Recently I’ve heard a lot of talk about this being the season the National Hockey League can capture many more sports fans because of the NBA lockout. How the NHL can seize this great opportunity and make itself attractive to the American sports fan and show them how great hockey truly is. To this I say hogwash. Stop trying to cater to people who don’t follow the sport and concentrate on pleasing the existing fan base.
For years Bettman and Company have tried to expand the game and make it more popular. Move franchises south. The glow puck. Shootouts. The list goes on and on. The NHL needs to stop trying so hard to be one of the “Big 4” sports leagues and just accept (and embrace) the following facts:
1. The NHL has the most loyal and rabid fan base of any North American sport.
2. People who don’t like hockey will never watch it on a regular basis.
3. No one wants to hear Muses’ “The Uprising” during stoppages anymore.
Once these are accepted it’s time to focus on how to make the game better, not make it more popular. Being the most popular certainly didn’t work out for multiple Heathers in the 1988 cult comedy and it isn’t a good idea now. Make the game better, not bigger.