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52682Re: Why not Hamilton?

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  • William Underwood
    Sep 3, 2009
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      John, as an American I can ASSURE you that it has been sold to us! But in
      the general US public it is a punch line to a joke or a "cult sport". Did it
      ever occur to you that the NHL has a tough time GETTING on networks.and your
      facts are a bit off.



      1-The networks only looked at the WHL in the early 60's until the NHL did
      PRECISELY what they wanted.they expanded. The actual fact is that in 1967
      the NHL did EXACTLY what the networks wanted, they expanded coast to coast
      in the US. They were even market conscious taking in Philly who needed a new
      arena.

      2-When they went on Sports Channel, it was not ESPN but at the time was a
      competitor that since ESPN has left in its wake. It had a huge reach. It WAS
      then on ESPN, in fact BOTH ESPN's and shoved down the American markets
      throats! You had games on the Deuce almost every night and they promoted the
      hell out of it! And do you want to know why the NHL lost ESPN? It wasn't the
      lock out.it was the RATINGS which by the end had gotten it more or less
      consigned to the Deuce as opposed to regular ESPN! POKER was drawing better
      ratings as was women's basketball! Arena football did better. It's ratings
      were down there with lower level soccer. It was ON ESPN, promoted out of the
      wazoo by them, you could not turn the darn thing on without NHL this or that
      advertised, they used announcements, their clever little ads, it got a lot
      of sports center time, they had NHL Tonight and a general full court press
      but people just didn't buy.



      You say that Americans "buy ridiculous concepts." but there are two
      flaws.one most of them have a short shelf life. Two, most of them are
      American concepts.born out of an American imagination with a certain degree
      of practicality to them. Hockey fits neither.it is a sport that is not an
      American invention, I always say that a sport is reflective of the society
      that creates it's soul.Hockey is Canada's soul not the America's. Yes that
      soul can be transplanted but it has to be transplanted into receptive soil.
      Ultimately hockey is a WINTER game, most of America is not a winter country.
      Add on it is not very practical.as I said before, you don't just pick up a
      stick and play this one out of the box. It takes YEARS to master. To even
      play it properly it takes a lot of time to even learn how to skate. Now you
      can say "what of street or roller hockey".they are simply NOT the SAME game.
      And even they require some equipment and learned skills. Take it from me, I
      did not grow up on skates.I remember how much it cost to just learn how to
      skate in a relatively northern city.it meant going to a RINK as we have no
      natural ice to speak of.each trip meant someone had to get me there (tougher
      today in two parent work homes) and we had to pay for that ice. In the US
      rinks are 99% private, so you have little communal subsidization to cut
      costs. And it took countless hours of falling on my tail to learn.THEN we
      get to the skills which are NOT directly transportable form the street to
      the ice.you can be a terror on the street but not even be able to lift the
      puck at first on ice, until you learn the balance, the different surface,
      the different weight of the puck and the different weight exchange which is
      the real key on skates. Kids get frustrated and quit.but down here this is
      NOT a sport that you learn on a whim! The equipment costs are PHENOMINAL and
      do you know something.when you play on a top midget or junior team in Canada
      at least they are in part taken care of.down here you are on your own.at
      JUNIOR A games I see fathers cringe when a stick gets broken as the
      inevitable pro shop trip is coming.Are you Aware that the VAST majority of
      American hockey is tuition based and as rinks are not helped by sponsors or
      the community ice costs are THROUGH THE CEILING! It can go 4-500 an hour! So
      tuition for a TRAVEL team down here is largely in the 5-10,000 range. You
      also have to pay for travel, it can EASILY get into the 12 -15 grand range!
      And this is Philly, the further south you go the worse it gets.Add on odds
      are there is not a rink in your town, there are kids who have to drive 30-50
      miles for ice and that is in an area that has WAY more rinks than most of
      the country outside of maybe Michigan, New England and Minny. It is not a
      sport that is all that accessible to many Americans so how do they build
      that bond? Seeing the NHL live is expensive. Now we do have minor league
      hockey but it is not pervasive and it is not stable, teams are in and out of
      existence year to year. And for the most part amateur hockey has ZERO
      appeal. High school hockey is not played at the school and here you have the
      big a boo of insurance come into play. Many high schools do not even
      officially recognize their team, it is a club. They don't want the insurance
      risk for players and crowds as they are not on school property and duly
      monitored. Outside of Minny high school has little or no draw.not even in
      New England outside of prep and parochial where the crowd is a couple of
      hundred students working off demerits and faculty to make due note, parents,
      and a dozen or so scouts. Club, even most junior hockey gets no coverage.I
      have been at EJHL junior A games around here and if you have 50-80 family
      members there it is a decent crowd and the Hitmen LED the EJ in attendance!
      :-) Take away family and scouts and the place is pretty much EMPTY! Even
      college hockey has a spotty following.yes in some small communities it is
      big and then there is Minny.but I have been to pretty sparse Hockey East
      games where the attendance is 90 % students. And in the ECAC, well Princeton
      has a had a good team of late but when the students are out.unless you have
      a Cornell who have a big New York area alum, it is pretty empty and when
      Cornell comes to town I always joke."gee it is nice here in Ithaca
      tonight".Cornell fans outnumber Tiger fans! Once the local Trenton Titans
      became the Devils and promo was cut and the arena lost its luster of being
      new.the crowds dropped by over 50 %...They tried college games at the pro
      building, they even brought Notre Dame in.the result was smaller crowds than
      minor pro hoops drew and they folded after a year and we used to joke about
      that."it is the only game in town where all of the fans are on a first name
      basis."



      Why doesn't it sell? Ask 1000 American non hockey fans and they will give
      you 100 different excuses.but I have never heard "I never saw it."and I have
      heard them all.."to much fighting" and I say "go to a college game" and they
      say 'I can't follow the puck" so I say "get different seats" they then say
      "too many substitutions" and I say "do you watch football?" And in the end
      it comes down their politeness eroding and them saying the real truth."I
      just don't like it."



      Now to we who are hockey fans that seems impossible but I submit that fans
      around the world feel the SDANME way about THIOER various games that many or
      most of us say "I don't like it." I have met West Indians (as well as Indian
      Indians) who think that cricket is the ultimate sport's Japanese who will
      say the same of sumo Just as you are a proud Canadian whop can't imagine
      hockey not selling, they are equally proud of their games which sell in
      their nations as hockey does in Canada. To our Americans here, if you are
      still with me, most of our neighbors would say the same of good old American
      football wouldn't they? Yet in Toronto the NFL has gotten a less than wild
      reception, I know Irish who think it is a crashing bore and Aussies who see
      it as a sissified joke."you sure do dress your footballers up don't ya
      mate.we don't need all those pads."NBFLE is no more.our cup of tea is not
      theirs.



      Americans have seen hockey Jon.most just say "no thanks."



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