NHL Media Coverage in the USA Lacking

For those located in the United States, I believe we can all agree the media coverage of the NHL is quite lackluster.

Having visiting our northern brethren Canada many times, it is two different worlds. Just last year I was curling in Ottawa and was in between matches so a friend and I decided to go to the bar for a drink and some grub. After carefully selecting my seat to be for the next hour at the bar, I began looking around. To my right, jerseys and hockey pictures of great players and moments in time as decor. To my left, even more jerseys and hockey pictures of decor. My beer arrived, Labatt Blue, another sign. I ordered a burger, fries, I passed on the gravy, and as we waited forĀ  our food we talked it up with the bartender. No, the conversation did not have one mention of the NFL, or even the sissy fouls called in the NBA, instead we spoke about our home NHL teams, the teams worth watching, and of course our playoff predictions round by round in a projected seeding. Heck, the attractive waitress even threw in her two cents. I almost asked her to marry me on the spot but questioned how border patrol would respond to me answering their questions, “Yes Sir, I do have goods that I am bringing back in the U.S., a wife.”

Our two worlds, Canada and the USA, are very different not only from the passion from the fans, but most notably, the media coverage. This is very saddening as a die hard fan, but what can change to make things better, if not more bearable?

A few things, first starting with cable providers. AT&T, a sponsor of the NHL… does not even offer NHL Center Ice package. Kind of weird don’t you think, a sponsor of the NHL and not offering the hockey package? How many satisfied customers are going to swap cable providers to only find out that the hockey package is not offered?Think of the Field of Dreams moment here. If you provide it on the provider, they will watch.

Secondly, better T.V. coverage in bars. If MMA can penetrate the market to host big Saturday night events at local bars, hockey can do the same. Imagine the possibilities, “Hockey Saturdays” at Bar XYZ. All 12 big screens will be showing all the games that night. Bring down your fantasy pool and have a beer, all while talking trash.

And thirdĀ  hockey movement, a NFL lockout. Some people have it in the books that the NFL is guaranteed to have a lockout. One can only hope. NFL rookies get paid enormous salaries and the NFL is trying to crack down on it. If it does pan out, T.V. flooding the screen with basketball can only take you so far. Hockey would have to be picked up by ESPN. ABC would begin to battle with Versus for coverage and begin to show Monday Night Hockey.

The fourth and final begins with you the fan. Call into your cable providers and let them know you want the Center Ice package. Speak to your local bar and ask them to change the station to Versus for the hockey game every time you are in. Eventually sneak in that they need to show all the games and get the hockey package. And per your own decision, tell all your friends to stop watching the NFL and watch hockey instead. You really could work in a good argument. “You know friend, by watching the NFL, you support dog killers and rapist. Is that really what you stand for?”


  1. You guys are lucky to even have hockey on your tv, but on the other hand it is one of your National sports. Here in South Africa we get a NHL maybe once a week and then it is a repeat game not, that is if our tv service provider doesn’t go and move the game to an earlier slot on the tv without informing someone about it.

  2. Isn’t that the truth, someone somewhere always has better or worse than you.

    Riaan, how did you get into hockey. Living in South Africa I would not think gets much exposure, which as you noted, definitely sucks.

    On the flip side, I would love to catch a spirited football game in South Africa or even so in a place like England for the English Premiere League. I guess both of our Countries lack one thing or another.

  3. Actually got into pretty weird, was skating public session a lot, so one my friend said I must come try play hockey so I did (was 14 at the time) from there on forth I have been playing, was selected twice into our U18 National Team, been playing in the Senior 1st Division league since I was 17, turning 21 soon so yeah loving the sport. Stopped playing for about 6 months due to politics about a year and a half ago, yes, politics, that’s right we have that here and a lot, even though hockey is not that big.

    Hockey in South Africa not so great at all! None exposure what so ever, we are lucky if we get the newspaper to do a story about how a certain team did or so.

    We have have in total 6 Rinks in South Africa and they are in which 4 is being used for hockey, one for normal public session in a mall and one also public session but it is like a half sized rink.

    Football otherwise known as soccer here by us, yeah not a big South African soccer fan, huge English Premier fan though. I will trade our soccer any day for your hockey!

    Anyways hope I am not boring you with this whole post.

  4. not boring at all Riaan. Seems like you have some skills, good stuff.

    Do you purchase the center ice package online? I did last season, and it was not bad. If it is all you have, it is better than nothing I suppose you know?

    Six rinks in all. How many teams are there then? How does age work, is there much separation, you is there a wider grouping?

    You guys call it soccer also? I thought it was considered football over there.

  5. Center ice package? No we cant get that all, not that I am aware of! If I am able to watch it online it would be great but another thing in South Africa is that our bandwidth usage is very limited so watching a game online will eat up our 9GB International cap we get with our lines. We have uncapped internet but it is not truly uncapped as it limits you to 30GB a month. If I can get some games online somewhere I get that and then save it to watch. Like that HBO 24/7 Winter Classic 4 part series that was so awesome. And I got all the Winter classic games from Itunes. So besides that the NHL signed a contract with ESPN airing hockey again so we are able to watch hockey once a week here on ESPN as it is just mostly the NFL on ESPN(which is also such a awesome sport!)

    The teams:

    In Cape Town – They are running 3 Divisions, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, each of these divisions consist of 3 teams, think the teams is the Cats, Rams and Sharks. (I think those are the names). Cape Town apparently also have a lot of social teams. Dont know if they changed this format yet.

    In Gauteng – We have quite a few divisions. Under 14 which consists of 2 teams, U18 also 2 teams. Then we 1st Division, this our top league where there is 3 Teams, Warriors(My Playing Team), Wildcats, Scorpions. Then there is the 2nd Division this is known as the old guy league and non hitting. There is 7 teams, Ice Hawks(My Coaching Team), Warrior, Sabres Red, Sabres Blue, Devils, Scorpions and The Ladies.

    Apparently this year our league is going to change a lot but still waiting for confirmation on that.

    Hope I got all the answers in for.

    Also here is some sites to check

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