As we have noticed, the hockey season is rolling at its own chosen speed already here in Europe. The domestic leagues, the KHL, and the European club tournament: the Champions Hockey League.
I have been a fan of the CHL competition, as I have realized that the game needs bigger club competitions than just KHL and the NHL, to make it even more attractive for new fans and those who wish to be involved in one way or another in order to help it evolve.
But, this season’s CHL has felt disorganized — too many teams and groups, to talk about the basic issues, which made that my earlier strong attention and interest fade quite a lot, which made me further prioritize the KHL and the World Cup.
Surely many have felt the same as the lack of attendance in many venues around in Europe, especially in Sweden and Finland, has been reported.
So few who have attended the games that one could say that only the closest mourning relatives came to the funeral, and the spirit and the beer didn’t make the games more enjoyable precisely.
And, that’s not really that encouraging.
In a bigger perspective, it can be said that it is not a good commercial at all for a game that needs people and more publicity, positive rather than negative reports about how bad it is.
I love myself to write positive things and to be positive, but I can’t look away or turn the blind eye to the matter.
So, what can be done? How to create the tournament to be a stronger magnet?
Of course, there is always a lot to do at all levels, as even the domestic leagues in Europe have their wide-ranging issues to pull the fans out of the couch.
But why change it from season to season, and not stick to one solid route, something that is more concrete and stable like the Autobahn, the famous highway that goes through Germany?
As it is at the moment, it seems that the CHL commission is trying to build a crow’s nest instead, and we all know how sprawling such a nest can appear.
If you pull a stick out from the pile, a possible outcome of that action is that the nest crashes. Exactly that fragile the whole CHL creation seems to be.
My suggestion? Such as it is, as much as it might be worth:
I am not the only one who has needed to follow the way the football version been taking since ages ago because it’s working. Four teams in each group, 2 games against each other and then the knockout stage.
How hard can it be to arrange the whole tournament in such way? Well, you tell me.
Yet, we have to remember that another important component to making the competition way more attractive is still missing, which must be corrected somehow soon as possible if the CHL wish to survive at all in the long run:
The lack of such a big award at stake that no one – including all fans and clubs – can possibly turn down under any circumstance.
One thing is for sure, when it comes to the money, it has to be indeed more worth to win the Champions Hockey League than it is to win the domestic league.
The general message to the Champions Hockey League in a shorter version, as the headline of this column suggests:
Don’t make it too difficult. Make it rather as simple as possible.
Perhaps it is time to bring in and listen to wise people who know one or two things about this?
In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow