Just a great post from battle of california:
Hey, whatís up, ya hosers? (Sorry, I bet youíre really tired of that. By the way, how do you guys say ďBehoove?Ē I bet itís hilarious.) I hope youíre not too cold up there in the Great White North, and hopefully you were able to get all that snow out of the way. Itís been cold here in L.A. too; yesterday it was almost 40 degrees! Anyway, I think we have to have a little talk. You see, Iím a hockey fan here in L.A. (I know, they exist? Good joke, really, I canít hear it enough) and Iím starting wonder about your commitment to hockey. Iím not saying youíre not good fans, you guys are passionate and thatís great, but Iím starting to wonder if maybe youíre hurting the sport by loving it too much.
I think what Iím trying to say is that you guys are a more little focused on making sure hockey is still a ďCanadianĒ sport than worrying about its health overall. Read this thread or this article and tell me that Canadians really seem concerned with growing the sport. You guys are acting like that one Biblical dude who would rather split the calf in half than let someone else have it. (What was his nameÖ Jesus?) Look, if Nashville eventually has to move, fine, I get the economics of the situationÖ but you guys seem to be reveling in their failure, like it proves your hockey superiority or something. Itís not good for the sport if Nashville moves, no more than it was when Winnipeg and Quebec moved. The future of the game rests with the teams in the Southern part of the United States; if they fail, the league fails. Iím not sure you guys realize that.
Another thing thatís been bothering me: you guys criticize the NHL's position in the American sports scene a lot. Actually, there are 2 groups of people that constantly mock the NHL: idiot sports "personalities" like Jim Rome and Canadians. The first I can understand: radio talk show hosts are lower than Ducks fans. But the second? I think thereís something deeper here. I get the impression that you guys donít really want hockey to succeed in the United States. You want to keep hockey to yourself, and you justify it by saying, ďWell, nobody watches hockey in the United States, they donít even want the game.Ē I think I understand why, too; Iím not Canadian, so I canít really pretend to know the national psyche, but I think you guys might be a little worried about being irrelevant. Hockey is what makes Canada unique on the global scene, and if you lose that then the only thing youíll have left are moose and flannel. (Sorry, I couldnít resist.) Is that accurate?
You guys have to understand, though, that someone isnít going to watch a sport if they think they donít think itís important. Itís likeÖ you guys ever get the show Firefly? It was on a while ago, it was created by the guy who did Buffy I think. Anyway, it had a loyal fanbase that constantly talked about how great the show was and bombarded magazines with letters any time they mentioned it. What happened was, new people didnít watch the show because they didnít feel like they knew it enough to engage with it like the older fans. The result? The show got cancelled. Iím not saying hockeyís going to get cancelled or anything, but itís running the risk of being irrelevant. Basically, these constant articles questioning hockeyís relevance are fulfilling their own prophecy by pushing away people that might otherwise be attracted to hockey. You keep trying to gauge your importance in hockey, and youíre pushing away potential fans because of it. Youíre holding the game so close to your chest that youíre suffocating it.
Iím sorry if this is kind of rambling, but Iím not really trying to make a point, just trying to get a dialogue started. Iím still not quite sure what I think myself, but I think what Iím trying to say is this: you donít own hockey anymore. I know you created it, and hey, Iím very glad you did, I love the sport. But itís not yours anymore. I know you hate Gary Bettman because heís American and he doesnít understand the history of the game or whatever, but trying to expand hockey in America is a good idea. Moving teams to Hamilton is a step backwards for the league because those people are going to watch hockey whether they have a team or not. A team moving from Nashville or Pittsburgh or Anaheim (fingers crossed) will completely destroy hockey in that area.
If you think about it in terms of making the sport better, thereís a good chance the greatest hockey player in the world has never laced up a pair of skates because he decided to play basketball or baseball or football or soccer instead. Think about it like this: California leads the NFL, MLB, and the NBA in terms of athletes currently playing the sport. In contrast, there have been 18 NHL players in the history of the sport from California. (Iím not sure if thatís current.) In the last draft, a defenseman named Jonathon Blum was drafted by the Nashville Predators. He was the first Californian to be drafted in the 1st round in the history of the NHL. This isnít a fluke; this is the future of hockey. The choice is yours: do you want to keep hockey and watch it sink into an abyss shared by lacrosse, soccer, and paintball, or are you willing to let it go and watch it succeed? Itís up to you.