It seems the Pacific Northwest hasn’t been overwhelmed by NHL fever just yet.
This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll involved the NHL playoffs, which are in full swing. Seattle doesn’t have a team involved, but this is the first NHL playoff season since Seattle was awarded an expansion team that will begin play in 2021. I was curious whether local sports fans were paying attention to the NHL playoffs and boning up on the sport in advance of elite professional hockey coming to the region.
Therefore, this week’s poll question asked readers if they were paying attention to the NHL playoffs. Here’s what you said:
POLL: Given Seattle is set for an NHL expansion team in 2021, are you paying attention to the NHL playoffs? Full context here: https://t.co/EzUStn0AzY
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) May 6, 2019
Add it all up and while more people said they were watching the NHL playoffs religiously (44 percent) than any other option, more than half the voters are either watching casually (29 percent) or not at all (27 percent).
And I think the overall numbers may not be truly representative of how the local population really feels. There was a wide discrepancy in results between the Twitter part of the poll and the blog portion, with 74 percent of blog voters saying they can’t get enough NHL playoff action, while it was just 23 percent on Twitter.
My suspicion is that the Twitter poll is a better indicator of the overall feeling in the region. Voting in the blog poll requires clicking on a link first, whereas on Twitter someone can vote without taking an extra step. My guess is that someone who isn’t watching the NHL playoffs is going to feel less inclined to go through the extra step to vote, while someone who is gung-ho on the NHL playoffs is more likely to step through that extra hoop. Add in that I have plenty of hockey fans following me on Twitter, given my past as an Everett Silvertips beat writer, and I have little reason to believe the Twitter votes are skewed against hockey.
So it’s my belief, based on these poll results, that the NHL Seattle group still has some work to do to get the local sports fans on board and excited about the NHL coming to town. The good news is the group still has two years to work with.
As for those who aren’t watching the NHL playoffs at all, you really are missing out. The action I’ve seen this year has been fantastic, including five Game 7s through the first two rounds — three of which went to overtime. There is nothing like Game 7 overtime hockey, though as a reporter it plays havoc with deadlines as the game can go on indefinitely. I feel extremely fortunate to have witnessed the overtime game-winning goal live in all three of those Game 7s, which is something of a miracle considering I’ve only been able to catch a handful of playoff games this year.
So my suggestion is to check it out if you get a chance. Not only will watching the NHL playoffs help prime you for the arrival of the NHL in Seattle, it’s a lot of fun.