NHL brass concerned about growth of sport

It seems like yesterday that the city of Detroit was hoisting the Stanley Cup in celebration, but training camp will begin less than two weeks from today for most NHL franchises. And with the coming season, there’s a concern within the league to grow fan support nationally and overseas. Many insiders in the NHL feel the league will need to expand into European cities within five to ten years.

Hockey is best positioned to expand into the European market, as they have the largest percentage of players from Europe and Russia of any of the major sports. The league is attempting to identify two to five cities that could support a franchise and ultimately is working towards a European-based division in the NHL.

Another concern for the league is its television exposure in the United States. VERSUS has been disappointing in gaining subscribers in homes, hotels, and sports bars for NHL programming. Players have complained about the lack of coverage at the national level, and want to have a block of nationally televised games back on ESPN in the near future. The league will have an internal discussion on this subject in the coming months.

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