One simple way YOU can save the NHL

Just because I’ve moved to Africa doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten the plight of North America’s (currently) second least popular major sports league.

Shortly after the end of the last NHL season, which was a few weeks ago, at least, I wrote that, in order to save itself, the NHL needs to have shorter seasons.  Surprisingly, Commissioner Gary Bettman did not call me (or anyone else, I imagine) to discuss the idea.

So now it’s time for grassroots action by all of us.

Just to remind you, a shorter NHL season benefits everyone:

  • For players, a shorter season means less fatigue and chance of injury
  • For owners, fewer games (i.e. less supply) can mean potentially higher ticket prices (see NFL)
  • For fans, a shorter season would be less taxing on attention spans, and would mean we don’t have to wait as long for something interesting or consequential to happen
  • For the sport as a whole, a shorter season would be easier for casual fans to follow and would mean the NHL regular season would no longer have to compete with the playoffs of EVERY OTHER SPORT for viewership
But as with so many other noble causes, it appears change may only come if there’s pressure from the masses.   So now that the pre-season has already begun (nothing says September like pre-season hockey!) and the regular season is only two weeks away, I think it’s time for all fans who care about the sport to organize ourselves and take the following action:

Boycott the NHL until November

And when I say boycott, I mean boycott.  Don’t go to any games, don’t watch any games on TV, don’t even watch highlights online until November.  If you are a diehard fan, this might be very hard.  If you are a casual fan, you might have accidentally done this anyway.

If tonnes of people join in, it could make the first month of the season so unprofitable that the powers that be in the NHL might start wondering if they should just chop a month or two off the schedule.

Normally at the end of my posts, I ask for your thoughts.  As always, I welcome them.  But this time, I would also suggest that you share this post with anyone you know who cares about the future of the NHL.


3 responses to “One simple way YOU can save the NHL

  1. I’m with you. I will boycott. Shorter seasons for all sports leagues are a must!

    Also, how would you feel about a Hockey Champions League (all NHL teams, all KHL teams, and some others) for a meaningful November “preseason” tournament. Teams start in a group stage and move to a single elimination tournament. This will definitely generate extra interest and provide a big lead-in event to the season.

    I’ll have a post soon to demonstrate how this can work for Pro Basketball but could easily be adapted to hockey.

  2. Crazy! This morning I was just thinking that if I were Brandon, I would’ve suggested an international champions league.

    The IIHF has tried to run a European Champions League of one sort of another several times, the most recent effort lasting only one year. Throwing NHL teams in the mix would definitely make it more interesting, but my concern is that right now, only the KHL could provide good competition. In other words, I’m afraid such a champions league would look more CONCACAF’s (always a Mexican champion, usually beating another Mexican side in the final) than UEFA’s.

    BUT! That would still be more interesting than the current preseason schedule, so I’m for it!

  3. First, I got my post up about a similar tournament for basketball, that would be easily adapted for hockey.

    Second, for the hockey tournament, I don’t think you need to invite every league (which is soccer’s problem). Just the ones that can hack it. The field would be all the NHL & KHL teams, and a few other European champions it! Throw in the NCAA champion for the fun of it too.

    Thirdly, I’m passing this post on to all the hockey fans I know, helping this boycott in every way I can!

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