Sunday, December 16, 2018

Alleged Stanley Cup Celebration in Anaheim

Question: If a team wins a major North American professional championship and then draws less than the capacity of its home arena to the post-victory celebration, is it correct to assume that few people care?
This is the very question being asked after the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup last Wednesday.
Wednesday's game 5 drew 17,372 to Honda Center in Anaheim, a standing-room only crowd. Saturday's rally in the surrounding parking lot of the arens drew......15,000?
Much has been written and said about the fact that when it comes to hockey, most of the USA just doesn't care.

Grafted onto the American sports landscape in the 1920s by enterprising Canadian businessmen who needed franchises in Manhattan, Boston, Chicago and just-beyond-the-border in Detroit to make their league viable, pro hockey has grown in fits and starts, first beyond its horizons (Los Angeles in 1967) beyond its means (6 teams in 1967 to 32 teams in 1974, 18 in the NHL and 14 in the rival World Hockey Association) to beyond anyone's common sense (franchises in Raleigh, NC, Ft Lauderdale, and 3 teams in greater New York). The NHL now "boasts" 30 teams, more than a third in cities outside of the sport's gravitational center of Canada and the US Northeast.

What many TV executives, team owners and NHL officials have routinely ignored is one aggravating little fact: Americans grow their own. The Big Three, football, baseball, and basketball, were made by Americans, for Americans (Ok, Dr. Naismith, we know you were Canadian, but you waited until you got to Kansas to put up the peach baskets).
Baseball became an American obsession in the 19th century, and despite the fact that it was Our Sport, it rarely, if ever occured to anyone in the game that its popularity was a mandate for export. That it caught on as an international pastime in places like Japan and the Caribbean was the result of allowing a natural curiosity about the sport to develop in such places, seeds being planted haphazardly, intermittently, and ultimately, unintentionally. In other words, baseball didn't care if you liked it or not. It was baseball, and it wasn't going anywhere. You can come to the mountain, it's not likely to come to you.
Hockey, on the other hand, would like to know if you'd like fries with that. They've been trying to get us to super-size for years. And since the NHL has been going over the heads of real fans to try to reach the wallets of mainstream USA, they've found that most of us are already full.

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J. Lyon Miller is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on Alleged Stanley Cup Celebration in Anaheim

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By Steven Lane on June 12, 2007 at 12:30 am
Really well written. I love to go see hockey live but I just can't get into it if I'm not there. Humm? Hockey and soccer, tough sells.
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By J. Lyon Miller on June 12, 2007 at 01:39 pm
In that case I hope Philly never wins one. The entire East Coast will go up in flames.
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