January 06, 2009
Hockey on New Year's Day is pretty much a sure thing from here on out; depending on, of course, if college football ever decides to put more of its 215 bowl games back to Jan. 1.
But according to Kevin Allen of USA Today, along with your spiked eggnog and numerous soon-to-be exchanged presents there might be two hockey games added to your Christmas festivities in the not-so-distant future. Much like the duck from "A Christmas Story," holiday hockey is something that could put a smile on the faces of hockey fans everywhere.
National Hockey League Players Association Director Paul Kelly has said he wanted to see games played on Christmas Day since he took the job in 2007: "Our feeling is, 'Why should the NBA have that day to itself?'"
The idea would have two showcase games between local rivals to cut down on holiday travel. Think New York Rangers-Boston Bruins or Edmonton Oilers-Calgary Flames; something along those lines to make it feasible to both players and the league's television partners.
According to USA Today: "Having completed his fall tour with players, Kelly said he came away believing the majority of players are open to the idea of having one early game and one late game that could be featured on national television."
Currently, it's written in the collective bargaining agreement that no games are to be scheduled on Dec. 24 or 25, but as NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was quoted in the article, the League has been looking to put games on Christmas Day for over a decade; and with the ratings success of the Winter Classic, a national game on Christmas night could whet the appetites for the outdoor game one week later.
Putting hockey games on Christmas is a bold move by the League and its players, but with the NHL brimming with confidence from their New Year's Day conquest with the Winter Classic, Dec. 25 can eventually become the perfect advertisement for wherever the outdoor game will be played. It won't be easy, especially with the NBA having games on Christmas every year (including five last month); but when you're a league struggling to gain a foothold from the national television perspective, it's definitely worth the chance. So ...
Pass or Fail: The NHL playing games on Christmas Day?
(H/T to Kukla for the find.)