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ShyCheetah 03-18-2004 02:33 PM

Fall out of an all Canadian final.
 
Earlier in the season when it looked like all 6 Canadian franchises may make the playoffs I started to think back about all the hubub from the american franchises in (89 was it? Calgary vs Montreal) the last time it was an all Canadian final. There has never been a more likely year for this unlikely senario to happen than this year. So my question is would it be really that bad for the game? And if it is I think it's a sign of bigger problems.

In theory it should be no different than an all American final or a mixed final for that matter. Yet I think it would further corrode the perception of our game to the average american (the same person the league is banking on to further grow the game). Bye average I mean non or casual hockey fans. So what's the problem? I think part of the problem is the avg american will never truely embrace the game because it's not an indiginous American sport and the fact that they are not dominant when it comes to the nationalities of the players. It's a kind of "I'm going to take my ball and go home" thing.

So my question is, is it really that big of a deal and if so why? Do you think that america will truely embrace hockey the way they do the other big league sports (aswell as golf, bowling and tennis among many other vastly inferiour sports). If the answer is no, then maybe the league should be looking at Europe instead of America where hockey already flourishes and where there is big money to be made. I think if America truly embrased hockey then by sheer numbers, funding and population I think there would be an invasion of awesome american hockey players produced that would outpace all the traditional hockey factories. Shy.

SmokeyClause 03-18-2004 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ShyCheetah
There has never been a more likely year for this unlikely senario to happen than this year.

I disagree. I don't think this year is more likely than last year. Of the Western Conference Canadian teams, is there really anyone out there tougher than Vancouver was last year? Calgary (I guess if Kipper gets hot, but you could say that about any team)? Vancouver (are they really that good without Bert)? Edmonton? I think Vancouver had a better shot at the finals going into the playoffs last year than any Western Canadian team does this year.

John Flyers Fan 03-18-2004 02:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SmokeyClause
I disagree. I don't think this year is more likely than last year. Of the Western Conference Canadian teams, is there really anyone out there tougher than Vancouver was last year? Calgary (I guess if Kipper gets hot, but you could say that about any team)? Vancouver (are they really that good without Bert)? Edmonton? I think Vancouver had a better shot at the finals going into the playoffs last year than any Western Canadian team does this year.

Agreed.

Beukeboom Fan 03-18-2004 03:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ShyCheetah
Earlier in the season when it looked like all 6 Canadian franchises may make the playoffs I started to think back about all the hubub from the american franchises in (89 was it? Calgary vs Montreal) the last time it was an all Canadian final. There has never been a more likely year for this unlikely senario to happen than this year. So my question is would it be really that bad for the game? And if it is I think it's a sign of bigger problems.

In theory it should be no different than an all American final or a mixed final for that matter. Yet I think it would further corrode the perception of our game to the average american (the same person the league is banking on to further grow the game). Bye average I mean non or casual hockey fans. So what's the problem? I think part of the problem is the avg american will never truely embrace the game because it's not an indiginous American sport and the fact that they are not dominant when it comes to the nationalities of the players. It's a kind of "I'm going to take my ball and go home" thing.

So my question is, is it really that big of a deal and if so why? Do you think that america will truely embrace hockey the way they do the other big league sports (aswell as golf, bowling and tennis among many other vastly inferiour sports). If the answer is no, then maybe the league should be looking at Europe instead of America where hockey already flourishes and where there is big money to be made. I think if America truly embrased hockey then by sheer numbers, funding and population I think there would be an invasion of awesome american hockey players produced that would outpace all the traditional hockey factories. Shy.

