Sunday, July 24, 2005

The NHL's CBA Failure

The NHL is back! As much as I hate to admit it I am glad the National Hockey League is playing again. I missed listening to Canucks games. I missed Yahoo's fantasy hockey. I missed watching the Capitals reach for the bottom of the barrel, and overshoot. Unfortunately the recent collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players' union has not solved the underlying problem with the sport: hockey is a regional sport. It is highly popular in Canada and parts of the US, but in much of America hockey is as popular as a squid in a bathtub. Adding shoot-outs is not going to make hockey pay in Florida. Until the NHL is willing to face reality (and the new CBA suggests that that is not going to happen for a while) and let teams like the Florida Panthers and Phoenix Coyotes go under the league is not going to be financially stable. The NHL needs to stop pretending that it is the NBA. There is simply no interest in hockey in some parts of the US, and manipulating the finances of the entire league to subsidize teams in cities where most people think that ice is found in a ring, not a rink, will just hurt the league in the long run. In a perfect world I would like the see the NHL in Florida, and North Carolina, and DC, and Arizona; but in the real world that is a pipe dream. My message to the NHL is to practice some tough love and let the 800 hockey fans in those states watch the game on tv instead of live.

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