Hockey in Europe and growth
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10-26-2011, 01:10 PM
J17 Vs Proclamation
Join Date: Oct 2004
Originally Posted by
S E P H, you got to stop thinking Hockey will ever work in Europe (except in the few odd countries already mentioned). You think France could become a hockey nation. I'm sorry to dissapoint you, France has a national league (Ligue Magnus) since the early 20th century. Most of those teams were founded pre-1967, the year of the first NHL-expansion. And still, most of the teams play for 4 or 500 spectators, sometimes even less. Why would the 21th century be any different?
And you talk about Kopitar, one Slovene who made it to the NHL. Waaw, that's not a good argument. There's one Belgian guy playing in QMJHL, does that mean there will be more following and that hockey's becoming popular? off course not, that's just luck.
Hockey works in Europe. Not sure why this rather ignorant misconception of hockey being small in Europe exists. Outside of Football, it is arguably the 2nd biggest team sport in Europe. If it isn't 2nd, it is certainly close. It's popular in a number of countries. People seem to have this concept that for a sport to be defined as popular and mainstream it has to be popular everywhere. This simple isn't the case. The only sport which is popular continent wide is Football. Sports like Rugby, Basketball, Handball, Field hockey, Water Polo etc are not popular everywhere. Many don't have the same following as hockey and certainly none of them really possess the same financial power and success that hockey does IMO.
Your second point is equally as naive. As few as 80 years ago, the pre-eminent sports in North American were baseball, boxing and horse racing. Clearly not the case anymore. Just because it's the 21st century doesn't mean things cant change. On the contrary, the success of any given sport is susceptible to change, whether it descends from financial misgivings/rewards, changing in geographic demographics, changes in technological advancements, evolution of the sport itself or simply it randomly becomes more appealing/governing bodies of the sport become more efficient. Things change and sport is no different. In 50 years time, the sporting landscape will look different. Suggesting that hockey
change it's own fate and success in the future is naive and simply dumb.
Europe has a strong hockey culture. Yes, hockey has stagnated in the last 15 years. The talent produced by European nations is suffering and there is cause for concern. Yet in Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Slovakia we see a strong infinity for hockey. Switzerland is witnessing a strong hockey surge. Belarus is witnessing a long but promising building of hockey infrastructure. Germany has solid hockey roots (admittedly regionalized). Hockey traditions exist in many other European nations. It's not like places like Italy, France, Austria don't have programmes. They do, and there is potential there (not to be powerhouses, but to be notable actors in the hockey arena).
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