The forgotten obligation to the fans

Chris Pope
January 29, 2009

It’s time for people to accept the NHL All-Star game for what it is.

The All-Star game comes with the rich tradition of being scheduled every year since 1947 and only being missed six times. It has long given fans a display of the greatest players to ever play the game.

Showcasing the greatest players year after year, allows the league to market that specific game world wide. With a product that is being pushed world wide and supported by many different countries, all wanting to get a glimpse of players from their homeland, it allows the NHL to generate plenty of revenue which will help when it comes to revenue sharing and continue to support the players’ contracts.

In many years past, the game has lacked the excitement of big hits, fighting and, for the most part, energy. This is not a bad thing. It has switched over to allow the skilled players to make moves they wouldn’t normally be able to make during the season, which in turn allows for more excitement from the fan stand point.

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Critics of the game have said that fan voting has ruined the showcase. The fans have the privilege of voting for the game’s starting line-up. Again, this is not a bad thing. If it’s the fans that are watching the game and supporting the league throughout the regular season, should they not have a say in which players they deem the most exciting? Of course they should.

The ones that find a problem with this are always the fans of teams that obviously didn’t have any starters, so they get upset at the fans of teams with the starters because they voted more.

Look at this year for example, the Pittsburgh Penguins fans put out a challenge to one another in an attempt to get their two superstars, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, into the game ahead of the Montreal Canadiens and they came out on top, adding to the on-going rivalry between the two Eastern Conference foes.

Lately, like Crosby, many players have opted out of attending the festivities due to injuries or family responsibilities. Last week, commissioner Gary Bettman announced that any player who was named to the team and didn’t show up for the off-ice festivities would be suspended one game.

Gordie Howe, one of the greatest players to ever play the game, holds the record for 23 All-Star game appearances. If “Mr. Hockey” wasn’t too good for this so called, “debacle of a game,” what makes the players of today think they are?

The same fans that think the NHL should take their All-Star game back behind the ol’ wood shed if you will, you know who you are, are probably the same fans that think the NHL needs to do without fighting.

But that’s a different story.

My advice to these people is to stop trying to act like you know about the game of hockey and quit trying to turn the game into what you see on your precious little Xbox.

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The Author:

Chris Pope