The Future of the Game

March 28, 2000

It is a marketer’s dream. A vignette of four young, talented, media savvy athletes in their prime:  Three great heroes of the game hand over the reins to the next generation of superstars. And it is tragically flawed.


This picture on the pond that we were treated to before the NHL All-Star game in February was meant to show the game was in good hands. But the hands of Paul Kariya, Eric Lindros, Jaromir Jagr, and Pavel Bure may not be around long enough to carry more than disability checks.


Hockey is sick. And these four young men show the symptoms of the disease. The bigger, faster, stronger athletes in hockey wear harder protective gear more suited as weapon than shield and skate on ice unable to hold up under the added weight in the multipurpose arena.


Whether small and shifty like Kariya and Bure, and therefore more vulnerable to injury from bad ice and bad-tempered opponents, or big and fast and unbelievably strong like Jagr and Lindros, and therefore inadequately protected by officials who illogically determine they are big enough to take care of themselves, hockey’s star players are an endangered species.