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Are the Americans going to overtake hockey in our lifetime?

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Old
12-02-2012, 12:40 PM
  #101
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Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
My honest gut feeling is that we'll reach a point in the next couple decades where Americans, Europeans, and Canadians will each comprise about a third of the league. Doubt that one will become an outright majority for a very long time once Canadians become a plurality.
With Global warming on the march, I don't see Ice Hockey as a viable option going forward.

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12-02-2012, 12:45 PM
  #102
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Yes

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12-02-2012, 12:46 PM
  #103
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Originally Posted by Et le But View Post
The thing is, even if hockey development has improved in non-traditional markets, in most of the US, the best athletes are still going to play other sports. Outside of rich, white suburbs, you aren't going to see school coaches noticing kids with raw explosiveness and recruiting them into hockey the way they do for football, basketball and baseball. If anything, soccer is growing even more quickly in the US.
So the real truth here is that MOST, by quite a margin actually, will choose another sport. But that's the beauty of the USA, they can be strong in many many sports becouse of their population and seriousness in developing their many talented youths. If only baseball and football would'nt be exceptionally popular things to choose, the country would be able to dominate sport even more than they do today during for example the Summer Olympics. So can hockey only keep growing then the USA could very well get quite the depth in the NHL. Still hard to overcome Canada obviously becouse hockey in many ways are the most popular sport there by quite a margin. For that to happen basically it means that 30 million people in the states has to view hockey as the by far most popular sport, or for example 60 million to see it at some kind of tie with baseball.


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12-02-2012, 01:01 PM
  #104
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Originally Posted by Et le But View Post
The thing is, that's true to an extent. I come from an affluent suburb in NY, the two most popular sports for scholarship purposes were lacrosse and hockey. There was a few kids who thought they had NHL potential, anyone who thought they had NFL or NBA potential would have been laughed away. Meanwhile, a few miles away, a poorer, more racially mixed town, had no hockey programs and actually produced a few pro football and basketball players.

Obviously it isn't that simple but in most of the country, hockey carries the same stigma lacrosse does, as the sport for rich white kids who can't jump but can spend a ton of money on gear.
I get the gist of what you are saying and in theory pretty much agree. My point though is that most guys who make the NHL started playing the sport at a very young age and they probably first decided to play it for reason other than career or scholarship potential. It's not like the NHL is filled with guys who decided to take up hockey at the age of 15 after being cut from the high school football or basketball team.

Its true that the cost and accessibility will prevent a large portion of people from ever playing hockey but when it comes to basketball lets be honest... 99% of the worlds population is automatically eliminated from playing 4 out of 5 positions at the sports pinnacle based on a single physical attribute (and even point guards, with the odd exception, are above average), regardless of the person's race, finances, raw athleticism or trained technical skill.


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12-02-2012, 03:40 PM
  #105
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The irrational fear of hockey hair is one of the major impediments to the growth of hockey in the USA.


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12-02-2012, 04:24 PM
  #106
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Is this real life? The NHL and NHLPA are doing everything they can to make sure America just stops caring about hockey. At least Canada will always have passion for the sport, even without the NHL, it's just not the same in most of the USA. Some of the midwest and Northeast will keep the US well represented, but the whole sport would need to grow a lot for the US to surpass canada. Plus in the US, Football, Basketball and now even soccer will be ahead of Hockey for the foreseeable future.

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12-02-2012, 04:46 PM
  #107
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I highly doubt it.

Most U.S. kids would gravitate towards sports such as soccer & baseball especially in the southern states where there is no winter temperatures or snow.

Hockey is an expensive sport to play especially with the rising cost of equipment & sports like soccer/ baseball are much more affordable for most families on a budget.

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12-02-2012, 05:26 PM
  #108
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No, it's just not going to happen. Hockey is and will continue to be perhaps the only thing in the world that Canadians can legitimately claim the title of being the best in the world at.

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12-02-2012, 05:51 PM
  #109
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I do believe there will be a time hockey becomes more irrelevant in the US; likely a decade or two, but eventually in our lifetime. Well, if the NHL can figure out how to not lock itself out every bloody CBA. So yes.

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Old
12-02-2012, 06:50 PM
  #110
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I don't know why I keep seeing soccer and the south being related so much in this thread. Doesn't pretty much every normal American kid enter athletics playing tee-ball and soccer? I was raised in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas and started playing ice hockey when I was 7 (we always played street/roller before that. When the Stars moved here it lit a hockey fire around the city).