1) There are no vastly inferior sports. If someone enjoys watching golf or bowling - what can I say - my sport is better? That's crap. I hate watching soccer on TV, so 80% of the world thinks I'm stupid. That's their opinion, and I can't change it. Just like I don't care if people don't want to watch hockey.
2) No way teams could handle the travel time, or the television lags for European games. You might as well say just fold all the teams that can't afford to have a $50M payroll, and have a 12 team league with TOR being the only Canadian franchise.
3) The problem with Hockey in the US (as a US citizen) is that a really small minority of kids have a chance to play. Until that changes, you will never get a "US Invasion" of hockey players, especially when there so many other sports to compete in.
4) I don't see how a VAN or CAL vs OTT or MON would be bad for the game. People have to realize that TV ratings are going to stink regardless. The real fans are going to watch, and the "casual" fans aren't going to tune in for the play-off's regardless. If 2 US teams are involved there will be a ratings blip in those regions, but I don't think it'll matter in PHO, ANA, CHI, or FLA if the Senators or the Bruins are representing the Eastern Conference.

Darth Vitale 03-18-2004 04:10 PM

I for one would love to see a Final between Vancouver and any of the three EC Canadian teams that are headed for the post-season. All three mathups would make for an exciting brand of hockey IMO, and the fans would be absolutely gonzo every game. Would make for excellent post-season drama, as they say.

As far as American perceptions, I don't think the "general" perception could possibly be any worse than it is right now, and what's more, 90% of American sports fans will be watching the NBA playoffs anyway. By June more people will be watching baseball than the Stanley Cup Playoffs...

... so no. I don't think an All Canadian final would make a difference south of the border, other than the ratings in the market(s) that would've otherwise been involved in the Final would suffer.

MotownMadman 03-18-2004 04:56 PM

While I would personally mind an all Canadian final (because it would mean that Detroit wasn't in it), I don't think it would necessarily be bad for the game. Watching the Canucks battle the Leafs or the Flames and the Sens soar across the ice for up to 7 games would be great to watch. The networks would just have to hype it more in the U.S., but if the games are interesting, I think people would watch.

Consider last year. Jersey and Anaheim are both decent markets, but when people tuned in they mostly saw a bunch of grown men shooting a puck across the ice to no one or hanging all over each other like it was the St. Pat's day parade. It was hard enough for me to keep from flipping channels and so I doubt many people who weren't regular hockey fans kept tuning in to watch. Now, if you have an exciting game between two teams that most Americans couldn't find on a map an American may be less likely to tune in but more likely to watch the whole series and become interested. And maybe even tune in to a few games the next season.

NFITO 03-18-2004 05:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MotownMadman
While I would personally mind an all Canadian final (because it would mean that Detroit wasn't in it), I don't think it would necessarily be bad for the game. Watching the Canucks battle the Leafs or the Flames and the Sens soar across the ice for up to 7 games would be great to watch. The networks would just have to hype it more in the U.S., but if the games are interesting, I think people would watch.

Consider last year. Jersey and Anaheim are both decent markets, but when people tuned in they mostly saw a bunch of grown men shooting a puck across the ice to no one or hanging all over each other like it was the St. Pat's day parade. It was hard enough for me to keep from flipping channels and so I doubt many people who weren't regular hockey fans kept tuning in to watch. Now, if you have an exciting game between two teams that most Americans couldn't find on a map an American may be less likely to tune in but more likely to watch the whole series and become interested. And maybe even tune in to a few games the next season.

good points...

hockey isn't in a situation where it needs to sell to specific markets... there is a long way to go to get there IMO.

Hockey is in a situation where they just need to sell the game period!

having an all Canadian final between two offensive type teams will get a lot more Americans interested in the sport than having two trapping teams play a 7 game series....

no doubt the best of both worlds would be what the NHL wants... Detroit or Colorado in the finals against Philly or Boston... but if the NHL is focused on selling the game to the general sports fan, then giving them a team like Vancouver or Ottawa, or any of the other canadian teams that don't have a sutter coaching :p will bring fans in more so than getting new fans to enjoy watching 240 + minutes of trap hockey!

Malefic74 03-18-2004 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ShyCheetah
I think part of the problem is the avg american will never truely embrace the game because it's not an indiginous American sport and the fact that they are not dominant when it comes to the nationalities of the players. It's a kind of "I'm going to take my ball and go home" thing.

I disagree. Generating a fan base is not an overnight process. It takes time. Yet now all of a sudden we expect teams in new markets to draw numbers like a bingo caller on speed? It doesn't work that way.

