The Canadian dollar is dropping and there are a distinct lack of Canadian teams in playoff position. This spells bad news for the NHL.
Currently no NHL team north of the border is in the playoffs, with the Senators closest to a postseason berth but are still 6 points back of the surging Flyers. Bettman has come out and said he hopes Canadian hockey fans will still watch the playoffs even if their team or a team from their country isn’t in the playoffs. The fact of the matter is no NHL playoffs have been without Canadian teams since the 1969-70 season. This spells out a nightmare for the NHL and the NHL’s ratings for this upcoming playoffs.
If you couple this with the failing Canadian dollar and it’s not too promising for the league. The NHL hopes for expansion into the Canadian market with places like Quebec City or Hamilton being potential targets, but with a failing Canadian dollar it will be hard to get funding or investors to put their money on the line for a team, stadium, etc. The fall of the Canadian dollar also effects NHL free agency, as players like Steven Stamkos who has been rumored to garner interest from Montreal, Toronto, etc might not want to go where the dollar is weaker, instead opting to stay in the United States to look for a max deal.
The National Hockey League, and hockey in general, has always been a regional sport with regions like New England, Michigan, recently Chicago and Los Angeles, Minnesota, and all of Canada. The NHL’s ratings could plummet, especially considering Minnesota, Detroit, and all of Canada are out of the playoff picture for now, Chicago is slipping, Boston doesn’t look to be a “real” contender, and LA is more concerned with the Kobe Bryant farewell tour. The prayer is that Ovechkin and Crosby can renew their rivalry on a postseason stage. If it’s anything like the 2009 playoff matchup that would make even casual NHL fans salivate.
For the sake of the NHL and it’s playoff ratings…one can only hope.