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NHL Must Change Playoffs To Survive in Canada

June 24th, 2019 · 7 Comments

Rarely does Vancouver see HOCKEY excitement in June anymore … but there it was … at the 2019 NHL draft: fans turned up in person or tuned in on television by the thousands to watch young athletes get their chance to become major stars … and multi-millionaires.

It was great for Vancouver, as hosts, too: estimates are the draft contributed between $8 million to $10 million to the local economy.

And remember, the NHL is as much a business as a sports body … maybe more.

So with that in mind … let’s keep it real: the NUMBERS … for the NHL in Canada … are a disaster these days during the Playoffs.

The Hockey News reported that, after all the Canadian teams were eliminated, the TV ratings over the first five days of the Playoffs in April averaged only 513,000 viewers!

That was DOWN 61% from the previous year.

Holy Hockey, Puckman!

For hockey playoffs! Viewed in Canada! That’s dismal!

You can read the whole, alarming details by writer Ken Campbell yourself: https://thehockeynews.com/news/article/playoff-tv-ratings-down-a-shocking-61-percent-in-canada.

Others are also sounding the alarm.

“With no Canadian teams left and light on star power, a cooking show in Canada is drawing bigger numbers than this year’s NHL playoffs,” reported Macleans Magazine in May.

Egad!

“After nearly three decades of American teams winning the Cup, things are so dire that 62 per cent of Canadian hockey fans said they’d support any Canadian team to win Lord Stanley’s Cup, once theirs was eliminated, according to a recent Angus Reid Institute poll” wrote Aaron Hutchins.

And I put it to you that, with Canada’s changing demographics, with so much more competition for viewers’ attention … and without MAJOR changes to the NHL Playoffs system … hockey will continue its downward spiral in Canada.

“For comparison, the NHL’s demographics are 92% white and 64% of their fans are over 35. These stats are not encouraging for a league that is struggling to diversify and reach viewership ratings in Canada, of all places,” noted Montreal Blogger Teddy Elliot in May.

He was right on: https://www.mtlblog.com/news/canada/basketball-is-officially-overtaking-hockey-as-canadas-favourite-sport.

And the NHL brass and owners are to blame.

The NHL is becoming an American league, with mostly American teams, American owners, an American Commissioner … all of which seem to me to cater to American TV viewers to attract American bucks.

And Canada is less and less relevant.

As a BUSINESS, we’re now seeing HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in lost advertising/sponsorship/local business/tourism revenues and opportunities in Canada …. impacting not only our national pride, our historical attachment to the sport, hockey as an integral part of our culture, and also an important component in Canadian jobs, especially in arenas, restaurants, bars, tourism, broadcasting.

But there’s actually a fairly easy solution.

In fact, I was ahead of my time: I noticed the declining interest in Canada and recommended Playoffs-saving changes THREE years ago… http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/nhl-needs-a-playoff-system-that-includes-canada/.

The NHL’s teams are already divided into several league/division categories. Yet, with skillful scheduling, fans all over North America get to see a very wide variety of teams from outside their own local conference or division.

And some of those games draw the highest interest and ratings … both in fan attendance and TV ratings.

To save the NHL in Canada … long-term … the League MUST adopt a new playoff system to ensure that, in the FINALS, the TOP American NHL team each season will face the TOP Canadian NHL team!

That’s what hockey fans throughout North America really want to see!

Yet, with so many more American teams in the NHL these days, Canada has been pushed further and further out of contention.

As I wrote in 2016, the problem would … and has … continued to get even worse and I’ll say it again: the NHL Playoffs system MUST be changed.

What greater proof do we need of that than the recent EXCITING nation-wide support and TV RATINGS of the Toronto Raptors.

An amazing 15.9 MILLION Canadians reportedly watched some or all of the Toronto/Oakland NBA series … including 7.7 MILLION Canadians who watched the final game and 10 MILLION Canadians who were tuned in for the last 10 minutes of the game

And it’s a lot easier and cheaper for parents and aspiring young sports fans to take up and get involved in basketball as a winter sport than hockey.

