Hockey is a Big Deal, Whether ESPN Says So or Not

by Jules Gonsouin

photo courtesy Rebeccah Lenhart

by Jules Gonsoulin

sports editor

I was recently having a casual sports-related conversation with a freshman from St. Louis, Mo. – Riley McLean, an avid St. Louis Blues fan. I know what you’re thinking: “Who the hell are the St. Louis Blues”? They’re a professional hockey team. In fact they’re a damn good professional hockey team. They currently sit in second place in the NHL western conference, central division standings. Few people know this simply because hockey does not get enough attention on national sports networks.

McLean and I went on to discuss the total lack of televised airtime hockey gets. Come to find out ESPN only has one hockey analyst. Barry Melrose handles everything to do with hockey on Sports Center, and we rarely see him. Furthermore, it is very difficult to catch hockey games on TV. ESPN does not regularly advertise important games before they happen, nor does the network air the games (in case you’re wondering, NBC Sports Network is typically the best place to find hockey matches, college or pro).

Anyone who’s ever watched hockey on TV, or had the opportunity to go to a game live can attest that it is one of the more exciting sports in the nation. I mean, how many team sports encourage fighting? In addition to the all-out brawls that pop up in virtually every game, hockey is an incredibly exciting sport that combines violent body checks and slap shots with high velocity-speed skating. Skating like a professional hockey player is a tall task in itself. So, considering the high level of skill it takes to even play the game, isn’t the sport deserving of a level of respect from major sports networks like ESPN and NBC Sports?

I don’t know about you, but I get tired of seeing dunks on the Sports Center highlight reel every week.

Let me know what you think of hockey and its place in the professional sports world in the comments below!

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