Friday, March 25, 2011
Local hockey needs Kings and Ducks in the playoffs
The Kings had a nice win over San Jose last night in a shootout, although they should have beat them in regulation -- instead, in typical Kings fashion, they gave up a goal in the last few seconds of the game and ended up giving the Sharks an unnecessary point in the standings.
Still, as of this morning, the Kings and Ducks are both in position to qualify for the playoffs with eight games apiece to go. Rather amazingly, both teams have never made the playoffs in the same season, despite the fact that more than half the teams in the NHL make the playoffs.
I'd love to see it happen. Having both teams in the post-season would likely attract some people to the sport and perhaps they'll notice that pro hockey is about 1,000 times more exciting than anything the NBA, NFL or MLB can cough up. It would be even better if the Kings and Ducks would somehow play eachother in the playoffs, but at this point that's (extremely) unlikely to happen unless both teams reach the second or third round.
Nonetheless, it would be equally great if both teams use the visibility that comes with the playoffs to promote local adult hockey -- specifically get more adults involved in the game. That would mean finding the few programs around town that cater to adult novices and then emphasizing to audiences that they are nothing like the NHL: nearly all beginner leagues that I'm aware of prohibit checking and fighting is minimal. It's fun to watch the pros do it, but I also think it probably scares many people from the sport unnecessarily.
It would also help if both the Kings and Ducks got more involved in adult programs. I know the Kings are doing okay at the gate this year, but the more people playing the sport could only help build their fan base. The Kings have the perch to take the lead on this locally and help, at the least, get more people playing the game.