Hockey: The New Roller Derby?

Posted: May 10, 1988

Hockey may still lack the necessary popular apppeal to get a network television contract, but the game between the Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils Sunday night had no trouble making the network news.

This was thanks mainly to a complex low comedy that started with the alleged assault of an official by the Devils' coach. It eventually involved everyone from a New Jersey Superior Court judge to three hastily rounded-up game officials, who initially skated onto the ice in what appeared to be green-and-yellow clown suits.

There's much hand-wringing about how this was all very degrading to the great game of hockey, but the truth is that the sport's image probably doesn't have all that far to fall. The contest, which featured the usual amount of brawling, seems, in fact, to have been a lot of fun.

The NHL could perhaps derive a lesson from this, and set out on purpose to ''reposition" the game, marketing it as the new silly sport, a combination of professional wrestling and roller derby. It's clearly moving in that direction anyway.

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