My man Matthias, who will hereafter be known as “our European correspondent”, just triggered something and I want to throw it out there while it’s fresh in my head. His question specifically was about hockey games on the web, but the subject was hockey broadcasts in general:
If you haven’t figured it out already, I love hockey. I love to play it, I love writing about it, and I love watching games from a press box or in the stands. Again, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson, I’m using the word love here.
And yet when it comes to watching a hockey game on TV, I have to admit even I have a tough time. Of course, this is hardly unique. If there’s a reason that football in this country flourishes while hockey flounders, it’s because of a simple equation:
Hockey: Great to see in person, tough to watch on TV.
Football: OK to see in person, great to watch on TV.
Welcome to American commerce.
Naturally a lot of this has to do with the pace of the game along with the size of the puck. Whenever I try to lure my wife into watching a game with me, she invariably gives up because she can’t see the stupid puck (she has bad eyes, which may explain why she married me).
Maybe we’ll never get around that. But I often felt at least one way to improve hockey broadcasts on TV — beyond HD, which I think will also help the game tremendously — is to offer more camera angles of the game north to south as opposed to the standard east-west.
Stay with me for a second, because I have a point.
One of the beauties of hockey is seeing a play develop and watching it unfold. When you see the game in the standard angle, that’s difficult to appreciate. But from behind, particularly with the benefit of being elevated, you’re better able to see how one event at one end of the rink has a direct impact on an event at the other.
Now, I’m not in TV, and fortunately for you, I’m not ON TV, either. But I have to think there are better ways to capture the pace and excitement of the game, and this would be one of them.