Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ross Bernstein Interview

Thanks to On Frozen Blog for yet another great interview with Ross Bernstein, author of The Code. David Singer also interviewed Bernstein a while back. Both are great reads. And if you haven't read Bernstein's book, you are missing out.

A couple of interesting statements from Bernstein:

Fighting was made more prevalent to sell the game. I’m talking about regions where the kids don’t play the game; fighting became a selling point there. What if NASCAR said, ‘We’re eliminating crashing?’ But the way I’d put it is, fighting isn’t as gratuitous in the new NHL.

You know you mentioned the commissioner. I was in the Minnesota Wild’s owner suite recently, and Gary Bettman was there, and I got almost an hour with him. He told me that he loved my book.

The bottom line is this: When the gloves drop, the crowd always rises as one, no matter what era you’re talking about, and you can’t deny that.

Here’s the thing about hockey. It used to be one of the top 4 sports. Now it’s 8. Eight. Today, based on television ratings and revenues, you’d have say golf, college hoops, NASCAR are all above it. Hockey has always been about hockey. And by that I mean, it’s always taken care of its fans. Seventy percent of revenues are from the fans. Football makes billions — literally billions — before the game gates even open. Hockey . . . it’s a Catch-22: it’s always had to take care of its fans.

You know, not one of the 100 I talked to told me that they thought Todd Bertuzzi was a dirty player. All 100 said he broke the Code. He lost his emotion. Interesting when you think about the media coverage of that incident — all you saw was the replay, then we got the verdict. Again, the context of everything leading up to it — why was Moore on the ice then, what was said — all of this is absent the coverage.

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