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Patrik Elias will miss games in Canadian cities

Dec 6, 2011, 4:22 PM EDT

Washington Capitals v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

When the NHL realigns for the 2012-13 season, the New Jersey Devils will be in a conference with six other American teams. As a result, their new regular-season schedule will feature just one trip to each Canadian city, a fact that doesn’t make Patrick Elias very happy.

“I’d rather come here (to Canada), to be honest,” Elias told the Star-Ledger from Toronto, where the Devils will play the Leafs tonight. “I’d rather play in the Canadian cities more. It’s a lot more fun. The people here are more into hockey. They understand hockey better. Plus it’s fun to play here.”

Considering Elias makes his home in the United States and the people that buy Devils tickets are primarily American, maybe he shouldn’t have said that. It’s just poor PR.

I mean, obviously he’s right, but still.

/drinks a maple-syrup smoothie

  1. quizguy66 - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Patty is enough of a pro and true Devil that I don’t mind what he said. I’ll miss having fans from Canada come down as well as they are fun to talk hockey with.

    -QG

  2. pastabelly - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    I am also not a fan of the new scheduling. As a Bruins fan, now I have an interest in all Penguins, Rangers, Flyers, and other rivals games. While they are out of the division, playoff seeding is always important. Next year, once you sew up a playoff spot, games take on less meaning. The NHL always finds new ways to hurt themselves.

  3. lsxphotog - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    Games in Canada are much better. The people do indeed understand hockey more than most US cities, and their actual fans who live in the cities aren’t dumb. Sitting at a game and not overhearing dumb people comment on hockey has always been a fantasy of mine. It came true when I went to a Leafs game at the Air Canada Center. So I can certainly agree with him. Playing in the NHL in those cities, like Montreal and Toronto, has to be fantastic.

  4. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 6, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    You can’t blame him for telling the truth

  5. bcisleman - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Like most generalizations, Elias’ comment was more than a bit foolish as well as unwise PR-wise. I moved to Terrace, BC–2009 Kraft Hockeyville–when I got married in 2006. My Canadian born and bred wife and daughter could care less about hockey and, in fact, dread playoff season as their favorite CBC shows get pre-empted for HNiC.

    More to the point, Canadian demographics are changing and there are many urban areas where hockey does not predominate as it used to. On the other hand, there is a vital hockey culture in New England, upstate New York, and the upper MidWest that is as old as hockey itself. Very foolish and uninformed comment by Elias.

  6. lameasish - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Also a foolish comment by you pal. When America starts putting out more players than Canada, we can talk then. There is also the population difference, over 300 million compared to just over 30 million.

    • bcisleman - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:47 PM

      Actually my comment was thoughtful, reasoned, and factual. Yours was…lets just say that I know a lot of intelligent Canadian fans and you do not sound like one of them. And if you followed hockey history at all you would know that the percentage of Americans in the NHL has risen dramatically. Canadians used to constitute well over 90% of NHLers and now its under 50%. The remaining 50+% are divided roughly evenly between Americans and Europeans.

      • cmonmanzz - Dec 7, 2011 at 8:20 AM

        You just can’t honestly say USA are better at hockey than Canada. That’s just not true.

      • cshearing - Dec 7, 2011 at 8:40 AM

        53.3% this year. Close though. You are right that the lead is closing. This does not surprise me; hockey is an awesome sport that people are just catching on to in many areas. But lameasish does make a good point about population sizes.

        However, to say that hockey is losing ground in Canada is a bit disingenuous. Sure, the percentage that follow hockey has gone down a little, but it is still far and away the #1 sport up here. Most of the people that you find that do not care for hockey do not care for sports in general. And no offense, but your wife and daughter do not like it? Anecdotal evidence does not a trend make.

      • bcisleman - Dec 8, 2011 at 12:56 AM

        cmonmanzz: I don’t think I did say that. Elias was saying that Canadians are much better hockey fans than Americans and I was pointing out that his statement isn’t necessarily true.

      • bcisleman - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:12 AM

        cshearing: Yes, there is a difference in population sizes between the two countries, but that’s deceptive. If you compare Canada’s population with the combined populations of the New England and upper Mid West states where the overwhelming majority of US hockey players still come from, they are roughly the same.

        My point is not disingenuous at all. I have read a number of perceptive articles by hockey and non-hockey writers that has looked at the growing population of immigrants in Canadian urban areas and how they are changing what it means to be Canadian. More and more these people are interested in, for example, soccer and not ice hockey. I have also read articles that suggest that the degree to which the average Canadian follows hockey is overemphasized and many Canadians just do not follow the sport that closely. My wife and daughter are reflective of that.

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