Is Hockey Actually On The Decline? Here’s The Truth

Many people have claimed over the last decade that hockey is becoming more and more irrelevant. But how much of it is actually true?

If you clicked on this article, then chances are, you have a deep love for the sport of hockey. An appreciation for the feeling of flying down the ice, or maybe a strong devotion to watching your local team. If you share a passion for the sport, I would wager you aren’t too fond of the rumours that hockey is on the decline. Many people have claimed over the last decade that hockey is becoming more and more irrelevant. This sucks and I hate it. But how much of it is actually true? Is hockey truly declining, and if so, what can we do to stop it?  

Hockey’s biggest stage isn’t as big as it used to be…

The National Hockey League (NHL) has seen a decline in viewership in recent years. One reason for the decline in viewership may be the lack of a national broadcast deal in the United States. Currently, games are split between several different networks, making it harder for fans to access and follow their favourite teams. Additionally, the start times of games tend to be later in the evening, which can be a deterrent for some viewers.

Another factor that may contribute to the decline in viewership is the saturation of live sports on television. The NHL might be getting lost in the shuffle because sports fans have so many options to choose from. Whatever the real reason for the decline may be, it is obviously very concerning. The good news is, that even though people are watching less, they are actually playing more…

Hockey isn’t finished yet…

Despite the challenges the NHL is facing, the number of people playing hockey has been increasing in recent years, particularly at the grassroots level. According to USA Hockey, the governing body for amateur hockey in the United States, registered players have grown from approximately 400,000 in 2010 to over 550,000 in 2019.

This growth in participation can be attributed to a number of factors, including increased accessibility to ice rinks and equipment, as well as programs like the NHL’s “Learn to Play” initiative, which aims to make the sport more affordable and accessible for families.

Piggybacking off of the NHL’s initiative, recreational sports companies such as ourselves, have been making big strides forward to make the sports available to everyone. There are certainly still a lot of steps to be taken, but there is no denying that hockey has become a lot more diverse in the last decade, which is amazing to see. 

So what now?

While the NHL is facing challenges in terms of viewership, the sport of hockey is still growing in popularity at the grassroots level. So keep playing. Join a league, go to your cousin’s practice, or take that skating lesson. Keeping hockey relevant all starts with us. By continuing to play and participate in local hockey, the growth that we have seen over the past decade should carry on. 


See you in the rink,

Canlan Sports.

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