NHL: Where Did All These Fans Come From?

Henry LaborantiContributor IJune 16, 2009

DETROIT - JUNE 12:  Tyler Kennedy #48 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 2-1 to win Game Seven and the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

For years now, the NHL has been fighting to get their ratings higher than their typical poor performances. Not only was this Stanley Cup Final one of the most exciting in league history, the ratings for the final were the highest since the 1970's.

Since the 1970's! Do I have that right? Unfortunately for the NHL, I do.

Think about this: who do we see on America's sports commercials and magazine articles? Derek  Jeter? Tom Brady? Shaqenstein?

Rarely, if ever, do you see an NHL player being advertised. So you ask yourself, why? Why doesn't the NHL take more steps towards advertising their league through their most standout players?

What does the NHL need to do? Get the word out and brag about their league more. All it takes is one more commercial, one more article in Sports Illustrated. Oh, and one more thing: get your games back on ESPN!

Not taking anything away from Versus, but ESPN is usually the first channel men turn on when they sit down to watch TV.

The steps seem quite simple, but why doesn't the NHL follow them? If you can't advertise your league, you shouldn't be in charge of advertising. And if the commissioner doesn't realize this, then he should be relieved of his duties.

 An underdog team winning the Cup is the best thing to happen to the NHL in years. Let this be a lesson to the "men in charge." You do have fans out there, so reach out to them like the NFL, MLB, and NBA does.

Have pride in your fans, and they'll have pride in you.