As the first week of the NHL is over, it is time to celebrate/reflect on the moments that have made this one of the best opening weeks in my lifetime. Whether it is Auston Matthews four-goal debut, Connor McDavid being crowned the youngest captain in NHL history or on the lighter side; just seeing a new exciting player in your team's sweater. There have also been low points; most notably Sidney Crosby once again being sidelined with another concussion, but in this blog, we will be looking at the bright future of the NHL and the positives of being a fan of this great sport.
Big Names for Big Cities
The most important thing about a league growing is that they need their marquee teams/cities to be easily marketable. When we think about the top American Hockey Cities, we think of Detroit, Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. When in America you can watch practically any sport at any time on T.V. so the NHL needs big names in the major cities with multiple sports teams. Take the Blackhawks for example, the Blackhawks with the draft and good managing they were able to win their third Stanley Cup in 2015 in just six years. In a city where the Cubs and Bears rule; to have the hockey team the one bringing consistent parades keeps the NHL relevant in a city where they are the 3rd or 4th sports team. Even in New York, we have Henrik Lundqvist. New York City has neglected hockey for the most part until teams like the Knicks, Mets, Jets and even the Yankees went through a rough patch where we were the only consistent title contender in NYC. When you have a star player (Lundqvist) who is able not just to play hockey but walk a red carpet or be a model it once again brings more light to the NHL especially in a city where there are thousands of other things to spend your time doing.
Now we focus on Canada, even though it is already the leading Sport there it is still great for the NHL to have so much promising talent in some of their biggest Canadian Cities. As we spoke about earlier the Toronto Maple Leafs seem to be on the up and up as they have Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitchell Marner to make sure the Leafs can get a Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years. If we are talking about Canada, it is hard not to look at the teams in Alberta as both teams have loads of young and exciting talent like Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames) and Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) who are being household names not just in Canada but all around the world. I don't want to make this too long, but this could be the first time every major North American City (with a hockey team) has an elite player.
As we look at other Cities that have been growing over the years we look at Tampa Bay (consistent Stanley Cup Favorite), Florida Panthers (great young talent and have NHL legend Jaromír Jágr), Dallas Stars (Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin), and of course the biggest move of the summer; The Nashville Predators getting PK Subban. These teams/fan bases are on the cusp of greatness as they now have the talent to compete with the big boys. We also have the St. Louis Blues who have one of the best goal scorers in the NHL in Vladimir Tarasenko. With all of these elite players in markets that are BEGGING for a Championship, the NHL is in full force to go in and take over these cities over.
How will the NHL Compete?
With the NFL's views declining due to the National Anthem protesting and lack of a true narrative (as there are only four good teams) the NHL needs to use this to keep having every single team able to win on any given night. This is why the NHL Playoffs get so much love, the passion, the goals, the stories and that it is the most unpredictable. Which is exactly what the NHL needs to market to catch the eyes of these NFL fans and NBA fans who know due to super teams their franchise will be doomed to never (or in the distant future) winning a title. In the NHL you can't form a super team, in the NHL your team always has a chance to make something of your season which is that why I love hockey, and why everyone who is reading this blog does. This is what makes Hockey the best sport in the world and the world needs to see this.
Obviously, I could have wrote more but I didn't want to make this "too long" if you agree with me make sure to leave a comment or go over to our Twitter and Follow us! Thank you for the continued support and helping this blog grow so quickly means so much.