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Why isn't Hockey big in Britain or France?

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06-28-2012, 06:32 AM
  #51
Propane Nightmares
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This is going to sound really stupid because I wasn't around back then, but where exactly were the "Wembley" finals played, surely it was not at the football stadium?

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06-28-2012, 06:51 AM
  #52
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Originally Posted by 99 Problems View Post
This is going to sound really stupid because I wasn't around back then, but where exactly were the "Wembley" finals played, surely it was not at the football stadium?
Must of been the arena surely?

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06-28-2012, 06:52 AM
  #53
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What kind of joint event do you mean? EIHL all-stars vs EPL all-stars maybe?

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06-28-2012, 07:06 AM
  #54
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Originally Posted by clatchie View Post
What kind of joint event do you mean? EIHL all-stars vs EPL all-stars maybe?
No, I meant combine both play off weekends and hold them both at Wembley, for e.g. best done over a Easter weekend, have one EPL semi and one EIHL semi on the Friday then the next two on the Saturday then both finals on the Sunday. Wont happen as long as the EIHL have a contract with Nottingham to hold it there, like I said just a thought.

Don't think that many people are interested in all-star games tbh.

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06-28-2012, 07:30 AM
  #55
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Originally Posted by villevalo View Post
Must of been the arena surely?
I always thought the arena was the football stadium, oops

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06-28-2012, 10:38 AM
  #56
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Er...
There's a Wembley stadium AND arena? Well.

Ok, yeah that's a good idea villevalo, might be bit of a tight fit though, you'd need Friday too probably. A pipe dream of course, but definitely logical.

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07-11-2012, 09:44 AM
  #57
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Originally Posted by takharov View Post
Ice hockey doesn't have any national exposure at all. Not even the NHL. At least the NFL is there in the public's mind although the sport will always remain a very minority sport here in player numbers, people are aware of the sport through coverage on the BBC.

Domestic hockey used to be broadcast on the BBC. Nowadays it is shunted into the wilds of Sky. Ditto for the NHL on ESPN UK.

If there was more coverage on terrestrial channels it would help. As it is the hockey public is confined to the old heartlands. Many major connurbations don't even have a team ie Liverpool or until very recently like Bristol.
I'm a bit late to this conversation, but I wanted to add that going back as far as the early nineties I recall hockey journalists repeatedly complaining that whenever they tried to push for greater national media coverage of the sport, they were told that the lack of a team from London was perceived as a major shortcoming by editors etc. It's hard to believe that mindset has changed.

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07-19-2012, 05:59 AM
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stray Wasp View Post
I'm a bit late to this conversation, but I wanted to add that going back as far as the early nineties I recall hockey journalists repeatedly complaining that whenever they tried to push for greater national media coverage of the sport, they were told that the lack of a team from London was perceived as a major shortcoming by editors etc. It's hard to believe that mindset has changed.
With a London-centric media in the UK this could very well be the case.

The only thing I'd say though is I don't believe a 'London' team would really work (and they haven't exactly shone in the past) because London is sub-divided by local loyalties (mainly based along compass points or soccer affiliations), because of loyalties to previous and existing London-based hockey teams (such as Streatham) and also because of the sheer size of London. Where could you place a single London team where it was both affordable and easy enough to get to for 'Londoners' to build a bond with it?

Personally I'd like to see a return of the Streatham Redskins to professional hockey. It is a shame that the hub project couldn't aim a little higher, make it a 2500-3000 seat capacity and there is the possibility of EPL/EIHL ice hockey in London.

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07-19-2012, 07:02 AM
  #59
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Originally Posted by howeaboutthat View Post
With a London-centric media in the UK this could very well be the case.

The only thing I'd say though is I don't believe a 'London' team would really work (and they haven't exactly shone in the past) because London is sub-divided by local loyalties (mainly based along compass points or soccer affiliations), because of loyalties to previous and existing London-based hockey teams (such as Streatham) and also because of the sheer size of London. Where could you place a single London team where it was both affordable and easy enough to get to for 'Londoners' to build a bond with it?

