Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Anze Kopitar for President / Changing the world, one hockey fan at a time

In my life I'm sure my parent had visions of me changing the world, ending poverty, or perhaps even being a catalyst for world peace. While all those things may still come to fruition my goal in the meantime is showing love for my beloved sport of hockey. People sometimes get asked "if you could meet one person in life, who would it be?" Tony Blair? No way. George Bush? I'd actually wanna talk about politics in an informed manner Bill Cosby? Now we're getting warm. Real warm. But the real winner i think would be Bob Miller, the longtime voice of the L.A. Kings. I would be the happiest person if I had a chance to chat with him over a meal, or just shake his hand.

If there's anyone out there who can make my Bob Miller dream come true, just let me know. Well that aside, my birthday was made the other day by writing to a hockey writer E.J. Hradek for ESPN and having him actually write me back, this is our conversion:

From: Me
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2007 5:33 PM
To: Hradek, EJ
Subject: Kopitar in 2008


For all that the league is doing to increase it's profile through PR moves, new ad campaigns, etc, why don't they do the simplest thing possible: ensure that Reebok or whoever their uniform supplier is doesn't charge $150- $400 for replica jerseys.

There are different ways in which the league can make the game more accessible to people. Having more ice rinks available for people in Southern California to skate on is certainly one way, but the primary way for hockey (or any sport) is to make it easy and affordable for fans to support their team. I've never skated on ice and I've only been to handful of Kings games in my life, but I became a lifelong and diehard Kings fan because of two reasons:

1) the combination of my parents getting cable TV to watch games and Wayne Gretzky coming to LA at the same time
2) once I bought my replica Rob Blake jersey (with the old silver and black logo) for $40 made my Starter, I felt I had a piece of the team with me.

I would argue that the first impression that a random person gets from going to their first hockey game end up liking it is more substantial than any of the 4 main sports. What better way of solidifying the new potential fans than enabling them to buy a piece of the team without losing an arm or a leg in the process? High ticket costs isn't a hockey phenomenon, it's an American sport phenomenon; I understand that. . But the biggest ad campaign and PR move the league can have is by kids seeing other people walking around with jerseys in the real world (i.e. outside of Madison Square Garden). I'm not saying the jerseys need to be $40 again, but even $70 can be on the verge of an impulse buy for people.

But the longer you have hockey jerseys costing so much the less likely the average kid/adult/human/Canadian will look at Cameron from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" sporting a Gordie Howe Red Wings jersey and think it looks completely normal.


Kopitar in 2008,
- Shakes, the only transplant LA Kings fan in New York

And the response!!!.....

From: Hradek, EJ [mailto:EJ.Hradek@espn3.com]
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2007 8:06 PM
To: Me
RE: Kopitar in 2008

You make some great points. I think I’ll pass them along to some folks at the league. I fear that it’s all about the money these days. I guess it’s that way in a lot of different areas of life. Of course, when people aren’t paying attention to the league, maybe the prices should be a little more reasonable. Let’s see if the laws of supply and demand bring down the prices. Thanks, EJ

Well this just made my day. Can you imagine how cool it would be someone actually mentioned this to somebody in the league office? It takes a village people. It takes a village.

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