The NHL brass, owners, sponsors in Canada had better wake up and change their Playoffs system to ensure a Canadian/US matchup … right through the Finals.

Before hockey becomes just another Canadian export.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of all new postings on this BC-based Blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam … just First Alerts of new postings of interest Canada-wide.)

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Nuremberg 1935: Quebec 2019

June 17th, 2019 · 14 Comments

The similarities are startling … and frightening.

Legislation passed … in fact, RUSHED THROUGH without full discussion/debate in the Quebec legislature Sunday night … actually singles out racial/religious minorities for TARGETTED discrimination and exclusion in ways quite SIMILAR to the early racist laws of Nazi Germany.

Most people think of the Nuremberg Laws as the anti-Jewish legislation passed by the Reichstag Sept. 15, 1935 that “forbade marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans and the employment of German females under 45 in Jewish households … and declared that only those of German or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens” (Wikipedia).

That prohibition was later amended to include Gypsies (Romani) and all blacks … and that adds to the danger: once the public gets used to singling out and discriminating against ANY group, expanding that to others later becomes much easier.

BUT what most today do not recall or do not know is that, in April, 1933 … two years earlier than the more infamous Nuremberg Laws … the Reichstag had first passed the “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” prohibiting “non-Aryans” from working in the legal profession and civil service.

Remarkably similar to what QUEBEC HAS NOW DONE … excluding from hiring for ANY public service jobs ALL observant Jews, Sikhs, Muslims who feel commanded by their faith to wear a religious head-covering.

Now, we’re NOT just talking burkas here (the total head/face covering with only two eye slits) … which are prohibited for security reasons in several states/businesses etc.

Quebec has TARGETTED the Jewish skullcap, Sikh turban and Muslim hijab headscarf … BARRING anyone wearing them from being hired to work for the government or any of its agencies (hospitals, labs, schools, police forces, ambulances, fire services, courts etc. ) in ANY capacity.

Really?

Should a doctor or a teacher or even a school crossing guard be barred from a job because he or she feels compelled by God to wear a religious headgear?

Not in my world.

Wearing a cross, a star of David or any other religious symbol … as personal jewelry … will also be banned, but these are decorative, not usually worn as a religious requirement … so that’s not as outrageous as barring those whose simple head garb is an actual part of their faith.

A person’s proven ability, strength of character, honesty and integrity should be ALL any government/agency should care about in doing ANY hiring.

And THAT is all we should demand our “leaders” do … not single out the few to be discriminated against.

As French-Algerian author/philosopher Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus wrote, the essence of “democracy is not the rule of the majority, but the protection of the minority.”

Amen! (Oops! Am bloggers allowed to say that anymore?)

And by the way, just as there were TWO Nuremberg infamous anti-minority laws passed in the Reichstag in 1935, there was a SECOND infamous anti-minority law passed Sunday in Quebec as well.

Bill 9 “reforms” Quebec’s immigration system to require prospective permanent residents to take a “values test” to make sure they fit in.

Fit into what? How? By whose standards? Who will design the tests? Who will decide who passes? Political hacks appointed to committees? Racists or anti-Semites with political connections? Separatists?

I dare say MANY, MANY “pure lain” … old time white, francophone rural Quebecois …. with their history of decades old anti-Semitism, bigotry against blacks, Asians, Muslims, even Anglais generally … wouldn’t pass MY values test. Maybe THEIR citizenship should be revoked?

What is to STOP the co-mixing of the bigotry behind the TWO new Quebec laws, so that anyone wearing a skullcap, turban or hijab clearly doesn’t reflect Quebec’s “values” and is thus disqualified from residency status?

Would any of us here in BC stand still if, to live here, we had to pass “values tests” designed by ANY government … or its bureaucrats … or its friends “in the community”?

Making it even worse, while Quebec draws up ITS new subjective tests criteria, it is tearing up 16,000 immigration residency applications already before it … from people who have been waiting up to two years: they’ll all have to start over.

Another gesture to make sure immigrants to Canada who landed in Quebec feel unwelcome.

Nuremberg’s Nazis would be impressed.

Harv Oberfeld

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