Hockey in Europe and growth

Discussion in 'Hockey Talk by Country' started by S E P H, Jul 7, 2011.

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  1. S E P H

    S E P H @SEPH_WHL

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    I would like to know which countries hockey is number 1 in and the growth of the sport!

    Austria
    1. Football
    2. Hockey?
    Growth: Average.

    Belarus
    1A. Football
    1B. Hockey
    Growth: Up?

    Croatia
    1. Football
    2. Handball
    3. Basketball
    4. Waterpolo
    5. Hockey
    Growth: Up.

    Czech Republic
    1A. Football
    1B. Hockey
    Growth: Up

    Denmark
    1. Football
    2. Handball
    3. Hockey
    Growth: Up.

    Estonia

    Finland
    1. Hockey
    2. Football
    Growth: Up.

    France
    1. Football
    2. Rugby
    3. Basketball
    4. Hockey
    Growth: Average

    Germany
    1. Football
    2. Handball
    3. Hockey
    4. Basketball
    Growth: Up.

    Hungry

    Latvia
    1. Hockey
    2. Football
    Growth: Up.

    Lithuania
    1A. Football
    1B. Basketball
    2. Hockey
    Growth: Down?

    Netherlands

    Norway
    1. Football
    2A. Hockey
    2B. Handball
    Growth: Up?

    Poland
    1. Football
    2. Handball
    3. Volleyball
    4. Hockey
    Growth: Average?

    Romania

    Russia
    1A. Football
    1B. Hockey
    Growth: High

    Slovakia
    1. Football
    2. Hockey
    Growth: Down?

    Slovenia
    1. Football
    2. Basketball
    3A. Hockey
    3B. Handball
    Growth: Up.

    Sweden
    1A. Football
    1B. Hockey
    2. Handball
    Growth: High.

    Switzerland
    1. Football
    2. Hockey
    Growth: High.

    Ukraine
    1. Football
    2. Hockey
    Growth: Down.



    High
    Up
    Average
    Down

    I will update this frequently.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  2. heksagon

    heksagon Registered User

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    Hockey is easily the Biggest sport in Finland. There is more Crowd watching Mestis (the second highest hockey league in Finland) games than Veikkausliiga (the highest Football league) games. And the fact that Finland just won Gold in the World Championships just makes the gap even wider.

    Hockey > Football in Finland.
     
  3. cheerupmurray

    cheerupmurray Registered User

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    You clearly overestimate how popular hockey is in Europe.

    I can't for a minute think that hockey is a noticable sport in England and Spain. There must be a million times more interest in Rugby compared to hockey in U.K. Spain have great handball teams, theres plenty of rugby players and zero interest in hockey. In France hockey is a bit popular in the alp regions but there are plenty of other more popular teamsports. In Denmark theres 146000 licensed handball players compared to 4058 hockey players, allthough hockey is on the rise there it's still a marginal sport.

    I think I remember reading that the number of juniors playing hocke is in decline in Czech republic.

    On the plusside Hockey is the number one sport in Latvia right?
     
  4. Bakayoko Ono

    Bakayoko Ono Registered User

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    Hockey is by far the biggest professional and spectator sport in Finland, but soccer is the biggest participant sport with 115 000 registered players(hockey has 67 463 registered players). Hockey is an expensive sport in Finland and for many families other team sports like soccer or floorball are more affordable options.
     
  5. Purple hippo

    Purple hippo Registered User

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    Hockey is number one in Latvia and for Belarus hockey if its not currently tied with football is a close second. Lithuania and Estonia, hockey isnt really popular but they have an average growth. Ukraine is going backwards and have been for the past few years then, they need something to change.

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding you but your comment "going to start producing quality talent" really annoys me. Both Latvia and Belarus have produced NHL talent and currently do have players playing in the NHL. As well both countries produce good KHL players, are always in the Elite Division and qualify for the Olympics. What exactly do you consider "quality players?"
     
  6. Latex*

    Latex* Guest

    On the other hand Football has double the amount of registered players compared to hockey her in Finland (120 000 and 60 000) at the moment and it's still not even close in terms of popularity.
     
