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11-24-2004, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Larry Melnyk
Just want to add my worthless two cents to part of this..First let me say that I have (had) been a diehard hockey fan since the late 60's and am an American that has lived all over the country (US) and travels quite a bit...There are alot of generalizations that follow...By no means do these generalizations reflect how the small # of American die-hards feel but more how I see the pulse of the American sports fans. First off, Hockey is a great game but, unfortuantely, has been run to both financial and artistic ruin by the way it has been operated and governed by Bettman and the owners..It is their fault but No doubt It needs to be fixed by BOTH parties working together..Which they refuse to do..Which will utterly destroy the PRO game in the US if it goes on too long(IMO)...Without the sides working together it comes down to the blame game and, without taking sides, this is where i find things really interesting and misjudged...

Now, I don't know where every poster is from but from my deductions what I find very interesting is the different viewpoints of American and Canadian fans...From what I can tell, the Canadian fans are squarely/mostly behind the owners, just want the game they love to be played again by the BEST players, and have trouble seeing why the players won't give in more when they already have the Life of Reily..However, from everything I can tell and everybody I have talked to or heard from, this is not the case in the US..We have no problem seeing entertainers/athletes getting as much as they can get, especially from billionaires, and more power to them (until they become useless underachieving garbage on our favorite team)....However, even backers of the players realize that the that players have to give in more, maybe alot more, but they aren't the only ones.. It is not their job to acquiesce to everything the owners (especially owners who can't be trusted) want for the love of the game...

Of course, alot of this comes down to the fact that Hockey is not America's game and the American fan has a different viewpoint.....heck, it probably isn't in the top 5...Football (College and Pro), baseball, basketball (COllege and pro), auto-racing, soccer, poker, lawn jarts, and tiddlywinks are all more popular..Seriously, nobody (you know what I mean) is missing the game of hockey in the US, nobody writes or talks about it and nary a soul gives a hoot whether it comes back or not...Especially, when there are so many other options to choose from....Yes, maybe football and baseball recovered from work stoppages and replacement players, but these games are wildly popular in the States and played by everybody and have HUGE television contracts...Not so with hockey...From everything I've read here, I have no doubt that Canadian fans would indeed watch replacement players to get their fix on the game they were brought up with and love so dearly...OTOH, I truly think a work stoppage of more then a year followed by replacement players will be the death of the NHL in the US...IMO, American fans will turn their noses to the thought of watching c-list players playing the marginalized game of hockey when there are so many other options competing for their time and money...Heck, this even failed with football and an XFL with a national TV deal....Second-rate hockey players will not fly and will only drag the game down further to the point where the AMERICAN public sports fan couldn't give a flying fudge at a rolling doughnut if and when the big boys come back...Maybe I'm wrong as I so often am....I truly hope it does not go this far because I fear the worst because of the importance of the American markets....
Very well said, but I would be careful about throwing all Canadian hockey fans in the same pro-owner liferaft.

At least by my experience on this business of hockey board, the most vocal hawkish/anti-Bettman/anti-owner/anti-small market sentiments aren't from the American markets, they're from Canadian fans of Canadian teams (particularly the Sens and Canucks) that have Stanley cup aspirations. Quite interesting actually.

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