It was often heard in the late 60s that the average citizen of Philadelphia (home of the Phillies, Eagles and 76ers) would never truly embrace the game or the Flyers. Time has proven otherwise. Ditto for St. Louis. Pittsburgh. Buffalo. Long Island. Denver. Minnesota. And yet every single one of those cities went through the growing pains that are affecting Tampa Bay, Florida, San Jose and Phoenix. So if it took those places 5 to 15 years to get their fan base and get their teams on to the first page of the sports section, why not extend the benefit of the doubt to the Sun Belt expansion cities. Anything less would be hypocritical in the extreme.

NFITO 03-18-2004 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malefic74
I disagree. Generating a fan base is not an overnight process. It takes time. Yet now all of a sudden we expect teams in new markets to draw numbers like a bingo caller on speed? It doesn't work that way.

It was often heard in the late 60s that the average citizen of Philadelphia (home of the Phillies, Eagles and 76ers) would never truly embrace the game or the Flyers. Time has proven otherwise. Ditto for St. Louis. Pittsburgh. Buffalo. Long Island. Denver. Minnesota. And yet every single one of those cities went through the growing pains that are affecting Tampa Bay, Florida, San Jose and Phoenix. So if it took those places 5 to 15 years to get their fan base and get their teams on to the first page of the sports section, why not extend the benefit of the doubt to the Sun Belt expansion cities. Anything less would be hypocritical in the extreme.

I hear what you're saying... the difference is that we don't live in the 60s economic market... it's not even close to the 80s or 90s market...

5 to 15 years now means huge revenues... talking hundreds of millions, if not billions, when you factor in everything from ticket sales, to merchandise to other market avenues...

20 years ago you could give a team time to grow a market... now it's about which market can give you the most right away... this becomes more of a concern when you have huge markets like Houston without a team... can't also discount the $$ earned from corporation as well... will Nike for example dish out the same endorsment $$ for it's name in Detroit as it would in Nashville??

hell look at the situation with Staples center and GM Place... they weren't far apart in signing their deals, yet the difference was in the hundreds of millions overall... of course there is no comparison between the two markets, but that's why markets are so important now.

hockey was never as big a business as it is now... the revenues and the profits to be made were never at this scale... the marketing options and revenue generation from other streams created by hockey in a market were never this huge... and this leads directly to the fact that the differences in what revenues can be generated are huge from market to market.

all these things now need to be considered... as an owner if I'm looking at losing money in a non-hockey market right now, do I pass up the opportunity to make millions over the next 5-15 years somewhere else, or do I swallow my losses now and hope that things turn around??

not saying that any other market is more of a guarentee, but the fact that you have to consider it has to be there... only through in-depth analysis of this can you know if it's a good and worthwhile bet to move or stay where you are in a currently weak market.

Malefic74 03-18-2004 05:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nuckfan in TO

all these things now need to be considered... as an owner if I'm looking at losing money in a non-hockey market right now, do I pass up the opportunity to make millions over the next 5-15 years somewhere else, or do I swallow my losses now and hope that things turn around??

not saying that any other market is more of a guarentee, but the fact that you have to consider it has to be there... only through in-depth analysis of this can you know if it's a good and worthwhile bet to move or stay where you are in a currently weak market.

The problem there is that many markets that were traditionally strong ones have really fallen off the map. Chicago and Boston spring immediately to mind. New Jersey has the reighning Stanley Cup Champions and can't draw flies. 2 Original 6 teams and the champs being outdrawn by Columbus, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, San Jose and Nashville. Not good.

If it was just the young teams doing poorly then the argument is much simpler, but when the established ones start to decline noticeably it points to a much deeper problem. Not the tired old line of "well Americans just don't get hockey."

Sotnos 03-18-2004 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malefic74
It was often heard in the late 60s that the average citizen of Philadelphia (home of the Phillies, Eagles and 76ers) would never truly embrace the game or the Flyers. Time has proven otherwise. Ditto for St. Louis. Pittsburgh. Buffalo. Long Island. Denver. Minnesota. And yet every single one of those cities went through the growing pains that are affecting Tampa Bay, Florida, San Jose and Phoenix. So if it took those places 5 to 15 years to get their fan base and get their teams on to the first page of the sports section, why not extend the benefit of the doubt to the Sun Belt expansion cities. Anything less would be hypocritical in the extreme.

