It's so often that the NHL receives criticism for their stupid, antiquated, misguided policies. That's why I thought it was important to make note of the one time in which they got it right by not allowing fans to eat, drink, and be merry amongst themselves during what proved to be the last game of Tampa Bay's season. I know this random, inexplicable limitation on watch parties seems like it trivializes the best interests of devoted hockey fans but it clearly powders the assholes of the television execs, and isn't that really all that matters if we are interested in expanding the sport?
Everyone knows that increasing the popularity of the NHL isn't about keeping the current fans happy. It's about luring in all those fans that would rather watch a mind-numbingly piss poor NBA postseason game. How can those people be convinced to switch over to NBC Sports if even the most die hard of NHL fans won't commit to staying home and making sure the game is being broadcast on every television in their respective household? Being so dedicated to your team that you trudge over to the stadium to watch an away game doesn't paint hockey in a positive light. Flashing the image of a bunch of crazy drunken fans standing outside an arena watching a game on a projection screen doesn't give the illusion that being a hockey fan is an inherently awesome experience. Having a camera scan the notoriously beautiful Tampa Bay skyline while the entirety of it's population is nestled comfortably on their couch does. If Lightning fans really cared about the potential growth of the sport they would just sit in their living room with their thumb in their ass and contribute to the all important Nielson ratings. Riddle me this, how can hockey thrive if - just for one single night - they lose 10% of their viewers in the increasingly critical region of West Florida?