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SBD/January 22, 2013/Media
CBC Draws Record Viewership For Season Debut Of "HNIC"; Blues, Caps Set Local Records
Published January 22, 2013
CROSSING BORDERS: In Toronto, Steve Buffery writes the opening attendance numbers and TV ratings were "so high that the ratings probably shocked the NHL and the players." Certain teams are "going to sell-out anyway, most of the Canadian teams especially, but the numbers for NHL games on the opening weekend showed that the situation in the U.S. was probably not as doom and gloom as many predicted when the lockout ended." There still is a "major hunger for the game, even in the U.S., and that’s a feather in the NHL’s cap." The league will "remember this." In future CBA negotiations, both the players and owners will be "perfectly comfortable digging in for another long haul because they know their fans will be there when they get back" (TORONTO SUN, 1/22). SI.com's Stu Hackel wrote Saturday night and hockey "fit together for millions of people." The "misconception that this only holds true in Canada may never be fully comprehended south of the 49th parallel, and even in Canada itself, but it's a fact." The NHL's "growth over the past few decades -- cautious and uneven as it may be -- proves it." It is "one reason the lockout was so senseless." This "isn't a uniquely Canadian experience." While "not as universal for Americans as it is for our northern neighbors, a parallel experience of no small consequence exists in the United States." This has "long been an international sport, Canada's gift to the world, and a sizable -- and a growing -- number of us down here feel exactly as Canadians do about the rituals of watching NHL players and their unmatched athleticism." Among those rituals "is watching on Saturday night" (SI.com, 1/21).