Judging from the amount of "contraction" threads we have here which always name sunbelt teams, I guess we have a lot of hypocrites around here. ;)

Very well said.

In answer to the original question, I think an all-Canadian final would draw the same interest that last year's final did. If it's not one of the "big" American teams (Colorado, Detroit, etc. the ones who get all the ESPN exposure), the casual fan/non-hockey fan probably won't tune in. That's the way it is right now, unfortunately.

I disagree with the idea that Americans only want to see American athletes, I don't know anyone who feels that way, that's a myth perpetuated by non-Americans IMO, and I've never seen any type of study on it. If that were true, baseballs' numbers would be 10 times worse than they are now, yet some of the most popular MLB players aren't U.S. born.

NFITO 03-18-2004 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malefic74
The problem there is that many markets that were traditionally strong ones have really fallen off the map. Chicago and Boston spring immediately to mind. New Jersey has the reighning Stanley Cup Champions and can't draw flies. 2 Original 6 teams and the champs being outdrawn by Columbus, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, San Jose and Nashville. Not good.

If it was just the young teams doing poorly then the argument is much simpler, but when the established ones start to decline noticeably it points to a much deeper problem. Not the tired old line of "well Americans just don't get hockey."

of course... but now you're just opening up the whole CBA can of worms....

there is without a doubt a bigger problem at play... and there is definitely no easy one answer that fits them all...

from the teams mentioned for example... Boston and Chicago have their owners to blame for as much of their troubles as the new NHL economy... there are many other successful teams that have done well with less money than either Boston or Chicago spend, and they've done this in smaller markets as well... there's a problem in management, there's a problem in how they spend their money, and where they spend it, and how much they wish to profit from it... definitely no easy answers - but I'm willing to bet that if both those markets had successful hockey teams they wouldn't have problems in the stands...

as for New Jersey, the problem is totally different... they are successful, have been good money managers, but have other things they have to deal with... such as competing in that NY market... having their arena were it is, and expecting people to fill it on a regular weekday night having to deal with 2hrs of traffic each way through a nightmare of a tunnel or whatever other route they take.... the are no doubt problems there, and this might just be one - if it is a problem at all...

problem is that you have 30 teams all in different markets, having to deal with different constraints all the while having a CBA that hurts 2/3rd of the teams... there are definitely no easy answers out there... and in such situations, where nothing else seems to help, relocating can end up being as good an option as anything else.

Trottier 03-18-2004 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ShyCheetah
Earlier in the season when it looked like all 6 Canadian franchises may make the playoffs I started to think back about all the hubub from the american franchises in (89 was it? Calgary vs Montreal) the last time it was an all Canadian final.

I'm wondering where all this "hubub" you speak of was coming from? As one who was a fan circa '89, I respectfully consider that hyperbole. League didn't even have a national contract with US network TV at that time (it was on cable in the States), so it wasn't a matter of fatcat TV execs worried about their ratings. And while there likely was a very small contingent of jingoistic US hockey fans who decried no American-based team in the Finals, it likely wasn't even as large a number as there were so-called hockey fans on this very board last spring bragging about how they weren't watching the "dull" playoffs (codewords for "my team has been eliminated, so I'm going to my room and ignoring hockey. :p )

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malefic74
I disagree. Generating a fan base is not an overnight process. It takes time. Yet now all of a sudden we expect teams in new markets to draw numbers like a bingo caller on speed? It doesn't work that way.

Absolutely correct. It takes persistence, business sense and patience.

