Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/01/07 at 01:57 PM ET
This morning, I talked with Dan Wetzel, National Sports Columnist for Yahoo Sports. He wrote a recent column titled “Unhappy Anniversary” that has received much attention throughout the hockey community.
Dan is in Miami covering the “Big Game” and was glad to speak with me about his views on the NHL.
Dan was born in the early 70’s, raised in Massachusetts and played pond hockey on a daily basis. He was a huge Bruins fan, attending many a game and lived and died with the Bruins.
He recalls buying SRO tickets to games, which only gave him a view of 1/2 of the ice (he saw the Brad Park goal), and still cherishes those games and times like many of us do.
I asked Dan if he were commissioner, what changes would he make. Dan responded he is not qualified or as smart as Bettman and those running the game today, but the game that he once loved has lost its luster.
Stars such as Crosby & Ovechkin, should be household names in the United States, but hardly anyone knows who they are. The default channel for sports in the States is ESPN, and not having hockey on there is a major problem. Sports fans go to ESPN first, looking for a game and hockey is non-existent on the channel.
Dan loves the game but has questioned Bettman ever since he decided to change the names of the divisions- taking the history out of the game to make it more geographically correct. He also feel the game now caters to attracting new fans instead of remembering the old fans of the game. Dan mentioned a thousand decisions made by the NHL has put them in the position they are now in.
Dan Wetzel now lives in Detroit, and occasionally appears on WXYT radio there and claims hockey is way off the radar of sports fans, even in Detroit. Other sports have taken over the airwaves and it is sad. He said he talks to his sister in Boston, and it is the same there, just look at the attendance figures for this season.
In closing, my sense is Dan will always be a hockey fan. He doesn’t get to catch as many games as he used to, family and his job covering all sports are his priority, but in my brief talk with him, I get the impression Dan wants only the best for the NHL. He wants to see it accepted and embraced by sports fans and the media, just like us.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org