While the NBA is off celebrating its All-Star Weekend, which CNN calls "Black Thanksgiving," the NHL and USA Hockey are collaborating on their own star-studded weekend tribute to their game. And by stars, they mean Eddie Cahill, Ken Baker, and Ashlan Gorse. And by tribute, they mean, uh, something? Look at that website straight out of 2003. Yeesh.
The New York Times ran a piece today, pegged to "Hockey Weekend Across America," on the rise of youth hockey in warmer climates, and, more broadly, throughout the country. They throw a ton of statistics at us:
Participation throughout the United States has increased from 195,000 male and female players of all ages registered with USA Hockey in 1990-91 to 475,000 in 2009-10. Earlier this year, it registered its 100,000th player at the 8-and-younger level.
On opening night of the N.H.L. this year, and for the first time in league history, more than 20 percent of league rosters were composed of American players, representing 25 states.
According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, ice hockey is the second-fastest-growing sport in the country since 2008, behind fast-pitch softball.
Look at that! And it's great, because youth hockey is kind of the best thing ever. (I say this as a lumbering defenseman/right winger who racked up two goals in four seasons.) But, please, USA Hockey, couldn't you do something a little less half-assed? You finished second for a gold medal last year, constructing an out-of-nowhere juggernaut with David Backes, Tim Gleason, and Ryan Kesler! (Oh, and hockey's Charlie Sheen.) Can't you apply some of that savvy to this weekend?