The Star Valley area’s resident NHL expert Dallon Tolman stopped by the studio this last Friday to talk to Aaron Feeley and Dahl Erickson about the state of the sport and league as a whole. Dallon discussed the Winter Classic game that was played last week and the growth of the league recently among the younger fan base.
Tolman is a life long Pittsburgh Penguins fan which led to some banter early on between himself and Aaron, a Chicago area fan who roots for the Blackhawks that you can catch throughout the interview, but he also believes that despite his Penguins affiliation he is very excited to watch Alex Ovechkin this year as the Great 8 climbs the all time goal leaderboard and approaches hollowed ground in the sport and looks to surpass Wayne Gretzky in the category. Any time a player can be placed into the same discussion as the Great One it is monumental in this sport and Ovi has turned his chase for the record into the biggest storyline across the sport.
The conversation then turned toward the Winter Classic and it’s impact on casual viewership which Tolman thinks should be expanded upon. “Bring back the stadium series” was the suggestion Dallon gave the SVI crew as to a possible idea the NHL could use to expand it’s viewership among casual audience’s which was an experiment the league flirted with a couple years back in which they essential played several winter classic games in the same season by hosting several outdoor games in December and January in large stadiums usually in cold weather markets which occasionally resulted in some beautiful snow games.
Another of the large problems facing the league is the lack of participations at the youth level across the country wear as in Canada it is a very popular winter sport among youth and high schoolers here in the states the sheer cost to play has alienated many fans who simply don’t understand or have interest in getting into watching the sport as it was never something they played or were even able to play. Here in Star Valley for instance there is essentially snow all year long and yet almost no hockey presence at all, Tolman would like to make it known though that there is a very good youth program up in Jackson for those that may be interested in letting their kids participate in the sport in the near future.
You can catch the interview in it’s entirety just below: