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Are the Americans going to overtake hockey in our lifetime?

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12-01-2012, 11:32 AM
  #1
Big Phil
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Are the Americans going to overtake hockey in our lifetime?

The Toronto Sun has been doing some articles recently about this. There is lots of talk about American kids gravitating towards hockey more and more now. The numbers of the kids being drafted can't be ignored anymore either. It is culminating with a player like Seth Jones set to go 2nd overall in the 2013 draft. He's been a blue chipper for a while and you would think since his father played in the NBA he would have played basketball right? Wrong. This trend is continuing in the States and more and more natural athletes are playing hockey.

Now, a couple things. We've heard this for generations. 1980 was supposed to have kids play hockey by the hoards with the Miracle on Ice. Then Gretzky goes to L.A., then the USA wins the World Cup. I don't think we have really seen the fruits bear from 1996 yet but that 1996 World Cup team was littered with guys who watched the Olympics in 1980. So it takes a bit of time.

The only thing I see is that the volume of Americans coming into the NHL seems to be getting larger and has spiked.

2011-'12 Canada 53% USA 23%
2001-'02 Canada 54% USA 15%
1996-'97 Canada 62% USA 16%
1991-'92 Canada 71% USA 18%
1986-'87 Canada 77% USA 15%

For a long time the number of Americans stayed stagnant. It didn't move. Now it's moving upwards. Not at the expense of Canadians so much because they've had 50-55% of the NHL for a decade now but more or less we are seeing less Eurpoeans in the NHL.

I guess the issue here is that there are no more top flight Americans in the NHL despite the growing volume of players. In fact, I think around the mid to late 1990s is when the Americans had the most elite players in the NHL that they've ever had and once that generation died out there hasn't been the stars to take their place. Witness the roster of the 2010 US Olympic team vs. the 1996 World Cup team. The elite players just aren't there. Yes, they gave Canada a scare in 2010 but on paper they didn't have a team in the same universe as Canada but in 1996 they were very equal. This is the thing I don't understand because there should be more elite Americans if there are more Americans but it is almost reversed. These were the Americans in the top 20 in scoring:

2011-'12 - Kessel (6), Pominville (19) (Pominville was Canadian born)
2010-'11 - Kesler (16), Kane (18)
2009-'10 - Kane (9), Parise (16), Stastny (18)
2008-'09 - Parise (5)

Other than that, an American has never won the Art Ross and the closest it ever happened was 20 years ago, not recently. An American has never won the Hart Trophy unless you want to count Hull, which is weak. It has been 15 years since an American won the Norris. The Vezina saw them get three in a row recently and the Smythe saw them get the last two, but the only other Smythe is Leetch in 1994.

So what are your thoughts here? Are the Americans threatening Canada's game or are they further away then they have been in 25 years? What is your take on the growing number of Americans playing in the NHL and why it hasn't translated to more elite players. Is it only a matter of time? Will the Crosbys and Ovechkins of the NHL soon be American?

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12-01-2012, 11:36 AM
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Fire Dumboer
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Maybe but probably not

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12-01-2012, 11:40 AM
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Shrimper
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The lockout will put pay to that.

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12-01-2012, 11:44 AM
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MrFunnyWobbl
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No..

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12-01-2012, 11:50 AM
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Stop Winnin
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It could happen, our population is larger.

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12-01-2012, 11:58 AM
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DaveG
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Nope. We have the population advantage but hockey is still for the most part #3 at best in the regions where it's played. There are some exceptions (Minn., WNY) but for the most part the best athletes aren't looking to play in the NHL. They're looking at the NFL, MLB, and NBA for the most part. There are exceptions, but it's not even close to being the rule.

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12-01-2012, 12:02 PM
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Pierre Gotye
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I absolutely think so. More and more kids, families and communities are getting into hockey.

Take this story for instance:
http://www.edmontonsun.com/videos/2000767373001

DFW is very quickly becoming a hockey strong, hockey-hotbed believe it or not.

In my area(a 60 mile radius), I am surrounded by two minor league three minor league franchises, approximately some 10-12 rinks. Quite impressive from what was existing just 10 years ago. That doesn't include the travel teams, high school teams or Dallas Stars.

Although we have yet to see NHL College hockey in DFW.

Don't get me wrong though, the other major three sports will always triumph hockey here though. Still, the growth is very noticeable.


Last edited by Pierre Gotye: 12-01-2012 at 12:10 PM.
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12-01-2012, 12:04 PM
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Victorious Secret
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As an American. I highly doubt it.

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12-01-2012, 12:06 PM
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I doubt it, but the gap will close a bit.

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12-01-2012, 12:06 PM
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Big Phil
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Hmmm, surprised there are a number of Americans posting here that seem to have a resounding "no" to this question. I too don't think I'll live to see the day when Canada isn't producing the most elite players in the NHL, or even the highest volume of players, but you never know.

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12-01-2012, 12:13 PM
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Some really cool stats especially the percentages of Canadians VS. Americans in the NHL.

