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Do Canadians love NHL hockey?


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Feb. 7, 2005. 06:10 PM

Dryden wonders: NHL love heartfelt, or habit?

ASSOCIATED PRESS

OTTAWA ? Hockey legend Ken Dryden says the NHL lockout has shown many fans that their love for Canada's game is more habit than heartfelt.

It's a revelation that could damage the National Hockey League long after players get back on the ice, he said today outside the Commons.

"I think that there are a number of fans in this country who have sensed over the last number of months that actually maybe it was more habit than it was passion.

"I think for the great majority it's still a passion, but others have discovered that maybe it was something else.

"And so, as much as this can be problematic in the U.S. and that's where it's usually talked about, I think it's also a problem in this country."

Dryden made the comments as the NHL hockey drought nears its fifth month.

Many players and fans seem resigned to write off the season, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has yet to confirm the apparently obvious: there is no truce in sight.

The NHL Players' Association shows no sign of accepting ``linkage" ? a salary cap tied to league revenue ? and the owners seem determined to demand it.

Dryden, a former Toronto Maple Leafs president and six-time Stanley Cup champ with the Montreal Canadiens, would not be drawn into the debate.

The first-term MP, now Minister of Social Development, sees no referee role for the federal government at this time. It's up to the players and owners to find common ground, he said.

"They're so philosophically widely separated that I'm not sure where the conversation begins with them," he said.

"They themselves have rarely met in the last couple of months, even as the prospects of having any season at all have been going down the drain, because they've not had much to talk about.

"And that's the problem."

Players and owners both could wind up losers for making hockey lovers wait so long, Dryden says.

"You never want to give a fan a chance to find out whether it was passion or habit."

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...id=968867503640

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Feb. 9, 2005. 04:43 PM

Many NHL fans don't miss game, poll suggests

CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA ? Almost 40 per cent of the NHL's Canadian fan base said they don't miss the pro game, according to a new poll that spells further trouble for warring National Hockey League partners.

The national survey suggests that five months into a labour lockout that has darkened NHL rinks since September, "opinion seems to be drifting towards indifference," Decima CEO Bruce Anderson said today.

Overall, 39 per cent of those polled said they were regular NHL followers. That was down three points from a similar Decima Research poll a year earlier.

Among those self-described fans, more than one in three ? 37 per cent ? said they weren't pining away for NHL hockey.

When fans and non-fans alike were included, barely a quarter ? 28 per cent ? said they missed the game.

"If either side in this dispute is holding back in negotiation, waiting to harness a broad and deep demand for the return of hockey, these numbers say this is really unlikely to happen," said Anderson.

The poll of 1,008 adult Canadians from Feb. 2-7 is considered accurate within 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The numbers buttress an observation by Ken Dryden, the Hall of Fame goaltender and former NHL executive, who said this week the extended hiatus is making some hockey followers realize their pastime was more habit than passion.

"You never want to give a fan a chance to find out whether it was passion or habit," said the federal minister for social development.

A COMPAS poll last month found that interest among hockey fans had fallen by 30 per cent.

The new Decima survey suggests that only nine per cent of Canadians support the position of the NHL players in the salary dispute.

Support for team owners ? who locked the players out and are demanding team salary caps linked to league revenues ? was much higher, but still only 28 per cent.

Some 27 per cent of respondents supported both sides equally, while another 22 per cent supported neither side.

Among hard-core NHL fans, support broke down as: 34 per cent for owners; 15 per cent for players; 34 per cent equally; and 14 per cent for neither.

What the polls don't say is whether amateur hockey's popularity has suffered or bloomed as a result of the NHL shutdown.

Ian Bird, executive director of the Canadian Professional Coaches Association, was in Ottawa on Wednesday lobbying for increased federal funding for amateur sport.

"The lived experience of Canadians in hockey continues to be very strong," said Baird, noting the commitment to the national team "has not wavered."

"I also think that what we're finding is a real opportunity to begin to share the stories of some of the athletes who pursue sports toward the Olympic and paralympic path."

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...tacodalogin=yes

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Just about the same thing happened in the US with the MLB strike, they lost tons of fans from it, and are only now finally recovering

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i have been to so many OHL, AHL, Jr. A and Jr. B games it's insane...and the hockey is way more entertaining when these people are playing for the love, not the paycheque...I miss hockey, but I don't miss bloated salaries that create spoiled brats.

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well, I'm from all over Canada (really, I've lived around a lot), and I used to love hockey when I was VERY young, but now I hate it. Even the minor teams suck now. It's all about the crosschecks and not about good passes, maneuvering around defenders, and actual time on the ice! (come on, 30 second rotations??? Even when I played hockey I wanted to be on the ice the whole game, I accepted the 5 minute rotation we had though). Players nowadays are just pussies who use their brawn instead of everything else.

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:/ I miss it too, but I'm in the U.S., where it's definitely not habit to like it. It's my sport... I played baseball and soccer, but then I decided to play hockey, and it was the only one I've ever truly loved. Now, not only do I not have time to play, but I don't even get to watch :cry:

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I want to see the questions being asked in the polls and the demographics of the poll (they're closely guarded secrets of the polling companies) before I believe it. The media often given them questions which will present undue bias.

I'm not an NHL fan. But it is interesting to hear some of the commentary. Some people are saying they have way more spending money and are doing other things with their time. Others yet are saying that they barely have money to spend on beer to watch the game at the bar.

The NHL players really need a lesson in Game Theory. They've gambled and lost a lot more. They should just sign any deal which comes their way.

What's funnier yet are the 14 and 15 yr old hockey players and draft picks for next year complaining that its going to effect their careers. Can't say I feel any remorse for them.

I know of 2 hockey players on a somewhat personal level. I haven't talked to them for 10 years (we went to the same schools). I can't say I feel bad about them at all. One is a pretty big star now.

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shame on you.

585444258[/snapback]

Not really. I don't blame him for hating it. He lives in Leaf Country, a place that will never see another Stanley Cup.

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Not really. I don't blame him for hating it. He lives in Leaf Country, a place that will never see another Stanley Cup.

585449305[/snapback]

that was a low blow

i miss watching the leafs, then canucks or flames every saturday

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WTF are you talking about?

585449343[/snapback]

rofl what i'm talking about ??

Since it is under control mostly of americans, hockey has changed and players are heavily over-payed. Some teams can't follow and can't offer has much money as others to get good players. Too much good canadian players playing for an american team.

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Yeah bettman is an american and so are almost all the people that run the league.... they are complete dumbasses its so annoying.

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rofl what i'm talking about ??

Since it is under control mostly of americans, hockey has changed and players are heavily over-payed. Some teams can't follow and can't offer has much money as others to get good players. Too much good canadian players playing for an american team.

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Sorry, but it was America that put hockey on the map and made it into one of the big four sports. "We" may have commercialized it and made it "impure", but it also made hockey more popular. If the Canadian Hockey League or any European league was better they would be as popular as the NHL. If you look at the athletes from the four big sports (hockey, baseball, basketball, and football) you will see that hockey players are underpaid in comparison. Hockey players put their bodies, and even their lives, on the line and they deserve this high salary. If there is an overpaid sport it is basketball.

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:cry: I miss it...

It's not a habit here, I really love the sport :blush:

I agree that Bettman messed everything up, he's just a moron. America made it popular worldwide, but it's still the #4 sport in the states. If the would have just left it alone, we would have pure hockey, it's all about the money.

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