I'm pretty confident that football is king below the Mason Dixon Line. A lot of high school games are now in crystal clear HD on the basic cable tv package. I think junior hockey is very equivalent to high school football (only a lot smaller and the whole getting drafted/traded). I saw a lot of good hockey players give the game up to play football because of pressure from their high schools.

I wish it was different, but I doubt hockey is ever close to being as popular as a whole in the US as it is/always will be in Canada. With that said, I think it's really cool seeing how much the hockey landscape has changed over the past 20 years. I can't speak for other southern US cities, but interest and participation in the game skyrocketed in the late 90's. Someone else mentioned the amount of rinks around Dallas. He's right. I can literally be at 10 (maybe more) ice complexes with multiple rinks within an hour. I think that it's awesome that some of the guys I grew up playing with or against have been drafted over the past few years.

Just look at Seth Jones. Texas born kid with the chance of being drafted in the top 3 of the 2013 draft. If that's not enough evidence that the game has grown in the south, then I don't know what else to tell you.

With all of that said, this lockout is doing a good job at screwing up all of the progress the game has made down here.

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12-02-2012, 11:35 PM
  #111
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I'm a huge believer in outdoor hockey. I played and continue to play so much hockey outside, for no other reason then, 'because I can'. I love the game, but I could not love the game the same way, if I could not walk 1 minute down the street to a community rink. I play at 1 am until 3 am sometimes. These are opportunities afforded by climate. While I may be a mediocre player, I would be horrid, without these opportunities. Getting to play against older players as a kid, helped develop my game. Knowing that there were occasionally some goons out there, you learned to get creative in a non-structured environment. Messing around with friends for five straight hours outdoors gets your puck skills reasonably sharp. I have no idea how the USA will fare in hockey going forward, but if they do develop into the per-eminent power in the game, it will be in my opinion, because of kids spending hours upon hours on outdoor ice - just for fun.

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12-03-2012, 12:06 AM
  #112
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NASCAR has lesser revenues than the NHL and isn't a team sport...the fact that so many people seem to keep perpetuating that it's bigger than hockey is extremely annoying. For all the talk that the NHL is regional (and it is), NASCAR is no different. I think I've met two NASCAR fans in my life, between living in Pittsburgh, Western Montana, and LA...both redneck relatives of mine. The NHL and NASCAR aren't competing for dollars in too many markets.

And anyone putting the MLS above hockey...

I love it, but even with the NHL continuously shooting itself in the foot, the MLS has a long way to go before it begins to sniff the NHL's jock strap in terms of revenue. The MLS's salary cap is under $3 million a year, for crying out loud. Only 9 players topped $1 million in salary from this current season, and the almighty icon that is David Beckham made less than Jeff Finger.



As for the question in hand...depends on who's lifetime you're talking about. I highly doubt it will happen for a few more decades, but it probably will happen eventually.

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Old
12-03-2012, 12:37 AM
  #113
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I highly, highly doubt it.

I went to Toronto a few years ago and if that's any indication of how hardcore hockey fans are in Edmonton/Vancouver/Montreal/Calgary/Ottawa/Winnipeg then the U.S. has quit a ways to go.

It's all about the NFL and NCAAF here.

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12-03-2012, 12:45 AM
  #114
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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.
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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.
I guess Walter Gretzky specifically making his backyard a rink for Wayne has no bearing on how he turned out? Honestly, Wayne spent hours upon hours out there having fun, going around pylons, shooting on the net, skating in circles. It made him what he ended up being in the NHL. When you can practice in the comfort of your own property anytime you want that is a huge plus. Someone else mentioned the Staals as an example. You think winters aren't cold in Thunder Bay? It goes further than that too. I've heard Frank Mahovlich talk about how his parents gave him blue and red ribbons that they melted onto the pond to form the lines that emulated hockey. Any all-time great - especially in Canada - would tell you the amount of time they played on the ponds in their free time. Lindros had a pond in his backyard too. Lafleur used to sleep in his hockey equipment just so he could get on the ice quicker. Dave Keon used to play with bigger boys on the pond and if he got checked then that was just part of growing up and getting better. I don't think you can ever underestimate a free pond at your disposal.

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12-03-2012, 12:54 AM
  #115
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I just can't see it. Hockey gets so little attention in the States. Also there is not really an American superstar player. The best American is what? Maybe the 20th or 30th best player in the league? I'm not talking about goalies either. Without an American superstar it's tough to sell the game to the non-casual fan/younger kid who is a potential hockey player.
That's the thing. Is Zach Parise the best American? Probably. Thomas and Miller are great goalies, but one is more or less not going to play and the other probably won't even make the HHOF. After Parise it looks bleak and to me there is a major change since the days of: Chelios, Leetch, Suter, Modano, Hull, Tkachuk, Leclair, Lafontaine, Amonte, Weight, Roenick, Richter. Honestly, that line up was around for a long time and it always gave this Canadian a scare.

