Red Wings

Red Wings’ Mike Babcock thinks the NHL could ‘be like bowling’ upon it’s return


Despite what deputy commissioner Bill Daly has said in recent days about a season definitely starting up between now and the spring, things certainly don’t look promising for the NHL and NHLPA working out a new CBA.

Everyone knows it, players, fans, writers and even coaches including the Red Wings’ own Mike Babcock who is worried his sport may take on the popularity likes of another one.

“Hate to say it,” Babcock told on Tuesday, “but we could end up like bowling.”’s Ansar Khan tried to get further comment from Babcock however the coach only mentioned that he has nothing against bowling and enjoys it himself.

Still though you can’t help but resonate in what happened back during the 2005-2006 NHL season. That was the year the NHL resumed itself after cancelling the entire 2004-2005 season due to the same labor woes plaguing the League now.

What happened then though?

Khan writes, according to ESPN, an average of 117,000 U.S. households watched NHL games on the Outdoor Life Network during the 2005-06 season, less than a third of the average audience that tuned into ESPN for NHL games prior to the last work stoppage. Those numbers placed the NHL behind the likes of poker, bowling and the WNBA.

Sure things are different now with the NBC Sports Network more widely available than it’s predecessor in OLN. However will that even matter? The NHL has had it’s problems with TV contracts, attendance and it’s overall popularity in the United States so much so that potentially a second cancelled season in a decade could drive away a lot of fans for good.


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