Skip to main content

THN.com Blog: Media friendliness key for growth

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Coming out of the lockout, fans and media types alike were promised a new era of accessibility to NHL players.

Promises, I suppose, are meant to be broken.

Despite the fact opening up to the media is beneficial to the league, teams and players (more access equals more fans; more fans equals more revenues), the give-‘em-the-bare-minimum credo continues to rule across most league lines.

The team-first, boast-free attitude - the womb from which this issue is born - is ingrained in the vast majority of hockey people. So it’s easy to understand where the league’s seeming disdain for cameras/microphones comes from; and how it will never change organically.

Colleague and friend Jamie Hodgson, THN’s art director, attended the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta this year and just returned from the NBA’s showcase in New Orleans. He was shocked at the ballers’ level of cooperation with the media, saying the difference between hardcourt and hard ice athletes is night and day.

Basketball players are surely more inclined to sell themselves and the NBA is definitely more inclined to sell its players. But I’d like to think at least a part of the players’ willingness comes from an understanding that you have to put yourself out there in order to grow the game.

Hockey players don’t get that at all.

Heck, for one NHL photo shoot, a star Eastern Conference player couldn’t even be bothered to show up.

And that’s far from an anomaly. Trying to get some players/management to take five minutes out of their day for an interview, or even return a call, is like pulling teeth.

(I don’t want to paint the entire league with the same brush, because some individuals and teams are very accommodating, but it happens enough that I believe it’s a fair comment.)

The league should be commended for attempting to better sell the game by increasing the entertainment value of the on-ice product, but the importance of how NHL players interact with fans – through the media and other avenues – can’t be underestimated.

AND ONE MORE THING…

I still find it hard to believe Ducks GM Brian Burke couldn’t find a team willing to part with even a low draft pick for goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, considering he’s one of the NHL’s top 10 goalies.

Edward Fraser is the editor of thehockeynews.com. His blog appears Thursdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

From now until the trade deadline (Feb. 26) The Hockey News is having a subscription sale. Click HERE to get $10 off our regular subscription price.

TOP HEADLINES

St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius Hockey Players, Parents, Coaches Sue Truck Driver After Bus Crash

Parents recalled rushing to hospital to see their children after a semi-truck crashed with a bus carrying members of a junior varsity college prep hockey team.

Roope Hintz
Play

Stars Sign Roope Hintz to Massive Eight-Year Extension

The Dallas Stars have signed forward Roope Hintz to a blockbuster eight-year contract extension that keeps him through the 2030-31 season.

Pavel Zacha
Play

NHL Stat Pack: Bruins Streak, Blackhawks Slide and Kraken Surge

Carol Schram shares the stats behind the news, including the Boston Bruins' record-setting home win streak and if the Seattle Kraken are Cup contenders.