Posted 17 October 2010 - 02:45 PM
I've rewritten this post and gone back and forth on the issue about 50 times, and here's what I think it boils down to: I think, in the end, it's a good marketing move. The point of a hockey team is to assemble the most talented players you can in order to win as many games as you can. Ordinarily I would say signing players based on race might not necessarily work toward your goal of getting the most talented players, but at the moment, the Thrashers have a bigger problem: nobody cares about them. Even if they did have the most talented players in the league and they won the Stanley Cup this year, not that many people would give a hoot, and they'd still be relying on cash flow from teams like ours to make ends meet.
Things being as they are, though, they are not the most talented team in the league, and I think they would be wise to do something to try to increase their ticket sales any way they can so that THEN, once they have a little revenue flowing in, they can focus on bringing in more talent and going for the ultimate goal, which is to win. That way, they can have their cake and eat it, too; they'll have a good fanbase and a good team for them to cheer for.
That said, I have no idea how this is going to work. Someone please tell me what a guy like Byfuglien, who's from the middle of nowhere in northern Minnesota, has in common with someone who's lived in a Southern urban center like Atlanta all their life. This seems totally cheesy to me...it's like, "Hey, we have black players! See, you should like hockey, too!" You can't force people to like something. Oh well, I guess there's not much risk involved, really...especially considering the slim pickings this off-season. I say that if it gets a few people to give hockey a chance and end up loving it, then it'll be worth it. Be kinda funny if, somewhere down the line, the Ducks were predominantly Hispanic and a majority of the Canucks were Asian, though...
Nobody lives forever.
Some things never die.
Like up in the land of ice and snow,
They tell me that a Red Wing always flies.
RIP Ruslan Salei - Brad McCrimmon - Stefan Liv - Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
(Orig. lyrics - Ray Wylie Hubbard, "Airplane Fell Down in Dixie")