Over this past weekend the New Jersey Devils honored former defenseman Scott Niedermayer by hoisting his number 27 to the rafters of the Prudential Center. The ceremony was aired in it’s entirety locally but the NHL missed an opportunity to give Niedermayer and their sport some additional exposure by failing to carry the event on nation TV.
It would have been an ideal situation for the NHL Network to air the 45 minute tribute to the former Devil and Anaheim Duck captain. Instead the NHL Network barely made mention of the events in Newark. Instead opting to show highlights of previous NHL games. The network often play the same programs over and over and over and over. Number retirements or other events such as milestones reached should make up some of the programming and help fill some of those time slots usually stuffed with re-runs.
Niedermayer was a game changer. His style of play clearly defined what it meant to be a puck-moving defenseman. He would put up points regularly but could keep points off the boards just as effectively. His fluid, effortless skating style put him clearly in a class of his own. Former teammate Patrik Elias said that Niedermayer is still the best skater he’s ever played with or against.
Whether your a fan of the Devils or Ducks or not, there is no denying what Niedermayer meant to the NHL and the game of hockey. Not only that, but the league still struggles with promoting themselves. They have made strides over the last few season but still trail the NBA, NFL and MLB in the area of self-promotion.
In the future the NHL needs to seize these types of opportunities. Honoring great players goes well beyond the local fanbase it should resonate league wide.
What do you think? Should the NHL has aired the Scott Niedermayer ceremony nationally? Let us know below!