Now as a guy who likes to lurk hockey sites, I was a little taken back by this exchange on Covers.com.
Mostly used to discuss daily NHL wagers, sometimes Covers can hold interesting conversations about the sport. Here, a Covers member is complaining that adding a team in Las Vegas would continue to ruin the NHL. It would be diluting an already watered down sport to some Canadians like this commenter.
Sure it’s a household sport up in Canada, but the NHL wouldn’t be where it is without American markets. Imagine no NHL team in New York, Boston or Chicago? You can’t, they’re original cities too. Most hockey fans couldn’t imagine LA or St Louis without teams either. Face it Canadians, this league is a partnership.
Does the United States get upset that the NBA, MLB and NFL are all popular up North? No. In fact, as an American I want more exposure in Canada. Canada is our first cousin, we don’t mind taking a short road trip. What we mind is the plane, train and automobile journeys to get to Mexico City or London for a game. But that’s for another day.
The Covers member also mentioned struggling NHL ratings resulting from diluted American hockey. It could be fuzzy math, but according to the covers poster the NHL isn’t doing its normal steady ratings in Canada. I have a hard time believing that, but he brings up the Leafs and Oilers pathetic play over the past few years. What hurts the argument is the other five teams are consistently competitive over that span. Yeah the Maple Leafs suck but their massive fan base still watch hockey, just like we watch the Monday Night Football no matter who’s playing.
A team in Las Vegas won’t hurt Toronto, Edmonton or even Quebec, it will help those cities. Americanization isn’t bad for the sport. I’m talking about making the sport bigger, more press, in your face like the NFL. The bigger the sport is the bigger each city and team get. Imagine Jamie Benn (what a great looking man) getting as much exposure as JT Watt gets. SportsCenter live from Montreal rather than Charlotte. That’s Americanizing the NHL; more money, more spotlight, more flair. If that’s what people worry about when they think a team in Vegas, well I’ll take the gamble.
Deal me the *inappropriate word only reserved for our podcasts* in!