Last week the NHL announced the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season, an auspicious 82 games scrapped thus far—probably more to come—which begs the question: What will happen to all that airtime devoted to showing hockey? What will be shown in those vacated timeslots? How will sports networks fill the gap?
Sure, they could show us other hockey, Junior hockey, minor league hockey, college hockey, maybe even European hockey if they get desperate enough. But to me, that’s like watered-down drinks at an open-bar, the first couple are alright but soon enough you realize the product’s not delivering like it should. What I think they should do is show some different sports, and not Poker, real sports. Contact sports. But not MMA, I know hockey fans love it, lots of natural crossover there, but it gets too much airtime as it is. They should take this opportunity to give some under-represented sports a shot, clearly hockey fans aren’t afraid to support a sport that’s lower down on the popularity rankings, so here’s a few suggestions:
It’s practically hockey already, at least box Lacrosse. The rules are similar. It’s played in a hockey rink. It’s five a side, plus a goalie. It’s all about hand-eye coordination and stick skills. It’s a full contact; they change on the fly and have power plays. But, it’s played over the more familiar four quarters, with a halftime, none of that “second intermission” nonsense. Also it’s played by a bunch of toothless Canucks, who might frighten the average person, but who hockey fans already know and love. And it’s the only other sport that sanctions fighting, which hockey fans also love.
Why Rugby? Why not Rugby? On the surface it seems to have many things hockey fans would enjoy. It’s hard-hitting, like hockey. It’s fast moving, like hockey. It’s bloody, it’s violent and it’s full of cheap shots, also like hockey. I don’t understand any of the rules, or why they don’t just pass it forward, or why a “try” is worth 5 points instead of 3, or why it isn’t called a “pent” instead. What I do know is it’s a bunch of bruising dudes smashing into another bunch of bruising dudes and trying to score more points, and that sounds like hockey.
3. Lingerie Football
That counts as a sport right? Why the hell not, there’s no hockey we have to watch something. Given that the majority of hockey fans are red-blooded males, Lingerie Football seems like a great way to keep ratings up—maybe even improve them some. Are Lingerie Football players athletes? I don’t know, maybe, does it matter? They’re running around in their underwear, that’s what matters. I mean someone started this league, these ladies tried-out, they made the team, they’ve been fitted in their uniforms, the least we could do is watch.
4. Women’s Beach Volleyball
I know what you’re thinking: volleyball sucks. And you’re right who likes a game where you can’t even engage your opponent and must stay on your own side? It’s certainly not a contact sport. But any sport where the competitors are super fit and wearing bikinis—think Lingerie Football with real athletes—sounds like a sport the hockey fans I know can get behind, especially if they hire the same cameramen who worked the Olympics who are so good at capturing them signalling each other behind their backs.
5. Basketball with Trampolines
What ever became of this ingenious idea? And what was it called again? Slamball? Yeah, that was it, Slamball! What a concept! For those who never had the pleasure of watching a game just imagine full-contact basketball with four trampolines below each net and you’re imagining Slamball. It was ridiculous. Just mind-bogglingly unnecessarily ridiculous! Like dragging-your-fans-through-a-third-lockout-in-less-than-twenty-years-and-possibly-sacraficing-another-enitre-season-to-argue-over-the-size-of-your-slice-of-a-multi-billion-dollar-pie ridiculous.