Today on CNN.com’s front page, we are led to a gallery of “the best (and strangest) NHL goalie masks”.
It’s actually provided by Sports Illustrated (which is part of the CNN.com network), and reminds us that at least in one respect, the NHL stands far above its major league sports peers in allowing personal expression by the athletes.
As fiercely as hockey teams compete on the ice for supremacy in the standings, the Game Operations staffs in various sports venues also battle to provide the most entertaining fan experience possible. A new generation of technological amenities presents both challenges and opportunities in that area.
In today’s Athletic Business, they discuss examples like the Megatron, installed a year ago in Nashville’s Sommet Center, as well as upgrades to Crisler Arena, where the University of Michigan plays basketball:
Purchasing and installing such a graphic display system isn’t done for the sake of ornamentation; it’s done to stay competitive in what has essentially become an ongoing race to remain in the state of the art. And since it’s not feasible for many athletics facility owners — from high schools to major sports franchises — to completely rebuild or renovate their facility each time a technological innovation infiltrates the marketplace, there are currently a range of technologically advanced a la carte upgrades available to help facilities stay competitive.
So when are we going to see robotic popcorn vendors?
NHL.com offered a free public preview of its GameCenter technology this evening, but instead of an integrated presentation of game video, audio, statistics and chat, all fans got was this…
Folks seem to love bashing the NHL as a business entity, but on one key front they are positioned to make good progress. Target Marketing.com has a report today on a new, customer-oriented and database-driven approach to marketing that the NHL is pursuing, with the goal of “activating the avid fans”:
Sportswriter Jimmy Cannon once said, “A rabid sports fan is one that boos a TV set.” But this isn’t the only behavior that sets avid ice hockey fans apart.
NHL data shows that avid fans attend lots of games, consume hockey through multiple media and are inclined to use high-tech products, such as broadband and high-definition television. They demonstrate a higher incidence of fantasy league involvement and are the biggest spenders of all hockey fans. Predominantly male, the mean age of avid fans is 39. About half have families with children…
At last count, the NHL had 20 million avid fans: 13 million in the United States and 7 million in Canada. That represents more than a third of the league’s 53 million fans throughout North America.
Recently I wondered what some of the best hockey podcasts were out there, and I’m pleased to say I’ve found that a welcome, recent addition to the online hockey world in The Rink Podcast, which has just been added to the links found in the sidebar of this blog.
Today, Tom Luongo and James (aka Tapeleg) roll out Episode 2. Besides having Tom & James provide their commentary on the league at large, each episode features an interview with a guest blogger, and today’s guest is Sherry from Scarlett Ice, a prominent Ottawa Senators site.
Since we’ve got a few days between the opening games in Europe and the main Opening Night here in North America, I guess we should thank the Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning for making a trade that can generate some conversation while we wait.
For a deep dive into Michel Oullet’s numbers, and a case for Vancouver possibly landing a gem, head on over to MC79Hockey:
I’ve been impressed with Mike Gillis so far. I know that there was a lot of criticism of his strategy this summer but he struck me as a guy doing the right thing: if the move didn’t make sense, he didn’t make it. It was like the polar opposite of Kevin Lowe’s 2007. If Ouellet ends up in the NHL, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he ended up putting up decent numbers. At the very least, it should make Kyle Wellwood feel the need to stay in shape.
The Sports Business Journal is reporting that as of August 15th the season ticket renewal rate was just 40% for the Thrashers.
I’m in Indiana for the weekend, so imagine my surprise to read this morning’s Indianapolis Star and find a feature on hockey:
When Justin Lyle was told to pick up “the Swedish kid” from the airport, he wasn’t sure what he was looking for—but it wasn’t Mikael Owilli.
The only thing saving the Indiana Ice assistant coach from a fruitless trip was the lengthy bag attached to Owilli’s hand, holding his hockey stick.
“I knew nothing about him,” Lyle said. “Zero. Luckily, he was carrying a stick bag.”
Paul Newman, the legendary actor whose steely blue eyes, good-humored charm and advocacy of worthy causes made him one of the most renowned figures in American arts, has died of cancer at his home in Westport, Connecticut. He was 83.
To most of the world, Newman was known for his roles in “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid”, “Cool Hand Luke”, and other popular, critically acclaimed films.
Hockey fans the world over, however, know him as Reggie Dunlop, the iconic player/coach of the Charlestown Chiefs in “Slap Shot.”