Over the past several decades, the NHL had decided to take a brief break during the Christmas holiday and resume play a couple of days afterward. While the break clearly has benefits, should the NHL continue to take the Christmas holiday off?
The NHL could benefit from leaving a slate of games for Christmas Day, but do the risks outweigh the rewards?
North American territories, particularly the United States, are no stranger to nationally televised sporting events on Christmas Day.
The NBA has a long history of televising days on Christmas that have constantly been celebrated among that leagues fans. Even the NFL in recent years has opted to televise games on Christmas, giving its fans something to look forward to during the holiday season.
Would the NHL joining in on the Christmas sports extravaganza benefit the league in the long run? Let’s break it down.
The NHL definitely has its fans out there, you wouldn’t be reading this article if it didn’t, however it’s no secret that the league still has room to grow.
Providing nationally televised NHL games on Christmas Day could help expose the league to more casual fans who may not usually watch the NHL. The league isn’t known for appearing on any specific holiday, changing that could help bring in a wider audience.
People are at home during the holidays and are more likely to turn on the TV.
The league would however need to make sure that two things happen on their theoretical Christmas games.
First of all, they would need to make sure well-known teams are playing. Original six teams and other well known teams such as Penguins and Flyers would need to play. These teams would draw a larger audience.
Secondly, the games would need some kind of extra appeal. To do this they could make Christmas games a part of the Winter Classic and play the games outdoors.
As fun as Christmas Day games would be, it may not go over well with the players. Players normally utilize the break to spend the holidays with their families.
It’s no secret that NFL players aren’t exactly excited about having to play on December 25th.
Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as well as several teammates publicly admitted they aren’t thrilled about having to spend Christmas away from their families.
The NHL also runs into the issue of needing to compete with the NBA and potentially the NFL.
As stated earlier, the NHL has its fan base, but not one as large as that of the NBA and NFL.
It would be hard to reach a casual audience when other leagues already have well established Christmas Day games.
What do you think? Would you like to see your favorite players on the ice Christmas Day or should the NHL continue to break during the holidays?