Throughout the summer (a brief one, thanks to the abbreviated 2012-13 season) we’ll discuss aspects of the league that invoke discussion as well as continue to discuss everything New York Rangers. First up, missed opportunities.
Once again the National Hockey League has missed a trick. When the league pushed through realignment they had an ideal opportunity to bring the league’s storied past into play. Just like how the league renamed the Lester Pearson trophy after Ted Lindsay, the league should have renamed the newly formed divisions after former great players and legendary hockey league innovators.
Hockey had an opportunity to respect its tradition and pay homage to those that made the game what it is. It had an opportunity to move beyond mere geographical titles, and the commercial priorities of individual clubs with their TD Gardens and HP Pavilions. The league had an opportunity to use history as a selling point to the national hockey league and to provide some meaning to divisions.
Wouldn’t the Atlantic division sound better as the Howe-Orr division, or the Beliveau-Richard division? Or the Metropolitan division have more meaning as the Messier-Clarke division? What sounds better – the central division or the McInnis-Hull division? What names get used is not the critical aspect here but it’s the mere fact that the NHL has once again missed out on an opportunity to better promote the league and to give the league more depth and personality.
In a league that is full of clichéd interviews and bland personalities and as a league that has to struggle for airtime against dominant sports such as the NFL (and their murdering athletes), major league baseball and their drug abusing, unsympathetic stars, the NHL needs to use every possible angle they may have to their advantage. Paying homage to stars of yesteryear and to an era where there was genuine authenticity, giving the league more meaning seems like a logical, easy step. Shame the league doesn’t see it that way.