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Rated: E · Editorial · Sports · #1518021
The futility and future of hockey in America
hockey/ push in the West/ Canada/nature of sports

The nature of sports has always been the occupation of the locals and the natives. Historically if enough people play it, it becomes of interest to the community and the region and regions find a common ground to meet and peacefully compete with each other. The development of football ( soccer ) in the United Kingdom and all over the globe, baseball in America, football (American style), rugby, basketball... all these are forms of sports that developed locally, talent bred the grown locally, and eventually placed in a posture to represent a community. Some of these sports develop a common ground around the world allowing the growth of cultural exchanges, understanding, and promoting peace. Witness soccer, basketball, ping pong, and rugby.

One can even observe and note the ancient civilizations that have their native sports. Without references at present, the game where many horsemen kick around a stuffed lamb or goatskin in Eastern European countries is an athletic event local to that community and played by many. The Aztecs playing their form of basketball tossing a ball through a sideways hoop, rodeoing - the nature of a local athletic endeavor is popular and generic to the area.

This sport local interest and fervor is evident all over. Today, young boys in the West can be seen playing baseball, basketball, football, and soccer in the streets, playgrounds and lots all over. The interest and dedication to the sport by these youngsters is fervid and intense and they have and will be lifetime advocates of the respective games. You can see and feel the interest everywhere: in the clothes and hats they wear, in the basketballs they bounce as they walk to school, in the baseball mitt they pack into their daily gear, in the football patterns scribbled onto their school book covers, in the tattoos (fake or real) drawn on their arms.

Further, this intense interest is carried through their lives in social, professional and and many other occasions. A driving force for the conversation is the person's familiarity with the sport having been close to it in actuality and following it through his youth and adult life. One's intimate knowledge of the rules and how the sport is played makes him a qualified commentator and again a common ground among men through the region and in many sports through the country.

[ this part needs a transition and should go about here ]

And the contrary observation - how real is the support and "fervidity" of fans of the Anaheim Ducks games - Can there really be people in southern California who have that close and visceral tie to the sport of hockey. Are there men (or women) who grew up anxious to beat the sun up go get down to the ice and start slapping curved puck shots?, loving the push and speed getting up and down the ice, spraying one's opponent? Can one really believe that those 51 year old season tickets holders, commuting in from Corona who have never stepped on actual ice, 6 inch thick ice, really cares? Does he really care that this collection of Fins, Canadians, East Coast college boys and Russian really represent the O.C?

Crossing the Blue Line I do not know what the blue line is for in hockey, I do not know the significance of the blue lines, and I do not want to know.

If the youngster is raised on a sport, it becomes fairly second nature for him or her to grasp learn and inbue the sport into his life. And in the west and the south sports like fishing, basketball, football, baseball, racing are the generic ones that have natural cultural roots to the land.

Hockey's natural root is ice. There is no ice in Los Angeles.

"Let's go out and practice icing the puck while the sun is still out" is not a phrase that is to be heard west of the Mississippi or south of the Mason Dixon line.

hockey in Dallas?, hockey in Phoenix, hockey in Anaheim? transplanting a hockey team from Canada to Arizona?

The hockey franchises in West are struggling and even some east coast frozen tundra franchises are having a hard time. If the locals do not grow up with the sport and do not know the sport, how does hockey expect to last. Yes it has taken root in the some heated areas where it has become part of the background but even those holds are getting tentative. Those areas were is has grown some heated roots, the fan base is primarily corporate types and upper middle class types that want to own a professional franchise, have a write off for their corporation, or really have little to do in the suburbs and found an affordable substitute to seasons tickets at the Dodgers.

Ulysses Eldridge
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