Wednesday, October 24, 2007

O Hockeytown, Where Art Thou?

Enough is enough, it is time to strip Detroit of its (undeserved?) Hockeytown title. I never liked the whole Hockeytown thing to begin with, especially since the Red Wings bestowed the title on themselves. Shouldn't something like that be voted on? Well that's just what we're going to do! We're going to choose a new Hockeytown right here and now.

The nominees:

  • Buffalo - Plenty of teams in the NHL are having attendance issues these days, some even failing to sell out home playoff games (yes, I'm looking at you Detroit). Well the Sabres not only sell out their games, they also packed the area outside the arena with fans to watch the game going on inside projected onto a big screen. How many teams could pull that off? The Sabres were also named the best franchise in sports by ESPN not too long ago (for whatever that is worth). Buffalo is a strong choice to take on the mantle of Hockeytown, USA and probably has to be considered the favorite here.
  • San Jose - Hidden on the west coast, I don't think most people realize what a good hockeytown San Jose is. But is it worthy of being Hockeytown? Sharks fans have come a long way. I remember being at the San Jose arena during the '93-'94 season to see the Sharks take on the Nordiques and someone sitting behind me asking the person they were with if the Nords were an expansion team. Well the Sharks have carried on and now their fans are (for the most part) as knowledgeable as they are loud, and that is saying something. If you don't think San Jose belongs on this list, take in a playoff game at the "Shark Tank" and then get back to me.
  • Chicago - This may turn out to be an optimistic choice on my part, but I think Chicago is in for a hockey renaissance. The team is loaded with young talent and the team and fans both seem eager to put the Bill Wirtz experience behind them. They're even getting home games on TV now! Seriously though, I don't think there is any doubt Chicago is back on the hockey map.
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul - In very Red Wing-esque fashion, the Wild have declared Minnesota the "State of Hockey". They are pretty much right though so I'll let it slide. As far as hockey goes, Minnesota is pretty much South Canada, and that's a good thing. The Wild's fanbase is as knowledgeable and passionate as it gets in the States. Of course I have to mention that they are on their second run with the NHL.
  • Dallas - A surprise nominee to many I'm sure, but deserving nonetheless. I can say from first hand experience that going to a Stars game is as good as it gets. The arena is top notch and it has fans to match. It will always be Cowboys first in Dallas, that is just how things work here in Texas, but there is also a die hard Stars fanbase in Dallas that can't be matched. If you are a hockey fan, you owe it to yourself to take in a Stars home game. Just don't expect to sit down a whole lot. A definite dark horse in this contest, Dallas may just get my vote.
  • Detroit - I'll give the incumbent a chance to defend its title here, but I don't think it deserves it any more (if it ever truly did). I have a hard time calling somewhere Hockeytown when you've got empty seats for home playoff games. I think Wings fans in general have grown a bit tired of the same-old same-old from the Wings and are a bit apathetic at this point. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
Just missed the cut:
  • Pittsburgh- The Pens have as rabid a fanbase as you will find, but I can't bring myself to put Pittsburgh on the list when they're less than a year removed from almost losing the team.
  • Denver - The Avalanche have a great track record since relocating from Quebec. I just don't see them at the level as some of the teams above. Denver sort of strikes me as Dallas-lite.
  • Boston - A great hockeytown to be sure, but the Bruins are an afterthought on the Boston sports scene.
  • Nashville - Just kidding. The situation in Nashville is a joke/mess. Just move them to Kansas City already. Then in 5-10 years when that fails they can move to Hamilton.

4 comments:

Jes GÅ‘lbez said...

I'd have to go with Minnesota (St. Paul), as they have a love of hockey (College, high school) that other cities really don't.

Stevens8204 said...

Buffalo is just a unique place...it is hard to explain but they just get rabid about hockey..and the fans are quite knowledgeable and seem to have a pulse on hockey like no other US town these days.

Sinops said...

definately buffalo. the outside crowd last year in the playoffs was awesome. buffalo is a town of choke artists, but the fans always come back. at least they won the cup in Bruce Almighty. GO PENS

Chelsea195 said...

Wow, you don't know shit, do you? Not only does Detroit own the best record in the whole NHL, 12 points ahead of the "might" Sens, but they also boast the longest current playoff streak in professional sports at 16 years, going on 17. Before you criticize a team's nickname, why don't you bother to check out the history behind it. Sure, the Wings haven't won the Cup in a few years and have had their share of early playoff exits, but that does not tarnish their reputation as one of the best in the game. They are alone at the top of the NHL and are deserving of the name Hockeytown.