You’re at a hockey game. Maybe it’s with your loved one. Maybe it’s with a few friends from work. Or maybe you brought your kids. You’re watching the action on the ice and your team scores!
What do you do?
It’s easy, right? You celebrate. You stand up and cheer, applauding your team for getting a chunk of rubber past a guy covered in padding and into a net. Music plays, the arena is electric. It’s exciting. It’s fun.
Offense sell tickets, so why wouldn’t the NHL want to try to increase scoring? It makes sense. There have been ideas to make that happen, too: bigger nets, more penalties, smaller goaltender pad, different ice dimensions, etc.
What makes hockey special is the fact that every goal can create that same level of excitement. It’s the fact that scoring only happens a few times per game. It’s disappointing to miss a goal because you went to get food or use the restroom, because it could happen only once.
You could say the same for every major sport, but there’s only one way to score in hockey. Other sports have multiple ways – field goals, singles, etc.
The only plays comparable to a goal are a home run in baseball or a touchdown in football. Field goals and RBI singles don’t create the same level of excitement unless they are game-winning.
Almost every single goal in the NHL can recreate that electric atmosphere. Increasing the amount of scoring in the NHL would decrease the value of each goal. The amount of goals per game has gone down in the last couple of decades. Here’s a look at the numbers, courtesy of SportingCharts.com:
The numbers are down, but arenas are still sold out. Those numbers haven’t hurt the fanbase.
A 1-0 or 2-1 game could be just as exciting as a 4-3 or 5-4 one. Watching a high-scoring game is exciting because it doesn’t happen often. It’s a treat, but if all games were high-scoring, you’d become more accustomed to it, and each goal would be less meaningful.
The National Hockey League does not need to look at ways to increase scoring. It is fine the way it is. The game is fast. There are hits, fights, saves, scoring opportunities, power plays…all of these things will contribute to excitement of the game.
What do you think about the amount of scoring in the NHL and would you do anything to change it?