Hockey, The Rodney Dangerfield Of Sports.
In the US, there are four major sports; football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Out of the four, hockey gets the least amount of respect. This is something that bothers me as hockey player and fan, and it also bothers other hockey fans around the country. They way that hockey is covered in the newspapers, on television, and not just professional hockey. It goes the same for college hockey and also high school hockey.
Lets start at the top with the NHL. The NHL has a TV deal with ESPN and ABC so that the two companies share the Stanley Cup Finals. The NHL's championship series. (It should also be noted that ABC owns ESPN). The problem with TV deal is that ESPN is a paid for cable station, which means that you can only watch the finals games on ESPN if you have cable. Because of this, hockey doesn't get as much exposure as other sports do too a new audience. The World Series is on FOX or NBC, the NBA Finals are on NBC, and the Super Bowl is on FOX, CBS, or ABC. All of those stations are free to a viewer with a television. There is no monthly charge for service of those stations unlike ESPN. This is where hockey gets shafted, the NHL is the only sport that has its championship game or series on cable TV where only a specific audience as access to it as opposed to the entire nation.
But it is not just the Cup Finals that are on cable television. The first three rounds are also on ESPN. Here is an example of how this is another problem. It was about a week ago when the Devils were playing Toronto in the second round. The game was on ESPN for people to watch in all parts of the country except the Tri-State area. Here, we are expected to watch the game on the Devils local station, which happens to be FOX Sports Net NY. The only problem with this is that my cable deal doesn't give me FOX Sports Net NY, therefore I was unable to watch a very entertaining game.