The current American roster? I don't know, I always felt the Canadian Olympic team in 2010 massively underacheived. That team should have stomped the Americans rather easily. The American roster just doesn't strike fear into me.

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Originally Posted by Bryanbryoil View Post
Just went through the first page and no one mentioned a very important fact IMO, that many hockey players (Canadian/European) end up living in the states and raising their families there. So these are American born and trained kids but they could just as easily have been Canadian/European and come from high end athletic genes.
Good point. But we have seen this pan out already. J-P Parise and Bob Nystrom have American sons and I guess you can count Peter Stastny, but in all honesty we've seen a generation of Gretzky's era and there hasn't really been a standout American from a Canadian father living in the States. Brett Hull, I guess if he counts.

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12-03-2012, 12:56 AM
  #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I guess Walter Gretzky specifically making his backyard a rink for Wayne has no bearing on how he turned out? Honestly, Wayne spent hours upon hours out there having fun, going around pylons, shooting on the net, skating in circles. It made him what he ended up being in the NHL. When you can practice in the comfort of your own property anytime you want that is a huge plus. Someone else mentioned the Staals as an example. You think winters aren't cold in Thunder Bay? It goes further than that too. I've heard Frank Mahovlich talk about how his parents gave him blue and red ribbons that they melted onto the pond to form the lines that emulated hockey. Any all-time great - especially in Canada - would tell you the amount of time they played on the ponds in their free time. Lindros had a pond in his backyard too. Lafleur used to sleep in his hockey equipment just so he could get on the ice quicker. Dave Keon used to play with bigger boys on the pond and if he got checked then that was just part of growing up and getting better. I don't think you can ever underestimate a free pond at your disposal.
I think the point they're making is that you no longer need outdoor rinks / ponds to go pro. Back in the day, it was always a huge benefit. Extra practice and such. Now, there are way more rinks and ice time year round is much easier, which is why we're seeing more players from non traditional areas. And sure Gretzky had the backyard rink, but that's not to say tons of grinders didn't spend just as much time in the backyard / on a pond.

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12-03-2012, 01:17 AM
  #117
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Another thing worth noting when comparing hockey with a lot of other sports is the unique skill sets that hockey uses. Become a competent hockey player takes a lot of time honing both skating and stick handling skills, and most players who amount to anything even at a midget level start at a very young age (under 7). When a kid is six and hockey isn't the most prevalent sport in his/her culture, will they want to spend the time learning how to skate backwards and backhand, or will they want to throw on some cleats and kick a ball around or pick up a mitt and toss a baseball around.

In Canada all of our athlete icons are hockey players; I bet I could walk into a kindergarten class and almost every kid in there would know who Crosby, Stamkos and Toews are, but very few of them would know who Joey Votto or Dwayne de Rosario are, despite them both being MVPs in their respective sports recently. This makes them want to invest the time to learn the sport and be like these larger than life personas. A classroom of American kids on the other hand could probably all tell me who Lebron James, Tom Brady and Derek Jeter are. Once one or more Americans become bonafide superstars in the league (not just "the best American player in the league"), we should see hockey interest increase greatly

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12-03-2012, 01:23 AM
  #118
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Please dont say the MLS is more popular than hockey in the US. More kids may play soccer growing up, but who the hell watches the MLS?

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12-03-2012, 01:26 AM
  #119
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I personally think that it all comes down to location.

Northern States are going to follow hockey more closely, because they have access to play it rather cheaply.

- Hockey is an expensive sport, requiring more equipment than soccer, football, baseball or basketball (maybe even combined)

- In places where there is no snow, why would they be interested in playing it. If I live near an ocean I'm going to surf, by a mountain - I'll ski, in warm climates - soccer/football/baseball, in winter - hockey

The Northern States have a higher population than Canada and could take over, but I think that will take time and football and baseball are still number 1 and 2

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12-03-2012, 01:31 AM
  #120
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Originally Posted by BUFSABES1981 View Post
Please dont say the MLS is more popular than hockey in the US. More kids may play soccer growing up, but who the hell watches the MLS?
MLS is one of the fastest growing leagues the last few years.

The Premier League is growing viewer ship at a faster rate in the U.S. than other fringe sports.

