Hockey in Europe and growth
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07-07-2011, 04:56 PM
J17 Vs Proclamation
Join Date: Oct 2004
Comparing participation numbers is not that useful, because Hockey will always be lower due to its cost, inaccessibility and it's extreme nature.
I can say with absolute confidence that hockey has basically no foundation in England. It's incredibly marginal. I know nobody else who follows ice hockey. I've seen maybe 20-30 Jerseys here in my life. It gets no coverage (Domestic league or NHL). There is no infrastucture for young people to actually ever get involved with hockey let alone develop something. It's not popular at all now, has huge competition for sports and there is no conceivable way to see much growth as of now.
I'd suggest that within the next 20-30 years you are not going to see an English born and trained (Some who doesn't leave England at 6 or 7) get anywhere near the NHL. It would a Kopitar like situation, but even more extreme, for it to happen. I doubt in any HF posters lifetime will we see any noteworthy development in British ice hockey (Although judging by many of the posts we see at HF, that lifetime is long
I'd imagine it's the same in Spain.
For other nations the challenges are slightly different. Czech Republic and Slovakia has alot of hockey interest, but getting the kids to play and then developing is the problem. We'll see if it can be reversed, though i suspect Slovakia won't see the success they once briefly had.
Sweden and Finland seem solid. Football to me is a bigger sport, but their doemstic leagues are more popular than football because it's impossible for them to have strong domestic football leagues. Both systems have their current issues and future problems but are generally very healthy.
Russia is in a state of flux, but has high powered people investing in the game. I suspect we will see potentially a rise in numbers and rinks and i think generally the prognosis seems to be a good one. But there are definite perils.
Denmark and Norway both have hockey as marginal sports. Financial issues exist for their leagues and it's possible that you could a stagnation rather than more development. Potential is definitely there for sure, but it's going to take many years (20+) and a well developed infrastructure with good people to make them better hockey nations. People forget that Ukraine/Kazakhstan (even Poland) had solid programmes ten years ago and now are in terminal decline. With smaller nations it can only take a few bad decisions and mismanaged years for it to go badly wrong.
I imagine its very marginal in Austria and France. Very regionalized. Many many years away from significance.
Would like to see what German posters have to say. German hockey seems to be stuck in nothing zone. No really increase in participation or development of young players and the league seems financially challenged in some areas.
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