Then why is there a lockout? Oh, because only a handful of teams are really successful. Most teams are not making money.
there is a lockout because the owners need cost certainty because when push comes to shove they know they cant trust themselves to be fiscally responsible so they figure they can make it up an the back end by getting players to take significant cuts.
Playing a game in ones youth or even taking it up recreationally as an adult simply gives one a different perspective. Experiential as opposed to passive or static. It is not a pre-requisite however to have played to embrace & love the game, as witness the large % of female fans who absolutely adore the sport, the NHL. As for "why then does it struggle for popularity"? Where to begin....
Ive had this conversation with innumerable American & British, European AND Canadian friends over the years, and here's a small sampling of what Ive been told; the rules are archaic. It can be mind numbingly boring with all the stoppages in play & often times difficult to track the puck & play. The level of hitting & violence is off-putting to those accustomed to soccer, football, basketball or baseball. An assault to manys' sense's of sportsmanlike conduct even cleaned up as it has been over the past 6 years. There are too many meaningless games played through the regular season which is also too long, inconvenient, with multiple weeknight dates from October through March. Cost is also an issue, be it for tickets or enrolment (kids); time contraints & so on, along with a general feeling amongst many that the NHL itself is little more than a Carny operator along the lines of a Conklin Brothers or Barnum & Bailey, not to be taken seriously much less respected. Hucksters. There are other "issues", but those seem to be the most oft repeated Ive heard....
Here's the thing, why are the hockey rules archaic more than any other sports, given the other sports have had the same rules as longer as hockey?
And hockey is pretty much devoided of violence outside of the NHL.
As for its lack of popularity in the US, it's pretty simple, the NHL have been run by bad businessmen for too long, how many years...decades where the Black Hawks could not even been shown on TV because Wirtz wanted people to pay to come see the game? You couldn't find more popular hockey in the US than when the Flyers ruled the World in the 70s. The fastest-growing sport league is the UFC and you find violence applenty. Difference is they are run by competent people who are not ashamed of their product. Hockey is in a constant struggle with itself and you have constant NHL commentators bad mouthing the product itself.
You couldn't find more popular hockey in the US than when the Flyers ruled the World in the 70s. The fastest-growing sport league is the UFC and you find violence applenty. Difference is they are run by competent people who are not ashamed of their product.
Ya, all solid points Kimota. Ive actually spent a fair amount of time in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia area over the years, and though hockey, the Flyers are extremely popular, their numbers pale in comparison to the Eagles, Phillies, Penn State & NCAA in general.
Really was touch & go for the NHL from 67/68 for that franchise until they basically started punching their way to top of the heap, appealing to the lowest possible denominator in providing the market with a little ultra-violence, combined of course with excellent goaltending & guys who could seriously play the game. It turned on a lot people, but it also turned off a lot more, many of whom to this day consider hockey little more than Roller Derby on ice. A taste they have no interest in acquiring.
Snider's carved out a pretty impressive place for himself over the last 4 decades, beyond savvy & street smart individual, but there arent a whole lot of guys like that within the ownership ranks at all anymore, a dying breed. And when you get the Lawyers & Accountants running everything instead of true visionaries like Ed Snider before the franchise, league & game really gains traction, youve got a real problem on your hands... and so here we are.