When Will The Next World Cup Of Hockey Be NHL Winter Classic, Let’s Save Hockey

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NHL Winter Classic, Let’s Save Hockey

In my opinion, the Winter Classic is one of the top ten sporting events every year. Hockey… outside… snow around the rink, what’s not to like? Although the pre-game festivities were about 37 minutes longer than necessary, I enjoyed most of the hoopla. Bringing back legendary players, reliving the rivalry, and all growing up playing hockey on a frozen pond all contributed to a special atmosphere.

(By the way, the Winter Classic proves that sports should be played outdoors whenever possible, especially in cold weather. Football, playoff baseball, and the Winter Classic enjoy bigger, bigger crowds more passionate than basketball, indoor hockey, and summer baseball. Why? Because in most cases it’s absolutely freezing outside. You can try this yourself if you want Go outside and set up a chair in your backyard Now sit there for three hours You’re angry and cold bitter within 45 minutes Now do the same thing but instead of sitting there, bounce around and yell like an idiot You’ll lose track of time The only problem here is if your team loses Losing takes another 20 degrees off the air temperature Almost like a wind chill, but it’s a losing chill. I digress.)

The Winter Class is the NHL’s super bowl. For at least one day a year (part of one day actually), the NHL takes center stage. (If you were watching college football instead, I’m sorry. I’m not sorry to claim that the NHL takes center stage. I’m sorry you’re watching college football .) The Flyers-Bruins game was captivating from start to finish. The play was physical, there were plenty of chances to score (yes, more goals wouldn’t have hurt), and we were in doubt. On top of that away with the steam from players’ breath and a flurry of snow; and you have yourself a chance of heaven. I was dizzy.

Since its inception three years ago, the Winter Classic has been a success. Yes, the ratings dropped this year, but I attribute that to New Year’s Day falling on a Friday. Most people usually sit around on the 1st as they have work the next day. 2010 was different. Regardless, the NHL has its marquee exhibition and for the first time in nearly a decade, it’s mainstream. We can sit back and watch the NHL start, right? Incorrect. The NHL still needs help to regain its place among the four major sports in the United States. Let me light the way.

Eliminate interconference play. NHL hockey (like any sport) is at its best when the intensity is high and rivals face off. Nobody cares to see how Pittsburgh stacks up against Nashville or Columbus. Fans want to see Sid the Kid battle the Capitals as often as possible. Demonstration of the Devil and the Flyers more than six times a year. The league took steps to increase interconference games a few years ago, now it’s time to go all the way. It will take time for the competition to fully develop. However, as the teams play more often, the rivalry will increase and fans will be treated to more interesting games over the course of a season. The league doesn’t exactly print money either so the travel savings would provide an additional benefit.

Downsizing and moving some existing teams to Canada. This is just; Canada likes hockey. Six franchises are not enough for a country that could host the entire NHL. I’m not the first to come up with this answer, so I won’t pretend to be a genius. If you polled 1,000 sports fans, how many of them could name the hockey teams in Atlanta, Columbus, or Nashville? Also, why in the world does Florida have two hockey teams? Snowmobile outfitters don’t set up shop in Arizona, nor do developers build golf courses in Minnesota. The NHL needs to embrace the spirit of Abraham Lincoln and liberate most of the south from hockey. I’ll allow Florida one team, St Louis to keep the Blues, the Hurricanes to stay in Carolina and maaaayyybe giving Texas a team. That’s five, possibly six teams to move north of the border. I’m also in favor of downsizing. Although, I can’t imagine the NHL admitting they’ve reached that level.

Change the season entirely. Currently, the NHL’s Stanley Cup competes with the NBA and Major League Baseball playoffs. Until hockey regains its early 90s status, this is a losing battle. Every sports nut like me knows that there is a huge sports hole on the calendar; February to mid March. The NHL needs to shorten its season to 60-70 games and start play in late August, putting the playoffs and finals in February and early March. Taking advantage of this huge lull would allow the NHL to gather more fans and, with the exception of NASCAR once a week, monopolize the interest of the sports world. (College and professional basketball don’t heat up until mid-March and late April, respectively.) That’s not all. Scheduling the playoffs then would also allow the NHL to include the OUTDOORS Stanley Cup Finals! Obviously, this would depend on the teams involved, but that would be a spectacle. The NHL could save us all February and return to national prominence at the same time.

Gary Bettman, I am currently employed but would be willing to implement these changes for you. I can start right away. No need to thank me either. For the first time in my entire life, I won’t have to sport-hibernate.

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