David Beckham came out a few weeks ago and called LA the new hockey town David Beckham has no clue what he’s talking about.
First off he’s from England where they don’t really have hockey. A quick Google search shows about 25 rinks. Byron Dafoe and Owen Nolan are the only British NHLers to note and Nolan is from Belfast which is debatable if that’s England. They won the gold back in 1936 Olympics, haven’t made it in since 48. So I don’t put too much in to Becks hockey knowledge. Detroit has been hockey town since the mid 90’s
Second to say that any town is hockey town over Detroit would be a stretch. They haven’t ranked outside the top 10 in average attendance in the past six years and only once have they been out of the top 5. They almost always draw over 100% of capacity. In those last 6 years they have only lost at most 14 games at home, and only twice have double digit losses at home (14 in 2001 and 10 in 2010). They won the cup. Yes the Stanley cup in 08 and lost in the finals in 09. Not to mention they won a handful of cups in the early 90’s as well. Not only are their fans excited for hockey there so are NHL players. It seems every off season they sign some big names. And in a recent poll 14% of players said the Wings were the team they would want to play on. (Tops on that list.) Detroit is getting the winter classic which will be part of a huge hockey festival in the Detroit area featuring minor league and college games. Truly Hockey Town
Now let’s look at LA. To even say that LA is a town driven by hockey is crazy. I’m leaving out the Anaheim teams because they don’t really count. Let’s just look at the LA teams. The Kings have never been higher on the average attendance list them 14th (10/11 season). Up until last year they haven’t drawn more than 94% of capacity on average. They can’t even win their city from the likes of the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers. The Lakers draw a consistent 99.7 percent on average of capacity and the Clippers. The team whose fans wore bags on their heads, have drawn over 93% the past 2 years. The Dodgers who just got sold which means they were in the tanks were drawing over 65% of capacity over the past 2 years. We shouldn’t have to even mention the championships the Lakers have won (10,09, 02,01,00) and lost in the championships in 08 and 04. And how the Kings haven’t been to the championship since when???? And can you imagine if Los Angeles get s a football team again? Now I know a lot of celebs have been out recently to Kings games. And I know there is an invite only hockey game run by Jerry Bruckheimer but until a big name gets season tickets behind the glass like Jack Nicolson has court side at the Lakers can LA be in the debate for the title of hockey town. I’m all for a big push in press and notoriety for the Kings. I like some of their players and want every hockey team to be a big draw in their town. Just don’t try to step on the teams that got the league there. Detroit is an original six. There’s a reason why Gordy Howe and Trevor Lindsay still have spots in the locker room. Why this year’s alumni game will be a who’s who of hockey past.
The name Hockey Town will always be Detroit’s. You can throw a few cities and teams around that might be contenders for the title like Philly, Buffalo, Chicago, Montreal but LA is a ways off. But I wish them all the best in the finals.