As much as I hate to say it, in order to win a popularity contest you need to hang out with the popular kids; unfortunately the cool kids kick it on ESPN and the NHL is like that guy with potential who likes to stay in the A/V room at lunch.
All the other major sports in America are on major networks: NFL is on FOX, CBS, and ESPN (who is affiliated with ABC), MLB is on FOX and ESPN, NBA is on ESPN and the already established TNT, even NASCAR is on ESPN and ABC. The common denominator here is that none of these would touch NBC with a ten foot pole; in fact the NFL ditched NBC a long time ago.
I agree that it's way too expensive but until NBC can somehow prove that hockey isn't a boring, confusing game then nobody will show any interest.
The 8 gazillion $$$ the NHL invested in USAH went to the USHL and the ADM bureaucracy. Should have went to learn to skate programs.
posted Jul. 19th, 2012 - 4:01pm
KJ Lahti says:
When I played youth hockey in the 1970's our first road game came when I was playing Pee-Wee B hockey in northern Minnesota and when we did play an out of town tournament we stayed at players houses, sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags, The parents who drove us stayed in hotels, but it was cheaper for the parents to have us sleeping on the floor of the home team. I can remember having like 6 players from 3 different teams staying with us for our home tournament.. What fun those days were for us kids, not sure about our parents who put up with the noise downstairs.. but lots of floor hockey was played that is for sure..and lots of Pizza eating..
Now you have 6-8 year old kids traveling to far away tournaments staying 2 nights at some hotel, 8-10 times over the hockey season who can afford that..
Our town Silver Bay, Minnesota had lots of equiptment for kids to use, skate sales at the beginning of the year..No fancy jerseys until I play Bantam A's the jerseys before that were house jersey's.
the first new pair of goalie skates I ever wore I was 14 years old. They were Lange skates. the previous skates were the old double leather goalie skates..
And we used to have a goalie mask making weekend.. The high school goalies would cover all our faces in vasoline and then in plaster of paris, breathing thru a straw, 8 goalies with their heads cover in plaster of paris, sounding like Darth Vader.
Then the fun and smell of fiberglass resin out in the garage and the paint jobs as well..
If I told you how much I spent for my son and daughter to play the past 10 years you would have me committed. It was a rich kid sport even before 9/11 tilted the world and US economies. Time is catching up and the available pool of player is drying up. It takes 10-14 years to develop a young player for juniors and college. Parents have been trickling out of travel hockey for the past decade because at least in Texas, ice price increases have WELL EXCEEDED INFLATION. A whopping $450 will get you an hour of ice. Compare that to the average Joe salaries in the country that have declined the past 10 years. You are looking at about a 40% gap increase in the difference between ice costs and US income. That is unsustainable.
Additionally in the past 12 years Dallas has seen the rise of the "professional coach" As a dad coach on my sons mite travel team in 2002 we were offered $2000 to coach which we declined. In 10 years "professional coaches" get paid $30,000 PER TEAM to coach. An increase of over 1000%.
Thank God airfares have dropped versus inflation the past 20 years or this old guy would be living under a bridge somewhere. Oh wait. Im an airline employee about to lose my pension.
Being a father of about 10 days now, I've already begun looking forward to watching my son play sports in the future. Since he will be constantly surrounded by the game of hockey growing up in our house I'd be very surprised if he doesn't at least show enough interest to want to try the game. Unfortunately, I don't know how I can pay for him to play long term on a teacher's salary. Honestly, I'm not sure I even want to let him try the game, fall in love with it, then after two years have no way to pay for him to play and force him to quit. Also, for the price I would pay for hockey, I could spend that money exposing him to multiple activities.
Try living in the Southwest where we paid $15k+ per year for travel hockey midgets up. It's more money to play youth hockey in places like this than it is to play Tier III. You get sucked in though, trying to find the balance of keeping your kids involved in sports and out of trouble and being hopeful that eventually your kid will make it to at least Tier II "affordable" hockey. The gear itself can make an adult cry. My son came home yesterday whining that he himself had paid $390 for two sticks, to which I replied, "Try doing that for 15 years and THEN you can whine!"
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