So… pro hockey fans, anyone out there shocked to learn that the National Hockey League has pulled the plug on the entire season?
Yes, it’s a first for any major North American professional sports league, to cancel an entire season. MLB, the NBA, the NFL, they’ve all lost parts of seasons to labor disputes, but nothing this radical. Anyone taking bets on the future status of the NHL?
Now, admittedly, I write as one who has scarcely noticed that the NHL season was “on ice” (or “off ice,” depending on your fondness for metaphors). I usually tune in around the time of the playoffs. The whole quest for the Stanley Cup can be interesting, and I would watch several playoff games a year. But not much of a time or interest investment. For me, therefore, not much has been lost. March Madness and baseball season will carry my sports interest through the springtime.
Think about the long and difficult reluctance of baseball fans to come back to the ballpark in comparable numbers after the 1994 strike. That’s America’s game, with a rich and deep history. Now think about American sports consumers in places like Charlotte, NC; Nashville, TN; Phoenix, AZ… what’s it going to take to get them (or even the diehards in markets like Detroit, Boston, or Denver) back to the rink in the 2005-2006 season (that is, if the owners and players come back together in time for that to happen)?
But look on the bright side. Possibly, some of the easiest (yet trickiest) sports trivia questions have just been birthed, such as:
1. Who was the leading NHL scorer in the 2004-2005 season?
2. Which NHL team had the best regular-season record in the 2004-2005 season?
3. Which NHL goalie had the best goals against average in the 2004-2005 season?
Don’t strain your brain cells too hard…