The boys of winter are back. The Stanley Cup playoffs start today. Can you imagine anything more ridiculous than ice hockey in August?
Many years ago, when National Hockey League teams played a 50-game schedule, the trophy was handed out around the end of March. With expansion and more games that was pushed into April, then May, and most recently June.
This year, as August begins, the playoffs are just starting. The final is scheduled for October, about the time the 2020-21 season was supposed to start. Needless to say, that is being delayed.
It was 35 degrees Celsius in Sulzburg yesterday. Not exactly hockey weather. The German league canceled the rest of its season and playoffs back in March. The NHL is a much bigger business.
As with sports everywhere in this most unusual year, the games will be played with no fans in the arenas. Crowd noises for the TV broadcast are being taken from a video game. I must admit to struggling a little with that one.
You would think most people have better things to do on these warm summer days than stay inside and watch hockey. I suspect though that television ratings may be high at first – many of us have been missing live sports, and for a hockey fan this is it.
An expanded playoff format also may heighten interest, as teams with little or no hope to make the post-season back when the NHL suspended operations in March find themselves in the playoffs. You had to be truly bad (like the Ottawa Senators) to be excluded.
I will admit to having missed hockey. I’m not sure about this summertime version though. Only time will tell if canceling the season would have been a better move.
Still, I may watch a game or two. Ordinarily playoff games are all in Canada’s evening, which is the middle of the night here in Germany. I did see some early afternoon games on the schedule, so I will probably watch those, even if I don’t follow the teams playing.
Then again, I may not. Depends on how sports-starved I really am. Maybe I’ll watch hockey instead of the now-postponed Olympics. After all, ice hockey used to be a sport at the Summer Olympics. You can look it up if you don’t believe me.
How about you? Does summer hockey interest you at all?
No, but it may help some people with a little distraction.
A few years ago one arena-owner in Ottawa complained about the high hydro rates…he couldn’t stand the cost of keeping his ice in the summer! I wondered ‘people play hockey in the summer!?!?’
I don’t think melting ice is a problem with no crowds in the building.