77°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Back in The Game

Back+in+The+Game+
Back in The Game

The 2010 Vancouver Olympics’ men’s ice hockey gold-medal game between the United States and Canada delivered everything a sports fan could ask for: two bitter rivals playing for all the marbles. Fortunately for us all, the bout was as good as expected. Maybe even better.   For more than 60 minutes the two countries put it all on the line. Hard-hitting checks. Fancy puck-handling. Dazzling goals. The drama lasted until the final seconds when the United States rallied from a 2-0 deficit to even the score with only 24.4 seconds remaining in regulation. The drama didn’t stop in overtime. Seven minutes into the extra period, Sidney Crosby provided a brilliant goal that sealed the gold for the Canadians. A better game couldn’t have been scripted.   As a result, even though the United States’ hockey team fell short of it’s goal in Vancouver, the rest of the nation fell back in love with a sport it had been neglecting for quite some time now.   Don’t believe me? The duel between the two rival nations drew an average viewership of 27.6 million viewers, the highest total for a hockey game since 1980. That’s a higher rating then every World Series game since 2004, every NBA Finals telecast since 1998, and every NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four game since 1998. How’s that for perspective?   And it didn’t stop there. Since the Olympics, Versus has reported a 41.3% increase in NHL viewership.   “There seems to be a real buzz out there,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday afternoon. “All of our platforms are seeing spiked traffic.”   The biggest evidence came last Tuesday when the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Buffalo Sabres. During pre-game introductions, Sabres goaltender,= and team USA member Ryan Miller received a standing ovation from the Pittsburgh crowd. The cheers were drastically louder than those for Pittsburgh fan-favorite and team Canada member, Sidney Crosby.   “It’s nice,” Miller said of the ovation. “It’s starting to sink in. It feels good that people appreciate what we accomplished.”   It’s a good sign for a sport that hasn’t seen much appreciation as of late. Since the 1994-1995 season, the NHL has seen it’s regular season TV ratings decrease every year.   However, with the conclusion of the Olympics, Bettman hopes the high interest will last.   “People who may not regularly view NHL hockey, who saw the Olympics, will look for more,” he said. “The proof of the pudding will be how we do in the stretch run through the end of the regular season and the play-offs.” All eyes are finally back on the NHL. It’s now up to the players to keep us watching.

About the Contributor
Andrew Otovik served as the sports editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2010-2011