Considering that the typical HF poster wants to fire his team's coach, and GM and overturn the entire roster following a two-game losing streak, that third characteristic is not to be found around these parts. :p

Malefic74 03-19-2004 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nuckfan in TO
of course... but now you're just opening up the whole CBA can of worms....

from the teams mentioned for example... Boston and Chicago have their owners to blame for as much of their troubles as the new NHL economy... there are many other successful teams that have done well with less money than either Boston or Chicago spend, and they've done this in smaller markets as well... there's a problem in management, there's a problem in how they spend their money, and where they spend it, and how much they wish to profit from it... definitely no easy answers - but I'm willing to bet that if both those markets had successful hockey teams they wouldn't have problems in the stands...

as for New Jersey, the problem is totally different... they are successful, have been good money managers, but have other things they have to deal with... such as competing in that NY market... having their arena were it is, and expecting people to fill it on a regular weekday night having to deal with 2hrs of traffic each way through a nightmare of a tunnel or whatever other route they take.... the are no doubt problems there, and this might just be one - if it is a problem at all....

How much better does Boston need to be to see more fans?

Your analysis of the Chicago and New Jersey situations are pretty accurate, although the Nets don't seem to have as much trouble filling the place compared to the Devils.

Kenadyan 03-19-2004 10:49 AM

As much as I would like to see an all-Canadian Finals, I think a Detroit-Toronto Finals would really help to "sell" the game to the casual fan in the U.S. this spring. If it were to go to 7 games, all the better. You'd definitely draw a better rating than game 7 in last years Devils-Ducks series.

My reasons for feeling this way?

1. Two traditional, original 6 franchises battling for the oldest trophy in sports. This would really give the U.S. networks all the ammunition they would need to hype the series.

2. Toronto is the Canadian city closest in size and stature to any of the large U.S. markets (this was stated in a Michael Farber article in Sports Illustrated a few years back -- yeah,yeah I know SI is not known for their hockey prowess -- but I digress).

3. Neither team plays the dreaded trap-style of hockey (such as New Jersey or Minnesota play). I think you would have a series were even if there wasn't a lot of scoring, there would still be plenty of offense. In other word, lots of shots on net.

Just my $.02.

ShyCheetah 03-19-2004 12:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trottier
I'm wondering where all this "hubub" you speak of was coming from? As one who was a fan circa '89, I respectfully consider that hyperbole.

:p

I was really young at the time, but from what I can remember their was talk on the hockey shows about moving all the canadian teams into one division to prevent this from happening again, how the all canadian final was detrimental to the growing of hockey down south. (I think they were gearing up for expantion and future tv deals.) Stuff like that. A normal hockey game was basically drawing nothing and the canadian finals was drawing even less.

As it stands now hockey is being killed in the rateings by sports like lawn bowling and darts making a new tv deal very unlikely.

Quote:

I disagree with the idea that Americans only want to see American athletes, I don't know anyone who feels that way, that's a myth perpetuated by non-Americans IMO, and I've never seen any type of study on it. If that were true, baseballs' numbers would be 10 times worse than they are now, yet some of the most popular MLB players aren't U.S. born.
This isn't really an acurate parellel. Baseball is already embrased by america. Your example is more closely comparable to Canadians embracing hockey despite a strong european contingent.

The reason I mention this is that I was thinking how profesional soccor, the most popular game in the world failed in North America. And how the only globally aknowledge sporting events Americans seem to care about, tennis, olympics, golf are events where america usually have dominant presence. And besides I do feel that (I'd hate to generalize) the avg american dosn't really care what goes on outside of it's boarders. FYI, half my familly are american and I spent alot of my childhood in Seattle and NJ and have spent significant portions of my adult life going to school and working in the Seattle area.

Quote:

There are no vastly inferior sports. If someone enjoys watching golf or bowling - what can I say - my sport is better? That's crap. I hate watching soccer on TV, so 80% of the world thinks I'm stupid. That's their opinion, and I can't change it. Just like I don't care if people don't want to watch hockey..
It wasn't my intention to belittle other sports, I was just making examples on how other niche sports are flourising in america and how these particualr niche sports are either Indidinous to america or have a strong american contigent. BTW since the words were mine they were obviously IMO, and IMO they are vastly inferiour sports! :rolly: relax a little brotha! Shy

4:20 03-19-2004 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malefic74
Yet now all of a sudden we expect teams in new markets to draw numbers like a bingo caller on speed?

:lol: Great metaphor.


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