Hockey’s Unknown Fan Builder

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By Peter Christian

When I tell people that hockey is the sport I love most, I usually get an odd look followed by a snotty, “Why?”

No matter what I tell them, they always just shrug and turn away with that look still plastered to their face. I could try and convince them that hockey is great, but I’d have greater success convincing Kate Bosworth to compete in next year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest alongside Joey Chesnutt and Kobayashi. Most people made up their mind about hockey and the NHL long ago. The wasted lock-out season just cemented their already bad bias. No story or logic is going to convince the masses to welcome the sport into their life. It has been my experience that there is only two ways to convert a non-fan into a fan. The first is the conventional method: go to the games. It’s simple, but expensive. One game isn’t enough to get someone to jump in, but a handful over the course of the season sure is. The problem is that not everyone can afford to go to a game once or twice per month just to see if they like the sport.

So what is another option to get some more fans invested into the NHL and the sport as a whole?

The answer is too easy and like the sport itself it gets lost underneath its football, baseball and basketball counterparts.

FANTASY HOCKEY!

I’ve been playing fantasy sports in some fashion for 15 years and even though hockey is my favorite sport, it was the last sport that I tried playing in a fantasy manner. I even played Fantasy Golf and Nascar before signing up for a fantasy hockey league. Yet over the last three years I have fallen in love with it. It provides all the same things that the other sports do (reasons to follow other teams, a time waster at the office and a reason to care about a late Sunday game between Carolina and Phoenix that would otherwise be forgotten) but it offers so much more to new fans of the sport.

Unlike other fantasy sports, it is rare that you find a player whose value on the ice is outweighed by his fantasy value. Unlike other sports you can really get into the nuts and bolts of the game simply by paying attention to the fantasy statistics. As a fantasy owner in a fantasy hockey league you really get the importance of having more shots on goal (more chances to score, ask owners of Alex Ovechkin), you also understand that players scoring Power Play Points are doubly valuable in fantasy (PPP get to help in two or three categories) while also help build or stop momentum during the game. I could go on, but I won’t. Instead, I ask to just sign up for a league. Forget that the NHL has run itself into the ground under bad leadership and just have fun learning about new players (whose names you can’t pronounce) and watch them help you to another fantasy league victory.

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Comments

  1. Um, I’m sold Pete. TSB league anyone?? Nice article!

  2. Right people should be down on the sport just because it’s mostly broadcasted on a network 3 people in this coutnry get, and their commissioner is a mongoloid. That sounds sarcastic, but seriousy I think it’s a great game, it just has a couple big things going against it right now.

  3. Another method …. HDTV.

    I’ve always liked hockey (Go Wings!) but I watched the Wings on HD last night for the first time. BLEW MY FREAKING MIND!

    Now THATS a sport worth watching at home.

  4. Peter Christian says

    It’s official, HJB is soulless. He likes the Yankees AND the Red Wings. Let me know what Satan is like.

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