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Friday, August 21, 2009

Ice Hockey in Hawaii (or, Happy 50th to our 50th State) - Frozen Pill

It's Friday! Oh, the humanity.

The Frozen Pill has been thinking about a couple of the ideas On Goal Analysis brought you last season and about some new, exciting changes we will introduce this coming 09/10 NHL season.(teaser: new website coming very soon!)

So today's post is clanked by a one-timer in ode to and on our 50th State's 50th anniversary of induction into the United States (08/21/1959) - Happy Birthday, Hawaii!

Going through some of our previous ideas, reviewing what works and what doesn't, I started thinking about one of OGA's top goals in our mission statement: Help grow the game of hockey.

And by grow, we mean sharing the good news of Hockey with other people who have yet to drink the elixir that will quickly make hockey the preferred sport for new fans. As the game grows and more younguns become hooked on this fast-paced, competitive, addictive game, the benefits abound for all humanity.

Grand statement? Yep. But the science is out there (as well as common sense) to show that children who learn cooperation through team sports also learn the benefits of winning and losing. Winning feels great and is proof of accomplishment while losing often inspires a harder work ethic, greater dedication and inward reflection. Losers will often improve and morph into winners and vice-versa. But along the way, maturity is gained and life lessons learned.

And many great hockey stories exist in these yearly battles on and off the ice as the youth of today morph into tomorrow's Sidney Tavares. (no disrespect to the Long Island Ice Tcopyright OGA 2009 or Sid the Kid - OGA just loves promotion and it's been a long summer of off-season...)

But in this purple-ink world (coz red is just so mean) we need children playing in local recreational team sports more than ever for the sake of humanity.

For certainly 'hockey humanity' benefits with more people finding this great game, playing, winning, improving and growing up. The rise of the non-traditional market, including the growth of the game in the southern half of the US, is contributing to better competition at all levels of minor and junior level hockey. The highest quality players are facing more competition and the skill levels that now enter the NHL at draft time are becoming more and more impressive.

Big Tex had a great post about the non-traditional market growth earlier this summer and is good reading (along w/ the excellent discussion that commenced in the 'comments' section).

Also, last season, The Colonel posted his thoughts on how the league could eventually expand to Hawaii. That's nuts, isn't it? But read the post here when you are done with this and then see if you still think it's bat$hi+ crazy. You may not.

Consider, also, the hockey programs available at Ice Palace's rink for all hockey lovers, ranging from youth who can skate forward all the way to senior leagues. And to be frank, many of Hawaii's hockey players are transplanted Canadians (as has happened often in the southern US), but those transplants will have children who will play. And perhaps, they in turn will have children of their own, native born to the islands, who will one day get to skate in the NHL.

If it can happen in Dallas, Texas, it might happen in Honolulu.

Another of the OGA ideas floated last season is a little project we launched and may revitalize again this coming season - OGA's Shout! NHL Initiative.

Shout! NHL is OGA's first foray into direct marketing the game to potential new fans. While it provides a rough outline and start to our foray here, we want to find creative ways to bring hockey into more families' lives. We all love to share what we love. And the Great Game has so many intangibles that appeal to people, it's time those of us who are already caught help lure in the other lost fishies to share something we know they too will embrace.

It benefits humanity and all things hockey-goodness.

So, having taken so long to set up this one-timer on the Power Play, (yes, some of you are shouting, 'shoot!'), here's the general idea to tie these themes together... ('shoot!'):

  • 10 Hockey bloggers (the new media, becoming more embraced by sporting leagues everywhere) join forces together to set a date two years out, perhaps after the conclusion of the 2010/2011 NHL season, to meet up in Hawaii. (we have to do this before the world ends on 12/21/2012, the end of the Mayan Calendar, right?)
  • The prerequisites for these bloggers will be a) know how to ice skate and be able to play 'pick-up' level hockey and b) actively promote this initiative to the media, fans and the league and work with a central committee/organization to handle the logistics of the initiative.
  • We will then lobby the NHL and the various teams for 10 skaters who will serve as the event's ambassadors and liaisons. The players will be responsible for promoting the event and working with the writers for the purpose of raising charitable monies and corporate sponsors in order to send 10 children who can play and their families to Hawaii for a week to compete in the 'NHL's Ice Hockey in Hawaii Charity Tournament'.
  • The players can, if they choose, incorporate their favorite charities to participate in an organizational and promotional manner and use their personality to attract donations and attention to the cause.
  • The children chosen could be kids (boys and girls) who play for local leagues across North America and have the proto-typical hockey parents who sacrifice sleep, money and sanity to allow their kids to pursue the game.
  • Hawaii will provide 4 goalies from their local ice leagues to serve as hosts and to inject the local flavor into the game. OGA would suggest Alltop.com's local rink rat goalie who happens to have the perfect hockey name to promote the non-traditional market's growing contributions to the game - Guy Kawasaki.
  • This would give each team 15 skaters (3 lines) and 2 goalies. Maybe we could invite Denis Leary to serve as referee?
  • The NHL should send a camera crew to record all the activities and use the event to promote one of the NHL's intangible measurements - the high caliber and quality of the people who play this game. In addition, shared stories about the hard work and dedication from both the child and the parents in pursuit of the 'hockey life' would serve as inspiration for new kids and parents to the Great Game - not to mention great viewing at NHL.com or on the NHL Network.
  • OGA could produce a comprehensive, online reference guide so interested parties could get linked to local organizations prepared to guide new hockey parents through the process of enrolling their child as well as support networks and local league information.
When discussing my love for this game with people who are only casually familiar with hockey, they are all surprised to learn about the stories of kids who started skating at 3 years of age and parents who were willing to get up at 4AM to get their kiddos to the rink on time for morning practice...for years. For example, the Pill's pediatrician was schooled in West Virginia and now lives in Texas. She and her husband were a billet family for two teenagers from Canada who moved here to play in one of the growing number of Junior hockey leagues in Dallas.

Such stories break the mold of what hockey fans may be familiar with and is inspiring to newbies who may not even be aware of how the billet systems works or that it even exists. There are many wonderful hockey stories of humanity at is finest. This initiative would be a good way to have some of these family's stories shared and these stories should be front and center in the promotion of this event to raise hockey awareness.

Having the game in Hawaii? Well, it's 2 years out and I imagine a lot of hockey fans across the world wouldn't mind saving up for a family vacation in Hawaii with vacation memories of meeting up with some NHL stars and opportunities to contribute to the players' charities of choice or a youth hockey promotional non-profit.

And yes, this idea might be goofy. But it might be more probable than a NHL team in Hawaii. (insert sideways smiley-winky face made w/ punctuation marks to convey a witty jab HERE). That Colonel is a mad scientist.

Who's with me? Is the idea ludicrous or worth pursuing? Post a comment below or feel free to email me at frozenpill@rocketmail.com

And if we can pull it off, let's do it before the planets all align and that Mayan rope serpant (wormhole) blasts its way through the Milky Way with it's polarity shifting blasts of ions into the Earth's core and north becomes south and history becomes geology.

...(I just knew there was an underlying urgency to Big Tex's post about an NHL North/South realignment.)

take me back to ongoalanalysis.com


Big Tex said...

As they say in all the classically-bad "B" movies, "That's so crazy, it just might work!" Seriously outside-the-box, and a seriously good idea. Well done, FP! Count Big Tex in.

Anonymous said...

We like the idea, willing to help in any fashion we can, check us out and let us know if we can do anything to help. www.hawaiianhockeyclub.org