Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Building Boredom

"Not seeing an opposing team during the year is a horrible idea. We're not building rivalries, we're building boredom. It's really not as fun of a season anymore."

-Andrew in Salt Lake City

That pretty much sums it up. "It's really not as fun." Sports is entertainment. The NHL is in the business of providing Hockey played at the highest talent level possible in the cities where they can charge the highest possible amount at the gate. The players in turn take as big as possible a piece of the action they can and use it to buy their Hummers and bankroll elite gambling rings.

But if the fans are not finding it as much FUN to watch the GAME because of the BUSINESS decisions the MANAGEMENT has made then the ENTERTAINMENT aspect of the sport is in serious JEOPARDY.

Would you pay $85 to watch a great game of pick up hockey? Hell no. You pay that much to watch an NHL game because of the skill level, the excitement, the atmosphere... granted some games are better than others, some games are looked to with more anticipation, but the overall season is good value.

But not this year.

This year when I look at the schedule and consider making the rather large INVESTMENT in my ENTERTAINMENT SPENDING for the year I have to examine the product a little closer. I can't go forward with confidence that there may be some lame games but because of the variety in the schedule it will be far outweighed by the overall product. Now I have to look to see what product this league has deemed it appropriate to serve me.

And that sucks.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Heart of the Problem

The essential heart of the problem is that we used to look forward to looking at the new schedule to find out WHEN your favorite team was coming to town and beg, borrow or steal your way into THAT game, your game, your favorite game of the year. Now you look at the schedule to find out IF. That's wrong.

Great comment on the petition from an Avalanche fan saying she was sick of the Canucks and Flames. I am a Canucks fan and a proud Canadian but instead of the old incendiary feelings of rivalry I used to have toward those poor misguided folks in Denver I felt nothing but comradery, commiseration and heartfelt empathy. FOR AN AV'S FAN! Something is terribly wrong.

The idea of creating rivalries by repeating slamming the same team in our face is really rather dimwitted at best. Rivalries are mostly born in the playoffs when it's do or die against that same team. And what spice they can add to the next year's schedule when they are renewed. Now an inter-conference rivalry may not be revisited for years.

It feels like the NHL executive thinks they can tell us how to be fans. They want us to CONFORM to their marketing experts COOKIE CUTTER understanding of what hockey is. Hockey's soul is not in it's market potential. Rivalries and empassioned fanaticism are not inspired by an accountant's wet dream to minimize travel costs.

How can you prolong an intense hatred of the Minnesota Wild when you have to play them eight or more times a year? It's like they are freaking roommates or neighbours. You have to get along because they are ALWAYS HERE.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fix the New NHL Schedule

The new NHL Schedule could be the most ridiculous example of what can go wrong when you mess with a good thing.

Under the pretext of encouraging regional rivalries and reducing travel costs the NHL has designed a schedule that flies in the face of its own traditions. The new overemphasis on divisional play encourages not rivalry but rather boredom and frustration. Season ticket holders deserve to see the stars of the game. They pay huge money and deserve to be delivered a product worthy of their consideration.

In Vancouver we are defining this as the 'enough of the stinking Wild' syndrome. The NHL has taken what were flourishing rivalries into force fed palp. It's like a Rocky movie. First one is good, second great, third well that was fine, fourth enough already!

Where is the excitement? If Hockey is entertainment how come these "entertainers" don't know about 'always leave them wanting more?' How can you want more when you get nothing from some divisions and too much from the others.

So many of my hockey loving friends and I are so choked at this schedule that I thought it only right to start a petition in the hope that if enough true hockey fans sign it we may be able to show even a lawyer like Bettman the sheer stupidity of his ways.

Please add your name here: http://www.petitiononline.com/NHLFIXIT/petition.html

I sincerely hope that for the good of the game this can be fixed.

Last year I bit the bullet and put down a deposit on the wait list for Canucks season tickets. I am number 1000 odd on the list. This year I'm hoping they don't get to me. Without Toronto and Montreal coming it really does not feel like a real season. There is something critically wrong with this schedule.