Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, April 05, 2021

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With the revived debate over fighting in the NHL, a lot of hollow banter was tossed around about public sentiment on the issue. Both sides claimed broad support for their stance: Pro-fight proponents that everyone expected fisticuffs with their pucks, and anti-fight advocates that it was keeping a wider audience from embracing the sport.

What was needed was a public opinion poll to clarify things. Well, now we’ve got one.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty much worthless.

The survey, conducted by Decima, gauges Canadian public opinion. It polled 1,000 people across Canada. That’s fine, except that hockey doesn’t have to sell itself north of the border. Realistically, for all the opposition a fighting ban elicits in Toronto, Saskatoon and Victoria, even the implementation of such a rule won’t alter the NHL’s status as the preeminent national sport. This poll was the sociological equivalent of preaching to the choir — or, more accurately, the choir preaching to itself.

All the Decima survey does is provide phantom ammunition in this argument.

What’s needed is a public opinion poll in the States. The National Hockey League needs to expand its popularity in the U.S. There are no additional Canadian fans to win over; by contrast, there are millions of potential American fans to attract. Determining their stance on fighting is the target to shoot for. From there, the league can take informed steps toward any necessary rule changes.

The question is, who’s going to conduct this survey in the lower 48 (plus Alaska and Hawaii)? The NHL itself might do so, but I seriously doubt they’ll publicly release the results, regardless of which way it turns out. Anyone out there up for some freelance poll-taking, mostly for fun?

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 04/05/2021 11:22:49 PM
Category: Hockey | Permalink |

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