Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Had It All Figured Out

Michael Vick was coming by to watch the dogs. Mark Bell was going to drive me to Buffalo, and I was going to sit in the hopefully freezing Bills' Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres play an outdoor hockey game. Then I heard the bad news yesterday. Forty-two thousand tickets went on sale at 10 AM and all were gone in 40 minutes. It was bad news for me, but good news for hockey.

Along with the games across the pond in merry ol’ England, this preseason has got off to a pretty good start. This is the first time an NHL regular-season game has been played outdoors in the United States, and the first time the NHL has attempted to run this type of event. Host Edmonton ran the previous outdoor game, in 2003.

The speed at which the tickets were sold surprised many NHL officials who were worried they may be stuck with a glut of tickets and a white elephant event. Granted, a fair amount of those tickets sold have already found their way to the auction houses of the Internet, but even that shows how popular some people feel this sport has become again. If you think you are going to make a buck scalping these tickets, there must be a demand out there for it.

These steps and more are needed by the NHL to bring the sport back into its top four standing after suffering the “Year That Wasn't”. More people exposed to the sport will bring in the casual sports fan and bring back those upset at what happened a couple of years ago.

So, the '07-'08 season will begin soon and die-hard fans will be trying to convince their friends that this is a sport to be watched. And now it seems the NHL is finally trying to do that too. It’s about time.

Well, time to go a sit in my memorabilia room and wait to watch the “Ice Bowl” on television. O.J.’s coming over with some friends to see the stuff he gave me.

~ ogre1kanobe