We’re in the midst of the very first NHL Playoffs since 2004 and there seems to be always a common theme. No it’s not Ilja Bryzgalov shut-outs (although those appear to be happening quite often), it’s NHL bashing.
It’s not surprising that the NHL is not as popular whilst the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, or NCAA Football and Basketball for instance – however it gets treated by major media like it is a joke of a sport. Shows like Round the Horn on ESPN constantly make fun of anyone who actually watches hockey. They don’t pick on NASCAR, they don’t pick on soccer, and they don’t pick on tennis or golf. They pick on hockey.
Earlier this week, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wrote a write-up entitled “Hockey: The cold, hard, truth” by which he claims that no body wants to learn 하키중계 about hockey, and pleads sports sections and media outlets to stop covering it. He cites low NHL ratings as the main reason to stop covering it, and claims that “sports editors are from a period when hockey still mattered.” He states that “the WNBA and Major League Soccer” are in the exact same category whilst the NHL.
That’s funny, last time I checked, the NHL drew 16,955 fans per game – barely less than the 17,558 that the NBA averaged this season and just a tad bit more than the 8,174 that the WNBA drew in 2005. Last time I checked the NHL revised the principles for a far more exciting game, had two of the very exhilarating rookies in sports history in Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, and was in the midst of an exciting playoff run.
All of us know that the NHL isn’t the NFL, but it will deserve the respect for what it’s – an immensely popular sport that has an incredibly loyal following. Haters will point to the truth that hockey doesn’t have the ratings of Golf or even Arena Football, but fail to understand very much of the cause of having less interest is their incessant nagging about how exactly uninteresting it is. What would happen if the media promoted it like they promote golf or boxing? I know that I don’t particularly like those sports however when ESPN hypes up a battle for weekly, it has a tendency to peak my interest and I have a tendency to watch. Don’t you think the NHL bashing gets the reverse effect?
The NHL bears some responsibility because of this, but they don’t get any help from the national media. The NHL shouldn’t have allowed a work stoppage and they shouldn’t have allowed their game to be showcased on mediocre sports networks like NBC and OLN. However, they don’t deserve the treatment they are getting. They were able to evolve the caliber of play in 2010 and have given their fans everything and more that they may have called for coming from the work stoppage.
I’m fairly sure that hockey could be better off getting no attention from the media than the negative tail-whipping they’ve been getting lately. Someone wise once said when I didn’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. As it pertains to covering the NHL, the media should contact their local elementary school so that they may sit in on a kindergarten class. It obviously didn’t sink in the first time around.