Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Breaking The Barrier

Hockey in most parts of the United States has become more of a fouled joke than a cult following, but for some hockey fans, that is what drives them. Sure, Buffalo and New York are fan crazy for all sports teams. Sure, the Philly fan cheers just as negatively at the Mets fan as he does the Rangers fan, but where does that leave those in between?

Being a Cincinnati based hockey fan isn't as exciting as it sounds. Bengals fans are ever reminding me of their inability to grasp the English language (who dey), and Reds fans are beating a 'Rose' bush that never fully blossomed in my backyard. The pathetic attempt to embrace two or three sports has forced this city to cheer for College teams they have never seen in person. So why does the Ohio State fan in Cincinnati neglect the Blue Jackets? Why does the Michigan fan in Cincinnati fan neglect the Red Wings?


Time Warner, not unlike Cingular, have their market convinced they see and know everything about everything. Versus, who has yet to sign a contract with Time Warner out of Cincinnati, causes even the fans who purchase Center Ice to tear their hair out as the playoffs begin and Versus games are blacked out. At first I blamed the local youth programs, but then I realized hockey is really not dead at all in Cincinnati. The inline leagues and ice hockey leagues for youths around here are ever increasing. Hell, they are easily triple the size of the adult leagues. Could it be that parents are too set in their ways to realize how great the sport of hockey is? Of course, because when their kid is scoring the tying goal in the championship game Sunday afternoon at 2.37pm, dad is busy in the bar staring down yet another school OSU is planning to obliterate.

One thing is for sure. Hockey does have its place in every market. Around here, the Indiana Pacers can easily be ignored, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are only mildly more interesting than the Cleveland Browns, who are a perennial favourite among those who like to swear. There is an entire block of there year where professional sports are basically stagnant in this region. Here is the perfect chance to come in and steal interest.

The one thing Cincinnati needs for hockey to grow is success. They aren't going to drive five hours to Pittsburgh to watch Sid because they don't know who he is. They aren't going to drive 4 hours to the Joe, because they don't know WHAT that is. They will, however drive to Nationwide. Not only does this arena have a fantastic district, it is a young and growing franchise. FSN Ohio is indeed broadcasted here, and fans can be treated to plenty of games each year if they can turn on a television.

So where am I going with this? It's simple. Columbus needs to get better. Guys like Howson who are putting a personal cap on a team who can not breech the post season are a disease to this league. It doesn't cost that much for success. Cut ties with the cash cows like Foote and Federov, and throw another seven million into the pot for a decent squad and let the prospects fill in the spots. This isn't rocket science, it is hockey. Hockey people want to see.

~ srotaneS
The NHL Arena