An article was written yesterday on Bloomberg Businessweek’s website titled “The NHL’s identity crisis,” that discussed their yearly “Power 100″ list which uses the following criteria for determining an athlete’s “power”:

In addition to 2011 on-field metrics, total earnings, and social media presence, the ranking incorporates such off-field metrics as  athletes’ name and face awareness, appeal, influence, and  trustworthiness using Nielsen/E-Poll N-Score data from Encino,  Calif.-based research company E-Poll Market Research.  The ranking comprises only professional athletes playing in the United  States.


On that list, hockey had only three names, which is apparently why we have an “identity” crisis. The other sports have many more identifiable guys, you see.

The good news: we’re just fine with that. Also, we’re used to it.

The three names on the list kill me – Jonathan Toews (69th), Daniel Sedin (76th), and Tim Thomas (86th).

First off, how is it feasibly possibly to have one Sedin on the list? They are The Sedins, inseparable, and if my memory serves me, identical twins with consistently identical stats. And to pick the one that hasn’t won the Hart Trophy as League MVP…I’m confused.

Next: no offense here, but Jonathan Toews is just about the least interesting players in the League (though one of the more awesome dudes on-ice, so it’s cool he got a mention).

And Thomas…yeah. He should be on there.

But this is the thing about the NHL’s “identity crisis” that people outside of the hockey community often don’t seem to get - our identity is that “nobody is bigger than the game.” We’re a “we,” all of us. Personally, I take some pride in the fact that we succeed without names on that list.

The article does go on to note:

The league generated a record $2.9 billion in revenue last season, a 7.4 percent increase from 2010, and expects to set records for both sales and attendance this season. The jump is attributed to new sponsorship deals—including 25 companies represented at the Jan. 25 All-Star Game—and growth within the league’s merchandising and licensing divisions. “More national business partners than ever are activating NHL-themed ads,” league spokesman Frank Brown wrote in an e-mail.

As much as the NHL used to love having Crosby and Ovechkin to push (neither of whom made the list), we really don’t need them to be successful. And that’s not to say we don’t want them at their best, it’s just…the game is as good as it’s ever been. We don’t rely on stars the way other sports do.

We don’t need a team to be the Lakers, Yankees or Cowboys either.

We just need hockey. That’s our identity.