With neither side in the lockout doing any talking (except the league did offer a proposal to the NHLPA late yesterday). it’s giving hockey writers a lot of time to broach other topics. One that seems to be in vogue is pondering the best way the NHL can offer penance to their fans after another extended absence from play. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun put together a 10 item list with some of his ideas.
Everything seems pretty good at first. Free Center Ice and Game Center. Great idea. Shorten the preseason? It does seem to drag on. It’s all well and good until you get to #9. Tale a look for yourself:
“9. Strongly study the merits of having NHL teams in Europe. I’d move my six weakest NHL markets to Europe and create a European division. I know people will laugh when reading this, but I’m dead serious. Unlike some southern U.S. markets, you don’t have to explain the icing rule to folks in Helsinki, Stockholm, Prague, Zurich, Berlin and Moscow. They love and know the game there. I know there are travel issues that make this less than perfectly ideal, but it’s worth it.”
Let meget this straight. 6 “underachieving” teams should be moved. It’s easy to read between the lines, especially in light of Forbes’ recent list of NHL teams’ profitability, and figure out that struggling teams are often located in non traditional markets. It seems like a lot of people think every team south of the Mason Dixon line sould be moved. It’s also implied that these franchises aren’t successful because their fans don’t know the game.
Fine. I get it. There will always be traditionalists who see teams located in places where snow and ice doesn’t naturally occur as an abomination. Because weather doesn’t lend a place to being a winter wonderland that means we have no right to the game. Frankly, that’s BS.
I live in Tampa, Florida. I bought my season tickets when the Lightning were 29th out of 30 teams. I love my team with an insane amount of passion and know this game. The idea that we aren’t legit fans because of geography is absolutely ridiculous. Walk into any arena and you’re bound to find people who don’t know the difference between the blue line and a clothes line. This isn’t reated to geography unless you count that the USA is not in Canada.
The game belongs to all of us, whether you think it’s right or not. Floridians. Texans. Californians. Austrailians too. Hockey is ours as much as it’s yours.
Also, my season tickets are 3 times less than anywhere else in the league. If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.