Personally I'd like to see a return of the Streatham Redskins to professional hockey. It is a shame that the hub project couldn't aim a little higher, make it a 2500-3000 seat capacity and there is the possibility of EPL/EIHL ice hockey in London.
I just don't think the interest is there in London, a lot of the city is ethnic minorities and I try to say this without sounding racist but they just generally aren't interested in hockey at all. I think a London club would also struggle to afford imports because of the higher costs of living in London especially housing compared to a northern city like Sheffield.

Plus like you said they never had success in the past, my teammate once told us about when he played for Wightlink Raiders when they were still in the EPL and had a 10 game losing streak at the start of the season, and to cheer up the locker room one of the imports said "It's alright, when I played for the London Racers we didn't win a game until February"

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07-19-2012, 08:44 AM
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99 Problems View Post
I just don't think the interest is there in London, a lot of the city is ethnic minorities and I try to say this without sounding racist but they just generally aren't interested in hockey at all. I think a London club would also struggle to afford imports because of the higher costs of living in London especially housing compared to a northern city like Sheffield.

Plus like you said they never had success in the past, my teammate once told us about when he played for Wightlink Raiders when they were still in the EPL and had a 10 game losing streak at the start of the season, and to cheer up the locker room one of the imports said "It's alright, when I played for the London Racers we didn't win a game until February"
To be fair I think there is an interest in hockey within London, the issue is just making any team in London appealing to those who currently only follow NHL.

I'll be first to admit it, having been born in Detroit and brought up on a diet of Red Wings and Windsor Spitfires it wasn't easy convincing me to start watching hockey over here in the UK, especially not after my first taste of UK hockey which I was distinctly unimpressed with. Eventually though I married a Nottingham-born woman and moved to the city and as, unlike any other 'hockey city' I've been to in the UK, the fact there is hockey played in the city is very evident and hard to avoid I decided to give it another go and am now a season ticket holder. It isn't anywhere near the quality of the NHL but it is better to watch than what I watched years ago when I lived down south, enough to keep me entertained at least.

As much as many Panthers fans like to bemoan Gary Moran (Panthers GM)it was the sheer amount of advertising and coverage that the Panthers have and get in the city that drew me in and this is what any London-based team would need, but I'd hazard a guess that it would not be too easy in a city with so many other entertainment distractions to choose from.

As for success in the past, 'London' teams haven't done particularly well (such as the awful Racers you mentioned) but teams from 'bits' of London have pretty decent track records and the revival of some of these teams would, I believe, be a far better option than trying to create a single team for all. If say Streatham Redskins and Haringey Racers/Wembley Lions were able to be re-born in the EPL/EIHL you'd have an instant local rivalry with North/South of the river connotations.

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07-20-2012, 11:13 AM
  #61
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I think hockey in France is starting to improve and show some growth. Thanks to Switzerland and Quebec.

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07-20-2012, 11:16 AM
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99 Problems View Post
American football isn't hated in the UK at all, when the superbowl is on everyone suddenly becomes a massive fan. The biggest problem in the UK and Australia is a lot of people have never actually heard of hockey, and everyone loves football (soccer or Aussie rules)
Tell me if this is true, but I heard that the Australia Hockey League has a great cult (underground) following, true?

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07-20-2012, 01:43 PM
  #63
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Originally Posted by howeaboutthat View Post
but teams from 'bits' of London have pretty decent track records and the revival of some of these teams would, I believe, be a far better option than trying to create a single team for all. If say Streatham Redskins and Haringey Racers/Wembley Lions were able to be re-born in the EPL/EIHL you'd have an instant local rivalry with North/South of the river connotations.
If any London team was to put together a successful entertaining EPL team then they'd need a hell of a lot of cash to entice 4 good imports and a good brit pack, pay them, house them, and even more cash to put together an EIHL side.

I'd like to know what you mean by 'pretty decent track records'? As long as I've been a hockey fan, London teams have done well to survive season to season, and really the only successful London sides came in the 30's/40's/50's.

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09-07-2012, 06:41 AM
  #64
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There are so many reasons in the UK!

