Hockey Night in England
Hmmm, apparently Dan Cloutier did make the trip.
I'm fascinated by the fact the NHL season will open in a place where everyone's completely indifferent to the games (other than Arizona, I mean), something that seems so fitting for a league always chasing fans that want nothing to do with it.
One of my pals from journalism school, Josh Wingrove, is in London working for CBC News, and I've been pestering him for some tidbits relating to what's going on over there. Apparently he's got lots of real "work" to do, but here's a look:
First up, The Guardian ran an amusing beginner's guide to the NHL today that you can see online here. "The NHL, what's that then?" reads the very British subhead, and the piece is so riddled with errors I'm not sure where to begin (date of the lockout's wrong, salary cap figure's incorrect, etc.).
They do seem to like the Stanley Cup, however:
The Stanley what now?Josh, a good Edmonton boy, also says Gary Bettman's been front and centre of the press "barrage" this week, doing radio interviews and BBC appearances. Of course, it'd be better to get one of the more articulate players for this sort of thing, but, well, that's not what's happening...
The Stanley Cup. This is the trophy all the teams in the NHL play for. This, really, is the star of the league. At a quarter-inch below three feet tall and weighing almost two and a half stone, 'The Cup' has engraved on its frame the name of every team, every player and every coach that has ever won it, from the now defunct Montreal Victorias (1895) to this year's champions, the Anaheim Ducks. Truly a thing of beauty, the Stanley Cup is the Holy Grail of North American professional sports.
The press has been calling it "American hockey," apparently a similar usage to "American football," which has a far bigger following in England. The BBC reporter's lead question for Bettman was "Why are you here?"
To which Bettman said something along the lines of "I think there's a great appetite for our game here.
"We didn't do any advertising of promotion, and the two games were sold out in two weeks. We know that there's a great interest in our game throughout the world."
Bettman was also asked about the NBA and NFL: "I'm not worried about the other guys. We are the most international of the North American sports, as I've said, one-third of our players are international. This is truly the world's game."
The author of the previously mentioned beginner's guide also has a blog going on the games:
The coming weekend sees British and European fans given the chance to see one of the greatest live sports, played live. They will see the majestic, three-foot tall Stanley Cup - won last year by the Ducks, beating the Ottawa Senators in five games - presented prior to the game. They will see true sporting superstars, players such as the Ducks' 'rugged' (translation: borderline psychopathic) defenseman Chris Pronger and forwards Rob Niedermeyer and Todd Bertuzzi.Other than that, there has been very little coverage, Josh says, and you really have to search around for reports from local media outlets.
If anyone else has links or information from London, please feel free to post them in the comments or send me an email.
Labels: Hockey Night in England