  7. J17 Vs Proclamation

    J17 Vs Proclamation Registered User

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    Comparing participation numbers is not that useful, because Hockey will always be lower due to its cost, inaccessibility and it's extreme nature.

    I can say with absolute confidence that hockey has basically no foundation in England. It's incredibly marginal. I know nobody else who follows ice hockey. I've seen maybe 20-30 Jerseys here in my life. It gets no coverage (Domestic league or NHL). There is no infrastucture for young people to actually ever get involved with hockey let alone develop something. It's not popular at all now, has huge competition for sports and there is no conceivable way to see much growth as of now.

    I'd suggest that within the next 20-30 years you are not going to see an English born and trained (Some who doesn't leave England at 6 or 7) get anywhere near the NHL. It would a Kopitar like situation, but even more extreme, for it to happen. I doubt in any HF posters lifetime will we see any noteworthy development in British ice hockey (Although judging by many of the posts we see at HF, that lifetime is long ;))

    I'd imagine it's the same in Spain.

    For other nations the challenges are slightly different. Czech Republic and Slovakia has alot of hockey interest, but getting the kids to play and then developing is the problem. We'll see if it can be reversed, though i suspect Slovakia won't see the success they once briefly had.

    Sweden and Finland seem solid. Football to me is a bigger sport, but their doemstic leagues are more popular than football because it's impossible for them to have strong domestic football leagues. Both systems have their current issues and future problems but are generally very healthy.

    Russia is in a state of flux, but has high powered people investing in the game. I suspect we will see potentially a rise in numbers and rinks and i think generally the prognosis seems to be a good one. But there are definite perils.

    Denmark and Norway both have hockey as marginal sports. Financial issues exist for their leagues and it's possible that you could a stagnation rather than more development. Potential is definitely there for sure, but it's going to take many years (20+) and a well developed infrastructure with good people to make them better hockey nations. People forget that Ukraine/Kazakhstan (even Poland) had solid programmes ten years ago and now are in terminal decline. With smaller nations it can only take a few bad decisions and mismanaged years for it to go badly wrong.

    I imagine its very marginal in Austria and France. Very regionalized. Many many years away from significance.

    Would like to see what German posters have to say. German hockey seems to be stuck in nothing zone. No really increase in participation or development of young players and the league seems financially challenged in some areas.
     
  8. GermanNuck

    GermanNuck Registered User

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    ..and here comes the german poster ;)

    i think hockey is maybe number two or three in germany, it depends on the region... in northern germany handball is easily more popular but coming to the southern regions and the west, i think hockey is number two... and yes there has been some financial trouble but i think they fixed it by now.

    last season 2100000 people went to the DEL games, and 1440000 went to the handball elite league...

    the problem is that we don't have that many rinks in the northern, and western part (don't know about the east tbh) so most of our prospects are from the south, as to mention kühnhackl and rieder, so most people rather send their kids to the football (soccer) training, or handball, or tennis or whatever, simply because it's way cheaper and the structures are given... I mean i have to drive almost an hour few times a week to hit the ice, so that's really a problem...

    another thing to mention is the media coverage, if you're not paying for sky, you hardly ever hear something about the del, and international tournaments are covered by a b-level channel, but i think that the recent success of our national team might push hockey again... and in a country like germany there should easily be a market for two sports or even three.. not only for football ;)
     
  9. peachy89

    peachy89 Registered User

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    a stupid question, but you mean sport in general, right?
    i'm just asking because racing is the only named form of sport which is not a teamsport ... so what's with tennis & co?

    for switzerland and austria, alpine skiing can be easy number 2
    i'm sure even ski-jumping is more popular than hockey in austria
     
  10. Pajicz

    Pajicz Registered User

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    In Norway, I'd put skiing over both football and hockey.

    Racing is only popular in Spain because of Fernando Alonso, so I'd put basketball easily over it.

    In Finland, you cannot even compare hockey and football. SM-Liiga is just way more popular than Veikkausliiga (highest level of Finnish football).
     
