by SENShobo on 12/24/08 at 01:38 PM ET
Tis the season to be jolly, be merry, and of course to have wish lists for those shiny boxes under the tree come Christmas morn.
Like some children asking for a pony, or like me every time I asked for a car, some wish lists go unfilled, but just like the gifts themselves, the wishing and hoping is important. If not for now, then in some cases at least for later.
With that, I continue writing my NHL wish list, five things I’d like to see from the League that I believe will benefit not only fans, but the players and the League as well. Today, it’s about spreading the good word.
My NHL Christmas Wish List thus far:
Better out-of-arena viewing options for fans
Better and more accessible statistics
Better direction with the next CBA to heal and even grow the League
Better approach to League discipline, suspensions, and acceptable conduct
Today’s item: Better advertising for our game
It’s no coincidence that this wish comes last, since every previous wish helps it in some way. I can’t say I’ve seen every commercial for hockey in Canada and the States, but for all the opportunity they’ve had, the majority are still “Catch [player A] and the [team Bs] take on [player C] and the [team Ds], [day of the week] on [station holding broadcast rights for that day].”
In Canada, I’m never sure what to think when I see these commercials. On one hand, they put forth a notion of being satisfied, more of a public announcement than anything else, but even in Canada, the game can still be grown, the fans drawn into more games that may not feature their favourite team.
In the States, where the Phoenix Coyotes are trying to renegotiate a city lease and find new ownership support for the team and other franchises are still posting losses year after year, it’s even more critical.
Everything I’ve already spoken about in my wish list can help make the process better and easier. Better out-of-arena viewing options for fans gives them a chance to enjoy these games, being able to follow their favourite team whenever they take to the ice, or giving them the option of tuning in to games with a special draw. Better and more accessible statistics gives broadcasters and advertisers a new set of options to bring to light. I’m shocked when even rivalries aren’t mentioned all that much, especially to the uninitiated, but there is a wealth of statistics out there to help draw fans in with stories more compelling, fascinating to watch, than simply A&B vs. C&D.
Not only statistics, but Better direction with the next CBA to heal and even grow the League would help to give real parity to the League. Fans in Detroit, Boston, and San Jose might not want to put any stop to their steamrolling ways, but there’s far more exciting hockey to be had when every game is truly up for grabs, when fierce competition is what keeps teams in the hunt right into March, instead of the ‘loser point’. Finally, while not a direct form of positive advertising, Better approach to League discipline, suspensions, and acceptable conduct can help to stop the neverending questions posed about the League in a negative way, can help stop the awkward and unwanted explanations that parents could have to give to their kids.
We all know we have a great product, but even Avery had it right that it’s about more than A&B vs. C&D. There are rivalries aplenty, between teams, between players for on and off the ice moments, between cities for their history, between teams headed in opposite directions or the very same one. Our sport has hits just as hard as any in football, scoring plays that can be as exciting as any in basketball, and traditions, roots, and history as deep as those in baseball. I may cheer for the Sens, but I and every other fan should know that all our teams are hurt and hopeless without the health of the entire League. We have a great game, many great stories to tell, and no reason to keep quiet about it.
Merry Christmas, a Joyful New Year, and Happy Holidays to all.
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Native of Northern California. Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.
I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle. I watch, I react, I write it down.
My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked. I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind. When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom. It hasn't, I don't think it will. At all.
Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.
I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.
I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org