an Olympic-like, traditional field for the next World Cup.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Tuesday that no decisions had been made, either way, yet in terms of which teams would take part in the next World Cup.
"We haven't evaluated [that] yet. When we debrief with the Players' Association we'll focus on the format of future World Cups,'' Bettman told ESPN.com. "(But) I don't think anybody can suggest that this tournament wasn't more exciting because of the Team Europe and Team North America concepts. There's no doubt that those two teams were more competitive than the seventh and eighth countries would have been.''
added 2:38pm, below, press releas on Wayne Gretzky being named as the Centennial Ambassador
NEW YORK/TORONTO (Sept. 27, 2016) – With the incomparable Wayne Gretzky serving as the official ambassador, the National Hockey League will venerate its history, celebrate its present and anticipate its future with a year-long Centennial celebration in 2017.
The Centennial celebration will commence on January 1, 2017, in Toronto with the NHL Centennial Classic™ outdoor game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at BMO Field. It will witness the unveiling of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles Jan 27-29. And it will visit every NHL market and dozens of other local hockey communities during a 12-month festival of events and content initiatives culminating with the anniversary of the League’s founding on Nov. 26 and first games on Dec. 19.
Gretzky, the League’s all-time leading scorer and holder of dozens of NHL records, will make appearances at various events throughout the calendar year in his role as Centennial Ambassador.
Commissioner Gary Bettman and Wayne Gretzky at a press conference to announce the NHL’s Centennial Anniversary plans.
The event in Toronto is expected to start at 2:00pm ET, watch the stream below...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com