Since moving to Los Angeles from Michigan, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to watch my Red Wings without buying a cable package I wouldn’t be using otherwise. As such, I’ve had to find all possible venues for watching hockey in downtown LA. BTW, to show some love, Far Bar in Little Tokyo totally hooked me up with Game 1 of the Cup Finals.
Even though it was only on NBC, it should be noted that my quest for comfortable settings for watching the Wings is not going to get any easier this week or even next season. Apparently, NBC bumped (to the Versus channel) the Stanley Cup Finals for every weeknight in order to maintain its week-long coverage of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! (A television program I’m sure we will be talking about for years to come) and the start of the new Conan O’Brien show. Back home, folks aren’t particularly happy about the move. Here’s what Michael Zuidema of The Grand Rapids Press had to say as posted on MLive:
Granted, hockey hasn’t consistently pulled the strongest ratings numbers throughout the years, but it doesn’t deserve to be treated like a second-class citizen or an afterthought. Not when you have a matchup pitting Hockeytown against hockey’s poster boy, Sidney Crosby.
The buzz already is there, build on it. Or is Conan O’Brien that much more important? (Never mind, we already know the answer.)
For all NBC does right with hockey — and its coverage of the Winter Classic stands out as a huge plus — the sport still doesn’t feel like a priority, even during the Winter Olympics.
And Versus may be fighting for its niche in the sports world, but it still isn’t a destination point for casual fans. It’s not even available in every home. Nonetheless, it will carry the NHL through the 2010-11 season.
I like Conan O’Brien, and people watch him more than hockey. I’m not debating the numbers here. Nor am I about to tell everyone in Los Angeles to start liking a sport they can’t actually play without all sorts of technology. I suppose what I would like to say, and this kind of echoes Mr. Zuidema, is that despite its relative lack of mainstream appeal, hockey is still one of the great sports in America. Where it’s popular, it’s VERY popular.
I wish there was some easier way to get around all this, some way to bring hockey back to a more profitable level in order to justify it preempting something else instead of vice versa, but there isn’t. Either you like hockey or you don’t. But come on, hockey is sweet. In that vein here’s another article to check out: 10 Reasons Why You Should Be A Hockey Fan.