As a Canadian, I think its awesome. I genuinely hope that number continues to rise for Americans in the NHL and IMO, its only a matter of time before an American born player wins the Hart/Art Ross in the modern era and once that happens, I expect it will do wonders for hockey in the States.

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12-01-2012, 12:21 PM
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Buck Aki Berg
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They outnumber us ten-to-one. Minor hockey programs in places like Texas and California are beginning to bear fruit. I think it's only a matter of time before the depth of American talent outstrips what's coming out of Canada.

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12-01-2012, 12:31 PM
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Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck Aki Berg View Post
They outnumber us ten-to-one. Minor hockey programs in places like Texas and California are beginning to bear fruit. I think it's only a matter of time before the depth of American talent outstrips what's coming out of Canada.
That's true, but are they going to produce elite players? They don't have the luxury we have in Canada of going outside on a pond whenever they want. They do in Minnesota, but not California or Texas. I am wondering if it is similar to the way soccer is in Canada. For years people have raved about how many more kids are playing soccer in Canada. But it is a sport that parents put kids in because it is cheap and easy for them to burn their energy. More kids play soccer in Canada than Hockey from an organized standpoint but Canadians are terrible at soccer, let's face it.

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12-01-2012, 12:31 PM
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no but I expect the gap to narrow quite a bit

and maybe in a few decades young people will be saying yes to this same question

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12-01-2012, 12:52 PM
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Ouroboros
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Is the corollary here: Will Canadians still care about hockey when/if they are no longer the dominant force in the sport?

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12-01-2012, 12:54 PM
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In a country where hockey is the #6 sport, I really don't think so.

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12-01-2012, 12:55 PM
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If lockout will happen every 8 years then answer is NO. In other hand...who knows...maybe...

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12-01-2012, 01:19 PM
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I could see the # of US player increasing, but at the expense of Europeans, not Canadians. Canadian will always make up the majority of players in the NHL

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12-01-2012, 01:23 PM
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Bravid Nonahan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
That's true, but are they going to produce elite players? They don't have the luxury we have in Canada of going outside on a pond whenever they want. They do in Minnesota, but not California or Texas. I am wondering if it is similar to the way soccer is in Canada. For years people have raved about how many more kids are playing soccer in Canada. But it is a sport that parents put kids in because it is cheap and easy for them to burn their energy. More kids play soccer in Canada than Hockey from an organized standpoint but Canadians are terrible at soccer, let's face it.
By pond you mean ice time in general right? Because I think the days of old where you saw players become stars by hitting the outdoor rink are over...the stars now come from the AAA clubs where they hit up the rink 5 times a week.

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12-01-2012, 01:23 PM
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smitty10
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I don't think they'll overtake Canadians in this generation. Sure, they've made a lot of progress and have a handful of stars in the league right now (Parise, Kessel, Kane), but I doubt their depth ever reaches that of Canada. Just look at the roster that they send to the WC each year. They barely compete with teams like the Czech Republic and Slovakia, let alone Canada. That just shows how little depth they have outside of their top players (who either can't play for whatever reason or are still in the playoffs).

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12-01-2012, 01:25 PM
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smitty10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Amazing Ralph View Post
By pond you mean ice time in general right? Because I think the days of old where you saw players become stars by hitting the outdoor rink are over...the stars now come from the AAA clubs where they hit up the rink 5 times a week.
I was going to post this. Ponds are historic and fun ways to play with friends, but there is not one player who can attribute his success to having played on a pond. Sure, some kids may learn some things from their dad on a pond, but all of these guys have played high level hockey 4+ days a week since they were kids. Practice and training breeds stars not playing on a pond for fun.

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12-01-2012, 01:27 PM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ouroboros View Post
Is the corollary here: Will Canadians still care about hockey when/if they are no longer the dominant force in the sport?
There are many countries that are passionate about sports like soccer that are not, nor ever have been, the #1 nation at it. I expect Canada to be the same with hockey.

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12-01-2012, 01:28 PM
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I'm not so sure, US 75 years ago most of the US population was in the Northeast, now it population centers are in the south and west (and continues to trend that way)

Hockey continues to be a very expensive sport to play and Canada has the community infrastructure that many places including especially the south doesn't have.

When I think of Canada I think of a hockey rink in every town. Even in the suburbs of Buffalo, I can only think of 4 public rinks, and two of them are outdoor.

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12-01-2012, 01:28 PM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty10 View Post
I was going to post this. Ponds are historic and fun ways to play with friends, but there is not one player who can attribute his success to having played on a pond. Sure, some kids may learn some things from their dad on a pond, but all of these guys have played high level hockey 4+ days a week since they were kids. Practice and training breeds stars not playing on a pond for fun.
Gretzky, Howe and the Staal brothers would disagree.

Ponds and backyard rinks play a major role in development.

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12-01-2012, 01:29 PM
  #25
I Hate Chris Butler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ouroboros View Post
Is the corollary here: Will Canadians still care about hockey when/if they are no longer the dominant force in the sport?
You mean is the sport that has been ingrained in people's minds and Canadian culture as a whole for decades still going to be popular? Of course.

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