Response to What Nate Silver’s NHL Would Look Like:
Just plain stupid. The NHL’s “non traditional” markets take time. We’re just beginning to see players make it to the NHL from these “non traditional” markets (SoCal, Fla, Texas, Tenn., Ala., N.C., etc.) It takes time to growafan base. It takes time for biased sports writers in non traditional markets to warm toasport of which they have never been exposed. As NHL, minor league and college hockey remains in non traditional markets, youth hockey programs ultimately spring up and new fans are sucked into the game. For instance, Nashville (my market) has seen such an increase in people playing hockey (kids and adults), there isademand for more ice. It was just announced this week Nashville is addding2more sheets bringing the total in the metro area to five sheets of ice. Nashville hockey folks say there isaneed for four more sheets to meet the demand. BTW, Nashville home games sold out for more than 50 straight games, with the steak ending when the Preds were eliminated from playoof contention. Maybe the NHL might look at restructuring minor league hockey to mirror minor league baseball, with the intent of keeping an NHL team’s AAA, AA andAaffiliations in the same geographic region which encourages brand loyalty. Then maybe the NHL might partner with the minor league franchises to expand youth/adult hockey in those cities and beyond. NHL could partner with ice rink industry/hockey equipment mannufacturers to lease shuttered buildings on non-traditional communities and place ice rinks in abandoned Big Box stores littering the burbs. BRACed National Guard Armories or plane hangers would make great Arenas. Reebok could fill the new “arenas” with equipment and hire hockey folks to run youth/adult hockey programs there. Grow the sport and the all hockey prospers.