Friday, May 12, 2006

The Story OLN Missed

I just finished watching the Edmonton Oilers win game four of their series with the San Jose Sharks by a 6-3 score on OLN. OLN has had problems in their regular season coverage, but their playoff coverage is somewhat improved. If OLN really wants to become the hockey network in the United States they need to cover all the major hockey stories and they missed an important one tonight.

The Edmonton game was broadcast from the CBC feed with intermissions with OLN talking heads Bill Clement, Brian Engblom and Keith Jones. During the third period, they broke to a scene from a bar on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton (my guess is Boston Pizza) where the fans were ecstatic. This was part of the CBC coverage. After the game was over they went to Clement et al and there was no further mention of one of the biggest stories of the playoffs. The celebration in Edmonton when the Oilers have playoff success is one significant playoff story.

Edmonton is a hockey mad city that is desperate for hockey success. They had not won a playoff series since 1998 and after seeing the Calgary Flames run to the finals in 2004 are more unified in support of their team then any other current NHL playoff team.

I grew up in Canada watching the United States on TV. I saw on TV huge celebrations when American teams won the World Series or the Super Bowl. I learned this is the way the world works. When your team wins you celebrate. Its a huge party. I have experienced it firsthand. I am in the Chicago area and I was in a sports bar when the Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 2005. It was a great party. One guy ordered shots for the entire bar. Everyone was screaming and high-fiving one another and dancing on table tops.

Americans need to see that there are people who would react this way in Canada. It is that way in Edmonton. Either OLN does not know this or they do not care. Edmonton is some remote northern outpost of limited significance to the United States. Who cares what happens when they win?

If OLN wants to be a great hockey network they have to cover the hockey stories. The celebration underway right now on Whyte Ave, in Old Strathcona, on Jasper Ave and in Edmonton in general is a huge story. I am dismayed at the way it is ignored on the OLN broadcasts. I hope that they learn to do this better in their days as Versus.

NOTE: This is the story OLN missed.

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