Soccer is growing pretty rapid lately.

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12-03-2012, 01:34 AM
  #121
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I'd say it is absolutely possible. The last olympics showed that the two are not that far a part at all. Both countries have put out some awesome prospects the last few years. If the US was ever to win gold at the olympics it would spark a major point in hockey popularity. It will never be as popular here as in Canada, but the level of play will be very very close.
I don't think the Olympics proves much at all. The Olympics is an incredibly unpredictable format where a single game can dictate the results of an entire tournament. A great golatending performance or a lucky goal, at just the right time, can be the difference between playing for a medal and finishing seventh.

Canada's top-end talent is significantly ahead of the US and the quality of their depth is nowhere near close. If you were to combine Canada and the US's rosters, for an Olympics tournament, I think only a few skaters from the States would make the team (Parise, Kane, Suter, and Kesler). Americans have the clear edge in goaltending but Canada's edge on forward and defense tips the scales very unfavorably for the US. The best forward on the US is probably sixth or seventh on Canada's depth chart and Suter is the only defenseman who I would take over any of Canada's top seven.

Canada's B-team would have players like Seguin, Hall, RNH, Getzlaf, Thornton, St. Louis, Lecavalier, Iginla, Sharp, Lucic, Burrows, Phaneuf, Subban, Green, Staal, etc.

Now, try and make a US B-team.

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12-03-2012, 01:40 AM
  #122
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I don't think the Olympics proves much at all. The Olympics is an incredibly unpredictable format where a single game can dictate the results of an entire tournament. A great golatending performance or a lucky goal, at just the right time, can be the difference between playing for a medal and finishing seventh.

Canada's top-end talent is significantly ahead of the US and the quality of their depth is nowhere near close. If you were to combine Canada and the US's rosters, for an Olympics tournament, I think only a few skaters from the States would make the team (Parise, Kane, Suter, and Kesler). Americans have the clear edge in goaltending but Canada's edge on forward and defense tips the scales very unfavorably for the US. The best forward on the US is probably sixth or seventh on Canada's depth chart and Suter is the only defenseman who I would take over any of Canada's top seven.

Canada's B-team would have players like Seguin, Hall, RNH, Getzlaf, Thornton, St. Louis, Lecavalier, Iginla, Sharp, Lucic, Burrows, Phaneuf, Subban, Green, Staal, etc.

Now, try and make a US B-team.
^caught up too much in semantics...

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12-03-2012, 01:48 AM
  #123
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Originally Posted by damacles1156 View Post
MLS is one of the fastest growing leagues the last few years.

The Premier League is growing viewer ship at a faster rate in the U.S. than other fringe sports.

Soccer is growing pretty rapid lately.
It is growing rapidly, and I'm one of the converts (I thought the sport was boring as hell until about 4-5 years ago...increased availability of the sport, because of TV, the internet, and MLS expansion in the northwest all play into that...my roots are planted as a Galaxy fan, but it was the Sounders that got me to start watching the MLS when I was living in Montana, but it was being able to follow an English club semi-regularly on TV, Tottenham Hotspur, that got me to actually buy into things)...but it's growing so rapidly because it's growing from almost nothing. 200% of 1 is still only 2.

Youth numbers mean little to me. Both my brother and sister played soccer when they were kids and they hate the sport. It was just a cheap and easy way for my parents to get them out of the house for a few hours a week in the summer (I played baseball). Hockey was always my #1 sport but I never played ice hockey competitively because my family couldn't afford it (I played street hockey all the time, mind you, but outside of a couple trips to Play-It-Again Sports my parents didn't shell out much of anything for that). Soccer...one ball, an open field, two nets, boom you're set for a couple dozen kids.

I don't doubt soccer registration outnumbers hockey registration numbers in this country...hell, maybe even in Canada, but that doesn't mean it's instantly those kid's favorite sport.

I want the MLS to do well, I root for it, I may well buy Galaxy season tickets next year...but the MLS is still a very distant 5th in terms of professional team sporting leagues in this country. There's also a lot of people who are watching the European leagues that aren't adopting the MLS way at all. The Sounders may have been the team that got me to pay attention to it, but it was AGF, Tottenham Hotspur, and Barcelona FC that got me to love the sport.

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12-03-2012, 02:09 AM
  #124
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Hockey here will never surpass Canada. We have too many big sports and big leagues and it just wouldn't work.

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12-03-2012, 02:33 AM
  #125
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Hockey here will never surpass Canada. We have too many big sports and big leagues and it just wouldn't work.
If you can call baseball and poker "sports"...

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