  11. AlanHUK

    AlanHUK 5-14-6-1

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    for the UK

    1. Football(soccer)
    2. International Cricket
    3. International Rugby
    4. Domestic Rugby
    5. Domestic Cricket
    6. Ice Hockey

    Growth, slow, though Nottingham Panthers have been getting bigger attendences than all the other teams in Nottingham besides Forest in the past few seasons.

    The UK need to add Manchester and London to the main league, to create more national interest and I'd also consider Rebranding Braehead as Glasgow due to how close they are geographicaly.

    In terms of TV audience hockey is obviously going to be low, it's only just been put back on live TV again by Sky, and hopefully they will show more games this season.

    But most teams if you believe the leagues figures have seen attendence increase, the league overall this season saw a 200 person per game drop off, but that has a lot to do with 2 new teams entering the league and not having an established fanbase.

    I'd advise taking a trip up to Nottingham for the playoffs, the city is just full of hockey jerseys from all kind of leagues.

    Nottingham's ice center have been pushing their learn to skate program with youth hockey now for the last couple of seasons as well, I can't speak for other cities but it is getting there.
     
  12. Muuri

    Muuri Registered User

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    Football is Sweden's most popular sport no doubt while hockey is number one in Finland.
     
  13. J17 Vs Proclamation

    J17 Vs Proclamation Registered User

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    Overestimating the relative level of hockey interest with this list. Of course it depends on the parameters you are setting here (Attendance, TV figures, general media itnerest, recreational numbers etc). I'd suggest basketball is much more popular than ice hockey (Though not in white communities i must add) whilst even leagues like the NFL are bigger here than the NHL. Ice hockey is a long long way behind a sport like Rugby league for instance. It's nowhere relative to mild mainstream sports.

    I really can't speak about Nottingham. I've never been there and don't follow whatever the domestic league is now branded. Im sure there is some growth within Nottingham, but i imagine its minute incomparison to other sports.

    I'd be intrigued to see the number of registered players in the UK. I imagine it's incredibly small. I've only ever met one person who has actually played the sport (Weirdly enough, he went to Nottingham university). Due to high expenses of the sport, the ridiculous competition of other sports, the entrenched views about ice hockey (Negative) and entrenched love of football, lack of real hockey tradition, no ice rinks and no large funding, i really don't see British ice hockey going anywhere. As you said, it is definitely hurt by being very very regionalised too. It may be "relatively" popular in Nottingham, but for every small area of "high" density number of fans, you have large urban areas with no culture for the sport.
     
  14. Uncle Rotter

    Uncle Rotter Registered User

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  15. Ivan13

    Ivan13 Super Joe!

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    I for one can tell you that hockey in Croatia recived a huge boom in the past couple of years, but our main problem is player pool wich is pretty slim, but more and more kids are starting to play hockey in Zagreb. Last year every game of MedveÅ¡čak was sold out, and they've managed to fill Arena Zagreb (more than 15000 in attendance capacity) for 4 games, there have also been some talks about them possibly joining KHL a couple of years down the road, MedveÅ¡čak had singlehandedly raise the attendance numbers for austrian EBEL by quite a bit. You also forgot Slovenia, wich is a country where hockey is fairly popular sport.

    Team sports in Croatia:
    1. Football - some sort of a religion, and it has no real competition, despite the fact that our biggest success was 3rd place in the world, while we were world champions in all sports mentioned below except hockey
    2. Handball - one of the most succesfull nations in sports history alongside France, Sweden and Russia (SSSR), home of the two time Champions league winner Badel Zagreb, and home of Ivano Balić the best handball player of all-time
    3. Basketball - it's been on the downward trajectory, but it's trending upwards recently
    4. Waterpolo - one of the four best national teams in the world alongside Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary, and home of the best team in sports history in Mladost Zagreb (waterpolo's equivalent of Montreal Canadiens)
    5. Hockey - trending upwards, but I doubt it will ever crack the top 4 since all of sports mentioned above are considered national sports

    Slovenia:
    1. Football
    2. Basketball
    3. Handball/Hockey (hockey is trending upwards, especially with the emergance of Kopitar, and they have a strong hockey center in Jesenice)
     
  16. Dosing

    Dosing Registered User

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    Id put both fotball and handball above hockey in sweden atm, it could pass handball depending on if some big market teams get back into elitserien tho.
     
