Let's get a couple of things out of the way here to start
1) Kellerman works for ESPN. ESPN doesn't have any NHL broadcasting rights with the exception of some streams on ESPN+ so they're never going to give hockey proper attention because they don't own it. It is what it is
2) Max Kellerman is a fuck
There was a time in my life where a comment like this would've triggered the FUCK out of me. It was back around maybe like 2007. The NHL on-ice product was shot out of a cannon after the 2004-05 lockout. The game was better. Better rules, better players, HDTV was a real thing. We had Crosby and Ovechkin bursting onto the scene and living up to ALL of the hype. Things were great and NOBODY was paying attention. Nobody cared. It drove me insane that my favorite sport was better than anytime in my life and was getting less attention. It bothered me that the NHL's primetime national TV partner was something called "Outdoor Life Network" and before a big game we'd have a show about trout fishing and after the game we'd get late night rodeo. The first Stanley Cup after the lockout was Carolina against Edmonton. A great series. I'd bring it up in conversation and people would tell me that nobody cared about hockey and my reaction was something like...
Then...things got better. NBC really stepped up. Rebranded OLN into NBC Sports and became a GREAT partner for the league. The NHL Network became a thing. The Blackhawks were reborn in Chicago and made being a hockey fan incredible on a local level(and probably are responsible for my job I am doing right now). Between social media, TV options, tremendous teams, star power, and a CBA that seems to work very well, the league has never been better. Is it a major sport? I think so. Is it 4th in America...yeah probably, but it's a distant 4th. And you know what...that is okay. I love hockey, you love hockey, and that is really enough for me. The game is still in this golden era of generational stars like Crosby, Ovechkin, and Kane and they're playing on great teams. It's an incredible time to be a hockey fan. I pity Max Kellerman and people like him. They're missing out on something great because they simply don't understand. That's their problem, not ours. And when you get triggered by comments like that and go full #HockeyTwitter on people it's a bad look. I think it pushes people away. I would love more people to enjoy hockey. I would love to see the game grow into different communities and have wider appeal. You gotta just let it happen organically. Welcome people in. Don't jump down their throats. Embrace them. And that is especially true this summer. When the league comes back in August it's going to be all hockey all the time. People desperate for sports might be inclined to sit down and watch a hockey game for the first time...EVER. Why? Because it's on tv and they want to gamble and it's 1pm on a Wednesday. People like my friend, Carl.
We talked about this on Redline Radio this week. Carl is excited for hockey for the first time in his life. He loves watching the Hawks at a bar in the playoffs all during his 20s, but this is different. The NHL has a chance to grab more fans this year. More people like Carl. That's a good thing. Kellerman is a dope. He's trying to trigger you. The truth is that the league is strong, getting stronger, and has a chance to grow in the face of a pandemic. That is a great thing. People will notice. I can't wait