Hockey Takes a Backseat at the 2010 ESPY Awards

Hockey’s Golden Moment (s.yume/photoree)

It’s like the Academy awards show of the sports world. Some of the biggest stars in sport are present at the ESPY awards. Entertainment icons are represented, as the past year gone by in sports is recounted. Athletes are honored for their accomplishments, teams are lauded for their championships. And hockey is almost completely ignored. During the very long opening speech by Seth Meyer, the New Orleans Saints were congratulated for their Super Bowl win, as were the Los Angeles Lakers for their NBA Championship and Spain for their world-cup victory. The Chicago Blackhawks first Stanley Cup victory in 49 years? Not mentioned. Lebron James, Tiger Woods and Brett Farve were mocked, yet the ongoing Ilya Kovalchuk saga was not even on the radar. Canada’s exciting gold medal win wasn’t recounted either, although the awards having taken place in the United States may have been a reason for that. The opening speech was filled with talk of football, tennis, snowboarding, basketball and golf. But not one word about hockey. The actual awards themselves? Besides the “best NHL player” award, which was won by Sidney Crosby, and Canada’s gold medal winning team getting their due, winning the “best game” award, only two other categories had NHL representation. The Chicago Blackhawks were nominated for best team, and Crosby for the best performance under pressure, but neither won. Does hockey get the cold shoulder by the rest of the sports world because they have their own awards show?

Hockey has never been an extremely popular sport in the United States, where the ESPY awards are held and where the voting takes place. Yes, there are numerous cities in the U.S that are passionate about hockey and love the sport, but no one can ever suggest that the U.S is a hockey nation. Is it because most of the southern states dominated by football and basketball didn’t grow up with hockey, thus have no sentimental connection to it? Is it because there isn’t as much access to hockey programs as there are in Canada? Or is it because stations like ESPN focus on other sports and other athletes. If the biggest markets in the U.S care more about baseball, football or basketball, it makes sense that the coverage from ESPN focuses on what gets the ratings. Hockey games aren’t broadcast on ESPN anyway, making it even less likely it would a top news story. But the fact that sports like golf, tennis, auto racing and even soccer are mentioned more than hockey is a disappointing reality of the lack of respect the game actually has. Blaming a lack of fans is a cop-out, because there are plenty of hockey loving Americans out there. So why does hockey always seem to take a back seat to everything else? What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Hockey Takes a Backseat at the 2010 ESPY Awards”

  1. Karl…not only is ESPN a “giant self-promoting machine”…they are also known as the Entertainment and Sports Propoganda Network! (ESPN).

    Unfortunately for americans, they(ESPN) no longer report the news, they CREATE the news and basically tell americans what to watch! For proof, look no further than the Lebron James fiasco!

  2. It’s frustrating. After the Pens were eliminated from the playoffs, some ESPN analysts claimed this was “bad” for the NHL cause there weren’t anymore superstars left. For some reason they won’t recognize a guy like Toews who has similar if not more accomplishments than Crosby.

    I swear I saw more coverage on Strasburg pitching one game than the Hawks winning the Cup. The interest is there. It might be the lack of knowledge and/or lack of coverage (games 3 and 4 of the finals on vs?).

  3. I think it’s pretty obvious that ESPN promotes what ESPN broadcasts. Anything else is deemed inferior. The ESPYs are (is?) completely made up by ESPN, and they have the right to show what they want. But if you want anything related to hockey, you have to go elsewhere because ESPN doesn’t carry the NHL, therefore ESPN doesn’t care about the NHL. The NFL schedule release gets more air time than Barry Melrose during the NHL finals (not exaggerating). ESPN is simply a giant self promoting machine.

    Of course, this brings up the argument that if more people showed interest in the NHL, then ESPN would start to carry it again, and then would hockey would become relevant in the eyes of the Mother ship? If ESPN showed more hockey and gave it more air time, would more people start to pay attention to the NHL again? Chicken or the egg?

    But as far as the ESPYs go, it’s ESPNs party and they’ll cry if they want to. (Just look at “The Decision”). Maybe Versus (the Versies?) can create their own awards and give the NHL guys some silverware, too.

Comments are closed.