That was the story for most American hockey cities. There was only a small, die-hard, niche of fans, while the majority of the masses ignored the sport. Always known as the fourth major professional sport in the United States (behind MLB, the NFL and the NBA), the National Hockey League has never had a problem with keeping their core fans involved…it was tapping into and engaging with non-hockey fans that proved difficult.
That hasn’t stopped the NHL for trying innovative techniques to garner attention from the non-hockey fan. Remember when the NHL debuted the glowing puck 15 years ago at the NHL All-Star Game? Designed to help casual fans follow the puck on the ice, the NHL and FOX inserted computer chips inside of the hockey puck so viewers could track the puck on the ice on television. The idea was a noble one: reducing the complexity of the game would equal a broader audience. The result was outrage by hockey purists who called the gimmick a distraction and led to the glowing puck’s quick demise.