Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ESPN's Patrick Hruby - Hockey Fight Fan Fanatic

Twominutesforblogging, Fried Chickens Hockey Fight Site, and ESPN Page 2’s Patrick Hruby recently hooked up for an E-Ticket story to give an inside look into the hockey fight fan community. The story has been in the works since last year.

At that time, Patrick, a former Washington Times staff writer and current Page 2 heavy hitter (with one of the best jobs in the world says me!), contacted Twominutes for a chat about enforcers and their devoted fans. With a bit of guidance, he ran with the story and was soon catching flights to meet some of hockey’s toughest enforcers, including Derek and Aaron Boogaard, Georges Laraque, Milan Lucic, and former LNAH and current AHL sensation Jon “Nasty” Mirasty.

As a member of Fried Chicken’s message board, we were also able to put Patrick in touch with some of the most devoted hockey fight fans in the world. Patrick again hit the road, this time to connect with some of FC’s finestl; and he was kindly taken in to homes and small town arenas so he could experience first hand just how loyal these fans are to their favorite enforcers and teams.

With recent news coming out that ESPN has expressed interest in bringing hockey back to their airways, you can’t help but think about other moves ESPN had made recently as well. Don Cherry, an outspoken proponent of tough, physical hockey and enforcers, was brought in on a part-time basis to cover the 2008 NHL playoffs. Cherry, night after night, continues to work in pokes at the NHL for their stubborn unwillingness to promote hockey’s true characters and fan favorites. And when you combine his commentary with long-time enforcer fan Barry Melrose, you can’t help but wonder if ESPN is sending a message to the NHL about just what fans, and their network, wants more of from a game that has come to resemble European hockey moreso than even 1980s and 90s NHL hockey.

Now ESPN hits the internet community with a huge E-Ticket story on the fans that continue to support the few remaining tough guys of the NHL and minor league circuits.

And at the very start of the Stanley Cup Finals mind you. Peculiar timing, eh?

While I am not saying the NHL’s hopes of hitting the ESPN timeslots once again are linked to the NHL’s ability or willingness to promote hockey enforcers, I will gladly say that I think ESPN is sending a message to NHL leadership that the “worldwide leader in sports” (and the final say on the image of all sports) is in tune to exactly what the overwhelming majority of hockey fans want to see more of in their game.

Now it’s up to NHL to listen or keep their index fingers firmly implanted in their ears. And since that the NHL has yet to acknowledge countless fan polls, or even NHL player surveys, displaying everyone's desire to see less rules in the game that handcuff players from policing the game as it happens, I doubt we'll see any movement on Sixth Avenue any time soon.


Anonymous said...

Great job Sig in helping to put this together



1) Ditto! Well done. We can only hope to see a return of 'old time hockey'!