Max Kellerman’s comments about hockey is something that New York Islanders fans have been hearing for far too long.
“No one really cares about hockey.” It’s an expression used far too often and something that Islanders fans can relate to. Max Kellerman, the First Take Host, had some strong words on the sport of hockey on his show yesterday.
Kellerman claimed that the sport is not a top-four sport in the United States and also that only people with season tickets care about the sport.
For the full comments, see this video:
I’m not surprised by these comments in the least. First of all, he works at a network that does very little to showcase the game, outside of a handful of on-air talent, and his job on that show is to create controversy.
The Stephen A. Smith’s, Skip Baylis’, and Max Kellerman’s of the world are essentially playing a character of themself to be an entertainer, it’s not so much about the sports knowledge they bring to the table, people tune in to see what outlandish things will be said that day.
But I believe Kellerman is wrong. In fact, the NHL has a chance to grow tremendously during their playoff tournament this year.
There’s a chance all eyes will be on them this summer, and the “casual sports fan” who won’t have much of a choice viewing wise if MLB doesn’t get their act together, will be tuning into these games on a nightly basis.
Yes, the NHL is behind the NFL, NBA, MLB (in that order) in terms of popularity but it is definitely one of the four major sports in this country.
And how this all ties back to the Islanders is very simple. Time and time again, we’re told and that nobody cares about us. Whether it’s local radio programming, Nassau County Politicians, the Barclays Center, hockey media, you name the Isles aren’t necessarily a team that a lot of people “care about”.
Being told that nobody cares about your sport sucks, it’s not fun, especially when your team isn’t necessarily a big market team. That’s starting to change, though.
The owners care, the Governor and State cares, Lou Lamoriello cares, Barry Trotz cares, and that’s enough to build a solid foundation. Nobody is saying the sport is perfect or doesn’t need to grow, but to be completely dismissive of the NHL like Max Kellerman, or the Islanders in our little world, is also pretty careless.