  17. Ivan13

    Ivan13 Super Joe!

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    Handball is also bigger I believe in Denmark, Norway, Germany. And I'm sure it's by far bigger than hockey in both Spain, and France.
     
  18. cheerupmurray

    cheerupmurray Registered User

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    Meh, handball is perhaps bigger in Lund and some parts of Skåne, but hockey is a much bigger sport, at least if you look at general interest among the man on the street, in media and if you look at average attendence on games. In north of Sweden hockey is nr.1 too bad almost noone lives there :P
     
  19. Dosing

    Dosing Registered User

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    Some parts? :help: 85% of our population lives down south FYI, i know stockholm got a renewed interest cuz of dif and aik, but i think your overestimating anything beyond the national team when it comes to hockey.
     
  20. cheerupmurray

    cheerupmurray Registered User

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    Once upon a time handball could be seen as a legit contender as number 2 sport in sweden, but the results for the NT have been to lousy as of late, especialy since we where all spoiled from the fantastic period when Sweden played for a medal in every championship. More people play handball than hockey in Sweden since hockey is expensive, but Tre kronor is a very popular NT.

    Also compare the media attention between the handball league and the hockey league. The national media writes pages and pages about SEL and very litte about elitserien i handboll. They even write more about allsvenskan (SEL-2) than the handball league. So the interest in hockey is not restricted to the NT at all. Handball is huge in some cities I give you that, but it's definitely behind hockey nation wide.

    Plus the attendence figures for the handball league is about 1000 spectators per game, perhaps a bit more. SEL has 5000+ per game or something like that (making the figures up, but they are about right).
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  21. Mathers

    Mathers Registered User

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    A good way of gauging interest is to check online versions of national newspapers. However, I'm fairly familiar with levels of interests for respective sports in European countries, so I thought I could shed some light. I'm only going to refer to team sports though, so I will leave out tennis, motor racing, cycling, and the like.

    Football is number 1, followed by basketball. Then, somewhere in the distance is handball. The rest are generally irrelevant. Hockey isn't even the mix here.

    Football is number 1, with rugby union in second place. Then there is a second group of basketball and handball. Again, hockey isn't even in the mix here.

    1A and 1B is a good way of describing it. I think these sports are equally popular.

    Football is number 1, followed by international cricket. Then you have rugby union and rugby league. Those are the four team sports that have coverage and fan interest at a level where you can conclude that its popular. Hockey isn't in the mix here.

    Another good use of 1A and 1B. Fortunately or unfortunately, while hockey should continue to grow, I think we'll see even bigger growth from football to a point where it could become outright number 1 in 15-25 years.

    I would swap those around. Football as 1A in Sweden, hockey as 1 in Finland.

    Lithuania is basketball, then football. Latvia is hockey and football. Ukraine is football, but not sure what comes second here.

    All in all, hockey is popular in Europe, but there are many popular sports in Europe. Whether its basketball, handball, tennis, cycling, Formula 1, football, rugby, cricket, or whatever, each has their own pockets of fervent support.
     
  22. Maverick41

    Maverick41 Registered User Sponsor

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    Basketball could become a serious contender for Hockey and Handball though. The success of Dirk Nowitzki and the efforts of Football powerhouse Bayern Munich could generate quite some interest in Germany. Other than that you're spot on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  23. S E P H

    S E P H @SEPH_WHL

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    I updated the op.

    I removed Spain and England.
     
  24. Ivan13

    Ivan13 Super Joe!

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    Handball is bigger than hockey in Norway, Denmark, and France (basketball is bigger also in France), and it's probably on the same level in Sweden.
     
  25. Muuri

    Muuri Registered User

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    Meh, I'd still say that football is the number one in Sweden and quite bit more popular than hockey.
     

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