It may be a stretch to call it an anniversary, but it is noteworthy that 45 years ago, the NHL, for the final time, concluded its season in April.
It was April 25, 1964, to be precise, when the Toronto Maple Leafs shut out the Detroit Red Wings 4-0 to win the Stanley Cup in seven games. The ensuing regular season began Oct. 12, meaning the hockey world had 170 days to breathe before putting on its game face again.
By contrast, this year we have 109 days, a full two months fewer than in the Original Six era. It’s a period cut even shorter for some by pre-Olympic camps, not to mention NHL camps and pre-season. It’s a summer that feels about as long as an Islanders winning streak.
At The Hockey News, our off-season is briefer still. In fact, it hasn’t started yet. Since the season ended, we’ve covered – both in print and on the website – the NHL awards, the entry draft and free agent season. We’ve also been working on projects such as:
• The 2009 Ultimate Fantasy Guide, in which we tell you who to pick in your pool, when to pick them and who to avoid.
• The 2009-10 Yearbook, our biggest annual project and, we believe, the best season primer on the market. It also features our lightning-rod predictions, fodder for blogs and message boards across the Internet. We won’t reveal our Stanley Cup pick here, but we will tell you we see the champ coming out of the East.
• Two soft cover books that will be published in the fall. The Pursuit of Hockeyness identifies and elaborates on 99 things every hockey fan should do in his or her lifetime. Puck Funnies provides glimpses of the lighter side of the game, building off a magazine we published in 2005.
• A stand-alone product focused on the game’s greatest sweaters/jerseys – not to mention the debate on whether they should be called sweaters or jerseys. We conducted a photo shoot for this a couple weeks ago and the results, we not so humbly believe, are stunning.
Maybe even breathtaking.
• Another stand-alone magazine devoted to hockey style and gear. We feel this is a void in the marketplace – a guide for consumers on what hockey streetwear and equipment is available, complemented by stories and photos of what today’s NHL stars wear and use.
It’s a lineup we’re excited about. We’re also eager to get on with the 2009-10 campaign, to see players who’ve moved teams don their new sweaters/jerseys, to witness the artistry, the fury, the surprises and the drama.
First, though, we’ll enjoy that off-season.
Jason Kay is the editor in chief of The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears every Friday.
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