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What The Olympics Meant For American Hockey Fans

March 1, 2010

We lost.

In gut-wrenching defeat our boys were sent home with silver. It still stings and it probably will for a while, but there are so many positives to take away from this Olympiad that it’s hard to be down.

Yesterday our game was at the front of most Americans’ minds. It was at center stage at its highest level. Facebook statuses, tweets and conversations dedicated to hockey started springing up across this country. People previously not interested in the sport hung on every shift, every pass, every shot. Even if it may be for just one day, it was no longer just Canada’s game, but our game. I heard of people who stopped watching hockey twenty years prior turning on their TVs to witness a gold medal final for the ages. Friends that used to laugh and mock my favorite pastime now called me afterward to inform me they were hooked.

Canada needed the gold, we didn’t. Our northern neighbors have very few national myths, but being the best at hockey is one of them. We didn’t the gold, we just needed a quality game. In this country hockey is the “fourth major sport,” but at times it seems as though we’re much further away. America suffers from a lack of coverage. Thanks to an idiotic TV contract our game is out of public sight, relegated by choice to a channel that most haven’t even heard of and when it is on national television it is subject to horrible coverage.

Hockey is now on the public consciousness. People now know names like Miller, Parise, Rafalski, Heatley, and Luongo. New fans were created today. I’m a strong believer that the game will sell itself, people just have to see it. Hockey fans are a big family and we love sharing the sport we love. If now there is a time for American hockey fans to share their love of the sport, it’s now.

Make an effort, help grow the game. If someone close to you says something about a few found interest in hockey, don’t let it die. Look at the local team’s schedule, take them to a game or invite them over to watch one on Versus, NHL Network or NBC. If the problem is they don’t have a team, then by all means help them find one. Teach them everything you can, show them why our game is the greatest on Earth. Don’t let hockey just be a sport they care about every four years. They’re on the verge of being a fan, just help them make the next step.

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