NHL should mandate youth leagues~TV Wars~ A Good Cause

It’s interesting reading all the articles about how the league should move teams from the southern USA to Canada.  With a strong Canadian dollar it’s an easy thing to suggest.  There is a piece about it at the Hockey News, and George Richards comments on it in his post at On Frozen Pond today.

I lived in Miami and and have visited Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix and Tampa.  All markets that have been (rightly or wrongly) target as potential franchises that should move.  The truth is that, the owners collectively failed each market by not demanding that any city or ownership group that was part of the bid to land the franchise did not have to establish youth leagues.  This should be mandated by the league.  The only way the NHL can survive in a non-traditional market is if people, especially kids start playing.  In each market, leagues have started to grow, however, like all things it takes time.  The league should require a serious investment in community hockey programs, including the building of areans, funding of equipment and establishment of leagues.  The argument in Miami was, who will play hockey in Miami.  The easy answer was no one when there aren’t any rinks!  As a few rinks started to pop up, they got filled and more kids started to play.  That is how you grow your base.  It is easy for kids to play football, soccer, baseball and basketball, there are no barriers to playing the sport.  Ice hockey is tougher.  It is more expensive and in a lot of areas it isn’t native.

Moving teams to Canada may be an answer.  Keep in mind the dollar wasn’t always where it is now, and teams in Canada have struggled to the point of extinction as a result.  If folks were to rash in leaving, the lesson learned should be not to be too rash in rushing back.  The key, is that before any team is either moved or established that a foundation is laid for the team to succeed.  Its great to have corporate buy in to sell sponsorships and boxes.  If today’s kids aren’t interested, they won’t be interested when they are adults.  Kids who weren’t into hockey here in Toronto, aren’t likely to be in to it today either, so it isn’t a guarantee.  However, I can assure you that if affordable hockey is available to be played in a city there is a much better chance of it catching on then the alternative.


Interesting to watch the overnight ratings tonight as the NFL season kicks off against John McCain’s speech at the Republican Convention.  NFL football vs. politics.  Should be an interesting battle for the remote in the USA to be sure.


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