Hockey in the United States

For Americans, the Fourth of July is not just a day of independence, but also a day to honor the brave veterans who have served and continue to serve, ensuring our freedom and safety. As American hockey fans, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have dedicated their lives to this noble cause.  
2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic - Vegas Golden Knights v Seattle Kraken
2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic - Vegas Golden Knights v Seattle Kraken / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

While most Americans will be enjoying the traditional Fourth of July activities, today is also a perfect day to reflect on the remarkable growth and promising future of hockey in the United States.

Is hockey correlated with patriotism? Of course, it is. Does anyone recall the 1980 Miracle on Ice? Even today, whenever an American wears that iconic USA hockey jersey, it gives us goosebumps.

Hockey is the beloved sport of Canada, and rightfully so. It has also become the most popular sport in many parts of the world, such as Sweden, Finland, and Russia.

NHL hockey has consistently been among the top four major professional sports in the United States, typically falling after the NFL, MLB, and NBA.

Of the four major professional sports, only the NFL and NHL have 32 teams, while the MLB and NBA currently have 30 teams.

By adding the Seattle Kraken, the NHL proves that hockey is not just surging but thriving in the United States.

While there have been unsuccessful attempts to establish teams in cities such as Atlanta and Phoenix, due to a lack of local interest, other newer teams, such as the Vegas Golden Knights, prove that NHL hockey is here to stay in the United States.

What can we expect for the future of hockey in the United States?

Cities, many of whom were home to the original 6 or expanded 12, such as Detroit, St. Louis, Pittsburg, Boston, and many others, prove hockey is not only popular but beloved by their respective fanbases.

Today, 7 of the 32 NHL teams are in Canada. The Seattle Kraken joined the league and beat Quebec City for an NHL team.

Hockey is flourishing in the United States, and victorious teams contribute to the sport’s popularity.

This is clear from the success of the Florida Panthers, which have gained a nearly 20% increase in fan attendance.

From LA area teams, the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, to one of the most loyal fan bases in Raleigh, North Carolina, with the Carolina Hurricanes, hockey in the United States is here to stay.

The Stanley Cup Finals this season broke records as the most-watched NHL event in finals history.

In cities like Nashville, Tennessee, known for country music, fans witness celebrities like Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman passionately supporting their teams.

The NHL viewership is up, and so is attendance.

Americans are making their mark in the NHL

USA Hockey continuously attempts to recruit young skaters for their developmental league. At the same time, the USHL is proving they can produce good, skilled players, having some argue the USHL is competing with the OHL for a destination for young prospects both now and in the future.

The NHL itself is encouraging youth hockey and seeing promising results.

Even though Arizona lost the Coyotes, Auston Matthews from the Toronto Maple Leafs grew up playing in youth leagues in his Phoenix hometown, and is a proud prospect developed from NHL youth hockey leagues.

Known as perhaps the best defenseman in the sport today, Quinn Hughes is an American-born skater with a bright future. Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck continues to impress the league. They both play for the U.S. National team.

Then there’s Matthew Tkachuk and his brother Brady, carrying on their dad’s (Keith’s) legacy and proving that American hockey players can hold their own in the league.

Americans love their Canadian neighbors, and rightfully so, the historical relationship has been positive for hundreds of years. American hockey fans also owe proper acclamations to the Canadians for the great sport of hockey.

American hockey fans also want to share the sport and continue to see young players from the United States enter the NHL ice. It’s the American spirit to be competitive and seek greatness, especially in professional sports.

Hockey is thriving, and Americans should expect more great times from collegiate teams, the USHL, USA hockey, and the NHL youth leagues. These leagues are continuously producing talented players and contributing to the growth and success of hockey in the United States, promising more exciting moments for fans.