Olympics
Sport is pretty big in the UK and everybody is clamouring for recognition, financing, press space etc. The bottom line is that if a sport gets coverage in the Olympics, it will get in the press and in the eye of the government for financing. To get to the Olympics, we need to improve, so we need that funding and press space… chicken and egg


Governance
One huge problem with the way the sport is in the country is that leagues are governed by different bodies, overseen by UK Ice Hockey, who you never actually hear of. They certainly make no effort to pull the leagues together. There is very little cooperation between the leagues, who are generally seen as rival leagues. The biggest problem IMHO though is that the Elite League is run by the clubs. In 1996, with the game booming in the UK, owners of the top clubs formed the ‘Superleague’ with a view to it being full of arena teams within 5 years. It crashed and left an ‘Elite League’ that has a mix of arena teams and rink teams. Business models are clearly different, which makes league structure very difficult. IMHO, the league needs an independent body, which says, “These are the rules for all of you. Now go and develop a business model suitable for your club, within league rules!” Currently, the bigger clubs want the league rules to be based around their business models.


Development
The Elite League teams are mainly foreign players. The bigger clubs are reluctant to reduce the number of overseas players, as they feel it will reduce the quality and the crowds will stop coming. IMHO, if they reduced the import numbers gradually, crowds would not decrease and British players would develop, helping the national team. See Olympics above. Generally, Elite league teams have no real regard for junior development. The English Premier League has a limit of 4 imports and good links with junior programs. In my team, 12 of this year’s 17 British players played for our junior club. If there could be a real chance to progress through in the same way to Elite League clubs, it would surely help


Football
I don’t know what it is really like in other countries, but in the UK, football is about so much more than just the pro game. Sheffield are probably the biggest hockey club in the UK. In their catchment area, there are 8 professional teams (Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Barnsley, Rotherham United, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town, Doncaster Rovers, Bradford City) and countless others, who will pull in crowds in excess of what the Steelers will see. For smaller hockey clubs, they have to compete with dozens of local football teams. Even if you go down to about the 6th tier of English football, you will find crowds comparable to hockey crowds


London
London simply hasn’t been able to sustain a top flight team. The London Knights in the old Superleague done OK, but their arena has been pulled down. The London Racers played in the Elite League, but in a tiny rink and it was never sustainable. If a sport doesn’t have good representation in London, the press are not interested. It is hard to compete against footie in the capital, with 5 premiership teams and another 10 in the next 4 divisions



When I started watching hockey in the 80’s, it was the UK’s biggest indoor spectator sport and I suspect it still is. There are probably in the region of about 30,000 spectators watching the top 3 leagues each weekend and there are quite a lot of juniors playing the sport, so the opportunity is there, but until the sport is accepted by the press, it will always be very much a minority sport. I have often mentioned my love of hockey to people, only to be greated by surprise that the game is played in the UK.

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09-08-2012, 09:27 AM
  #65
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Winters aren't cold enough.

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09-08-2012, 04:13 PM
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzbee View Post
.....
Development
The Elite League teams are mainly foreign players. The bigger clubs are reluctant to reduce the number of overseas players, as they feel it will reduce the quality and the crowds will stop coming. IMHO, if they reduced the import numbers gradually, crowds would not decrease and British players would develop, helping the national team. See Olympics above. Generally, Elite league teams have no real regard for junior development.
You don't happen to post on THF do you?

I must say I completely disagree with this, especially the rather simplistic assertion that it is the 'bigger clubs' who want to keep import levels high.

In my opinion reducing import levels, even gradually, would initially have a more serious impact on the smaller teams in the EIHL rather than those who apparently want to keep import levels high. This is because decent quality Brits are in very short supply and as such they can demand fairly decent wages compared to say, a comparable import. Smaller clubs can't match these wage demands meaning that, as has always happened during the EIHL (and in the EPL to an extent) the better Brits go to the wealthier teams. Reducing import levels just takes away a potential source of cheap and better quality players with which the smaller teams can try to stay competitive, and hands the titles to whoever has the deepest pockets.

Also, if the EIHL reduced import levels, how do you think that would affect EPL etc? Why bother with expanding existing youth systems at EIHL teams when there is a developmental league into which those with fat wallets can dip?

