Mark Humphrey/AP Photo
2016 was another memorable year for the NHL. Some memories of 2016 include the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup, and John Scott as the big attraction of the NHL All-Star Game. In 2017, the NHL is celebrating its Centennial season and the league has plenty of festivities lined up for its history-making celebration.
While the NHL is having multiple events throughout the new year to celebrate its wonderful history, there are things that hockey fans should hope for with improvements throughout the league. The NHL is not a perfect league, and there are things around the league that should be improved.
What are the things that the NHL should make improvements to? What can make the player experience and fan experience better? What are some things the NHL should do to draw new fans to the league?
IMPROVEMENT TO THE COACH’S CHALLENGE
Any fan that has watched over the past couple of years has seen how poor the coach’s challenge has been. While the idea and notion of instant replay is good, the consistency with the calls on the ice still is not up to par.
The NHL needs more consistency and clarity with the rules. The coaches, players, general managers, and fans are all confused on things like “goaltender interference”. The NHL needs to reform the rules, and make things clearer with video examples. While the coach’s challenge is still a work in process, it can work if the rules become more clear.
FEWER DIRTY PLAYS
Fans have seen a slight decline in fighting around the NHL. Fighting is down slightly because there have been fewer dirty hits. I feel players are beginning to use more caution with delivering big hits. Players know that they are being watched more than ever now, and they have become less likely to deliver questionable hits.
While the NHL is still missing some blatant hits that should be suspendable, the league has added more fines to plays like diving or embellishment. This move was a step in the right direction for the league, to help preserve the integrity of the league.
EMBRACE LAS VEGAS
The NHL’s newest franchise will begin operation in 2017. Hockey fans all over the map should be excited about this. The Golden Knights have sold out their season ticket allotment, and they have a cool new logo, so they are off and running in the right direction.
I am hopeful that the citizens of Las Vegas come out and embrace their first ever major professional sports team. If the home fans do not come out and support Las Vegas hockey, there will be plenty of opposing fans that will travel to Vegas to watch their respective teams play.
Overall, the NHL officials are brutal with their consistency with calls. Sometimes, it is the calls that are blatantly not made on the ice that leave everyone’s head spinning.
Referees have a difficult job every night, but there needs to be more calls made on the ice. I think the on-ice officials now let too much go, and it can lead to extra shenanigans during games. There are too many instances where the referees tend to lose control of games, and let the players take over. When referees lose control of the game, all hell can break loose.
By: George Foussekis