NHL Blunders

John Smith, Contributor

The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are an exciting time for hockey fans, but there are concerns about the growth of the league due to a series of blunders in recent years. Here are five major mistakes that the NHL has made that may have contributed to a decrease in viewership this past year.

  1. New Fanatics Jersey Deal

When it comes to professional hockey jerseys, fans expect high quality. Adidas brought new life to the NHL jersey starting in the 2017-2018 season, but it was revealed that Adidas did not plan to extend their jersey contract and is expected to be done producing NHL jerseys next season. Instead, the NHL has partnered with Fanatics to produce all future jerseys, and this has caused concern among fans.

Fanatics is a company that creates fan gear, but it is usually associated with cheap merchandise. The worry among fans is that Fanatics will not produce the same high-quality jerseys that Adidas did, which could impact the overall reputation of the NHL. Fans are also concerned that Fanatics will prioritize profits over quality and that the new jerseys will be overpriced and not worth the investment.

2.) Digital Boards

The NHL’s newest ad placement has caused a lot of frustration among fans. The boards are digitally replaced with advertisements for local businesses, and it’s a lot. When players go along the boards, it looks as if a really bad green screen is behind them, and it makes the game hard to watch.

This technology is similar to the puck tracer that Fox Broadcasting used in the games from 1996–1998 to show the puck. The end result was that fans hated it, and it made the game harder to watch rather than easier. Just like the puck tracer, the digitally applied boards make the game harder to watch.

3.) Decreased visibility on television

For the past few years, NBC Sports has been the go-to place for NHL games, and it has become almost a tradition that the NHL finals are on NBC. However, the NHL has made a deal with the Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC and ESPN. This wouldn’t be bad, but after watching games on ESPN, it is not as entertaining, and it seems like they don’t have everything put together.

ESPN is not typically associated with hockey, and fans worry that the network doesn’t understand the game or how to present it to a wider audience. The lack of experience and understanding of hockey by ESPN’s commentators and analysts is noticeable to fans, and it detracts from the overall viewing experience.

4.) Pride Night Controversy

The NHL has an LGBTQ+ awareness campaign called NHL Pride Night, which is a good idea. They want to expand the game to everyone, but the point where they missed on this campaign was making the players wear rainbow-colored jerseys to show their support.

NHL players come from all around the world and have different religions and social backgrounds. The NHL failed to consider this, and some NHL players refused to wear rainbow jerseys because it went against their personal beliefs. This put players in an uncomfortable position and caused them to contemplate their livelihood or their beliefs.

Some teams have already taken the step to cancel Pride Night, and it seems like it’s a growing trend to moderate what social topics the league is promoting. Fans are concerned that the NHL is putting too much emphasis on promoting social causes instead of focusing on the game itself.

5.) Over-reliance on star players

The NHL has a tendency to heavily market its star players, but this can be problematic for the league. While star players are exciting to watch and draw in crowds, focusing solely on them can lead to problems if those players are injured or leave the league.

Fans are concerned that the NHL is not doing enough to promote other players and build their fan bases. By relying too heavily on star players


In conclusion, the NHL has inflicted multiple issues upon itself that have been hindering its substantial growth. If they are able to resolve these issues, they will no doubt be again one of the top professional sports leagues that other leagues look up to and want to replicate.