Tuesday, September 06, 2005

 

Parting Shots from the Bay Area

As I get ready to leave this place, I find I have more respect for the hard-core hockey fans of this country. It really is hard to be a hockey fan in this country, especially when you have to go out of your way to find hockey news and hockey.

Yesterday, I finally saw my first glimpse of anything hockey related on TV: A San Jose Sharks commercial for Season Tickets packages.

That's it!! 1 thing in 10 days! The local paper finally had some hockey coverage yesterday (the Oakland Tribune) when they talked about a Montreal Canadiens player from the old days who finally got a chance with the Stanley Cup.

My trek to Barnes & Noble and other places that sell magazines netted only one publication: The Sporting News 2005-06 Hockey Preview edition.




Sure, I could find about 100 different magazines about Hunting, Fishing, and Hunting & Fishing, but just ONE NHL annual to be found.

I bought the Sporting News guide once a few years ago, and came away thinking that it was the biggest piece of American trash I had ever read. The information and analysis was spotty, there were quite a few names with incorrect spelling, and it looked like it was written by a football writer asked to cover hockey for a few months. Compared to the Canadian produced guides, it was like copper to gold.

Fortunately, this year's guide is vastly improved and contains some good and entertaining articles. While the team-by-team analysis isn't deep, and some of the information is out of date (since it came out early), I feel like the TSN guide is a pretty solid read and American fans won't be cheated. The articles about life in the minor leagues are very interesting, and I would suggest any of my American readers to purchase this annual as the season approaches.

(No, I do not get a commission on the sales of this publication...dammit, eh)

Once I get home, I fully expect to see bookstore shelves filled with hockey magazines and newspapers' sports sections filled with all things hockey. I've had enough college football to last me 10 lifetimes.

Comments:
Thanks for the review of the TSN mag. It's about the only thing I can ever find around here and I have to go to a book store to get it. Living in NE Tennessee (less than two hours from Knoxville and the University of Tennessee) I am too far from Nashville or Raleigh-Durham to get much Hockey gear or printed publications conveniently. I can't figure out why the media is so loathe to report on hockey in the US; the country is absolutely saturated with minor league teams so there must be enough hockey fans out there to support the basics even if NHL tickets are out of reach.
 
Hey Jes, I just stumbled across your blog site and found the topic interesting!
Personally I wouldn't buy the Sporting News edition. I prefer the NHL 'yearbook' or even the Hockey News Book. Both are pretty descriptive. The Hockey News even gives bold predictions, lists the top 50 players, etc., and has a good prospect report.
Good luck with the site!
Go 'Nucks!!
Sean
 
Yea, I already found that Sporting News edition on the shelves of Borders bookstore below where I work in the mall.

I thumbed through it, and I was disapointed at how out of date it already was. I guess the Hossa/Heatley trade happened after they went to print. I think their team pages should've adjusted mightily after that.

Oh well... I agree with zanstorm. Go with Sporting News or the Yearbook. I could probably go find one in another store soon and send one up for ya cheap!

PS. I'll look forward to kicking your ass in the Blogger Fantasy Hockey Challenge! ;)
 
That is very interesting indeed. Here was I thinking that living in Australia and trying to follow hockey was hard enough. Living in an area that has a strong team (outside of the traditional hockey markets) and not being able to fully experience that sport as others may, must be frustrating. I expect that news coverage during the season is somewhat limited also? Possibly like trying to follow sports here that do not involve Australian teams/players.
 
Where you moving back to?
 
See, Raleigh's not quite that bad--we can get other stuff here. Sometimes you have to special order it, but it's relatively easy to get here.
 
Phil,

I was in vacation in San Fran/Castro Valley. I ain't moving anywhere :)

Michael,

Everyone will kick my ass in that fantasy pool. I didn't get my players sorted properly and I ended up drafting a bunch of 3rd line forwards...and Eric Lindros!! (OUCH)

Zanstrom,

I'm glad you enjoy the blog. Please come back and visit again. I agree that the Sporting News edition isn't as good as the others, but it's not a horrible option if its the only one you have access to (Which was the case in San Fran and surrounding area).

Matthew,

I manage to follow Czech/Slovak hockey all the way from Vancouver, but I do have lots of live and TV hockey around me as well. I can't imagine following a sport with absolutely no local coverage to speak of. It takes a real special dedication to like NHL hockey from a place like Australia...or the Netherlands, etc...

Living in Vancouver, we have more hockey news coverage than we could ever want...but living in many USA cities, I can imagine it's the complete opposite.
 
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