Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Following the Leader Isn't Always a Good Thing

Gary Bettman

So, I was surfing the internet tubules and came upon a story over at OffWing.com about the United Hockey League (UHL) struggling to adapt to the New NHL rules and keep their minor league identity.

One thought instantly came to mind: "Why is the UHL adopting NHL rules?"

What are the chances of a UHL player ever making the NHL? Slimmer than Nicole Richie after throwing up her dinner.

When Michael Franke’s family bought the Komets in August 1990, he brought new marketing strategies to minor-league hockey. Almost 17 years later, he wonders if minor-league hockey hasn’t gotten too far from its roots.

Particularly with rules enforcement, minor-league hockey has always been quick to follow National Hockey League guidelines. Franke says that has hurt the minor-league product.

“As businessmen and women, we have to look at this and make sure we’re not doing the wrong things, because I think we are,” the Komets president said last week. “I think we’ve taken the element of fan appeal, which is very, very important to any business, and we’ve put it in the back seat. We’re too worried about what the NHL is doing.”

While the NHL has tried to legislate some forms of physical play, Franke says that hurts the minor-league games because that’s not what fans want. The minor leagues follow the NHL’s lead closely because they’d like to be considered developmental leagues.

“There’s only one league in all of minor-league hockey that truthfully is a developmental league to the NHL, and that is the AHL,” Franke said. “We are minor leagues that are trying to create a form of entertainment for the people who live in our towns. We have to put that in the forefront. There are a very, very small percentage of players who are ever going to go to the NHL from these leagues, and we can’t be worried about that. It’s not worth sacrificing your business for some rules that turn the game into a non-interesting form of entertainment.”
Yes, the UHL is not a development league for the NHL and never will be. The AHL? Yes. The ECHL? Slightly. Fans have always been drawn to lower-minor and beer leagues because of the violence, physical play, and boatloads of offense. Just because the NHL changes things doesn't mean the UHL or any other league other than AHL should.

This blog already documented how the lower-league refs were struggling to uphold the NHL's standards because their officials just aren't quite good and experienced enough.

Note to UHL: You are in the business of entertainment, and fans of your clubs don't want an endless parade to the penalty box for touching a guy with a stick. While the changes may help the NHL, they won't necessarily make your league any better.

On another note, the NHL decided to press on with the third year of their 3-year schedile rotation. Gary Bettman is so hard-on to finish his precious rotation that the league is basically screwing good marketing opportunities to save $5 on jet fuel. Say good-bye to a true Hockey Day in Canada next season.

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1) for a change the NHL should look down at the minors to see what sells!
2) Touch fouls and legislating out the emotion(fighting/hitting) from the games HURTS at ALL levels!
They're even enforcing NHL rules down at the pee-wee level. Nothing like seeing 10 year kids marching continuously to the penalty box.
Mot as many kids get ice time when it's power-play after power-play.
Bettman must go! He has diluted the league and tried to make it the NBA... he has no respect for the history of the game or league!!


Join together to get rid of the man who is ruining hockey!!!!
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