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June 26, 2019
Hockey Weekend Across America
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
I was a touch under the weather this week (read "hungover"), so I really didn't get a chance to write much for the site. But it would be terrible if I neglected all the Hockey Weekend Across America festivities.
I can't believe it's Hockey Weekend Across America already. I love Hockey Weekend Across America. I can't get enough of the Hockey Weekend Across America. I just have one question. What the (sunshine) is Hockey Weekend Across America?
It turns out Hockey Weekend Across America is a national initiative to celebrate the growth of hockey across these here United States. And guess what? It's this weekend! It's happening right now! Who knew?
There's no denying the American influence in the NHL. In 2006-07, a record 202 American-born players appeared in at least one game, comprising 20% of the total players in the NHL. In 1998, Americans comprised only 15%, and back then there were four fewer teams. It's all part of George W. Bush's plan to spread democracy. Expect Manitoba to be bombed any day now.
But in case you're wondering, last season the NHL had 550 Canadians, 202 Americans, 97 Czechs, 64 Russians, 53 Swedes, 45 Finns, and 20 douchebags (also known as the Red Wings).
In the 1960s, there were only 10 U.S. players in the league. That number jumped to 68 in the 1970s and has continued to climb ever since, reaching 132 in the 1980s and 160 in the 1990s.
While those numbers are impressive, let's not forget about hockey's incredible growth all across the globe. In 1960, there wasn't a single Slovenian-born player to be found. Now, a mere 48 years later, Slovenia is here to stay. You the man, Anze!
In 1990, there were fewer than 200,000 USA Hockey members. Today there are almost 600,000. All 50 states are represented, with the membership ranging in age from two to 80. The two-year-old is little Johnny Watkins from Duluth, Minnesota. The 80-year-old? Chris Chelios.
Adult hockey boasts more than 100,000 members nationwide, increasing 36% in just the past two years. Hockey continues to be increasingly popular with girls and women, too. Last year, more than 57,000 women were part of USA Hockey. The most famous female hockey player? Chris Chelios.
Did you know the most widely circulated hockey publication in the world is USA Hockey Magazine? It's true. It reaches 433,000 homes and can be found on newsstands all across the U.S. and Canada. The least widely circulated hockey publication in the world? The Chris Chelios Fan Club newsletter.
Hockey Weekend Across America actually kicked off yesterday, February 15, and will run through Sunday, February 17, as most weekends are wont to do. Each day will have its own theme. Friday was "Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey to School Day." I rib you not. Today is "Bring a Friend to the Rink Day." Sunday's theme will be "Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes." I know, I know; I wish weekends were longer too, but what can you do?
Oddly enough, this is also LCS Hockey Weekend Across America. Sunday will mark two years since we brought the site back to life. To commemorate the occasion, we've been having our own three-day celebration. Yesterday was "Drink Yourself Sick on Gin Day." Today is "Bring a Gin to Your Liver Day." And tomorrow will be "Celebrate Classic TV Sitcom Heroes by Drinking Lots of Gin Day."
Yes, the growth of American hockey has truly been amazing. It wouldn't surprise me if someday they even started broadcasting NHL games on television in the United States.