Quote:
The English Premier League has a limit of 4 imports and good links with junior programs. In my team, 12 of this year’s 17 British players played for our junior club. If there could be a real chance to progress through in the same way to Elite League clubs, it would surely help
Without wanting to be too harsh on something that you obviously hold dear and not wanting to turn this into an EIHL vs EPL fest, you can tell that there is a stricter import limit in the EPL just from watching it. I'm sure that only the most ardent of zealots would deny that there is generally a gulf in quality comparable to that between the EPL and ENIHL, but moving on...

There is a real chance for players to progress through to EIHL teams. For instance a few Nottingham Lions players are currently on two-ways with the Nottingham Panthers and some of those players have been with the Nottingham Ice Hockey Club since they first strapped on skates. Whilst the NIHC and Nottingham Panthers are not directly linked they have an increasingly close relationship and this season a Panthers rostered player is going the other way to the Lions on a two-way.

My final point though, why should it be the task of independent businesses (the ice hockey teams) to fund the development of the national team? This said though, being an American, I have no interest in the GB national team anyway.


Last edited by howeaboutthat: 09-08-2012 at 04:19 PM. Reason: Spelling
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09-08-2012, 07:26 PM
  #67
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Interesting fact is, that Great Britain won gold on the World Championships in 1936 (actually Olympic games), won silver in years 1937, 1938 and won bronze in years 1924 and 1937. So, the tradition should be there.
But nobody know, when the passion for ice hockey died in Great Britain.
All Canadian players lol

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09-08-2012, 07:31 PM
  #68
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All Canadian players lol
A common misconception

I am not denying the team was primarily made up of ringers, you'd have to be an idiot to dispute that, but when you look at the facts:
- only one player on the roster wasn't actually born in Great Britain
- every player on the roster played for a British domestic team at the time
- the captain Carl Erhardt never played hockey in Canada, he was German/Swiss trained
- 2 players were fully British trained

So it is incorrect to say "all Canadian players lol"

Also, I may be mistaken but I believe every player on the roster would have been eligible under current IIHF rules.

That team was more British than the roster we took to the top division of the WC's in '94, but we didn't win that tournament, so Canadians didn't complain


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09-08-2012, 08:43 PM
  #69
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And of course, the other EIHL conference is named after Gardiner, the only goaltender in the history of the NHL to win the Stanley Cup as a captain. He was British enough for me, at least.

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09-09-2012, 06:04 PM
  #70
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Personally I wish there there was more of a hockey following in the UK but since just about all of the local and national money available is put back into football I don't think it will ever happen.

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09-09-2012, 06:31 PM
  #71
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Personally I wish there there was more of a hockey following in the UK but since just about all of the local and national money available is put into digging up roads and putting cones on the motorway for no reason I don't think it will ever happen.
Fixed for you

Less and less money is getting put into all sports including football, most councils have actually been building stuff on playing fields

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09-10-2012, 05:55 AM
  #72
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Originally Posted by 99 Problems View Post
Fixed for you

Less and less money is getting put into all sports including football, most councils have actually been building stuff on playing fields
True, but football is where the money is and in my opinion other sports suffer because of it

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09-10-2012, 05:56 AM
  #73
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Personally I wish there there was more of a hockey following in the UK but since just about all of the local and national money available is put back into football I don't think it will ever happen.
Every single person I've taken to a game has since gone back of their own accord, it's an addictive experience. Take a couple of friends to a game, chances are they'll enjoy it and go again, more fans more money for the sport.

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09-10-2012, 06:46 AM
  #74
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Every single person I've taken to a game has since gone back of their own accord, it's an addictive experience. Take a couple of friends to a game, chances are they'll enjoy it and go again, more fans more money for the sport.
Attendances aren't really the problem in my opinion. The Panthers and Steelers get better attendances than some KHL teams, but they are all funded by oligarchs and the government puts money into the league. It doesn't hurt to get more people going to games but if our teams really want to make money they have to do a better job getting sponsors and funding from outside sources, we'd be better off without Planet Ice too with their astronomical ice time costs, but one can only dream.

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09-10-2012, 05:28 PM
  #75
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It's a 2 way street really.

If you can get to the point of all teams selling out games on even a semi regular basis then Sky would increase their coverage because they know there would be interest.

Extra revenue goes back into the game.

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