I don't think he decline of hockey has anything to do with the athletes. We have guys who come from different backgrounds. Some of them lives on farms most their lives, others are from really poor families in Europe. I'm sure if you ask any of the Russian players, most of them will tell you that they didn't even have a car growing up, they can really easily be related to. Hockey players are nice and accomodating. I've seen Teemu Selanne sign authographs for kids for 20 minutes in a freekishly cold Toronto day. And the good thing is that they don't make the headlines for bad behavior as often as other athletes. The bottom line with hockey in my opinion (and sorry if I'm repeating if any of you has said that), is that the product has changed because of the expansion. Instead of solving the problems with existing NHL teams, they went ahead and created more problems. They moved the North Stars from Minnesota to Dallas to put a new team in place. Atlanta, Colorado, same thing. The attendence in Anaheim, Carolina, NJ isn't great...instead of helping that they decided that it would be nice to have other problems with Atlanta. They put a team in Ohio for Christ sake. The players make way too much money and they keep whining about it. And when they go on strike in 2004, I'll sure miss the sport and it'll probably be a nusance to the sport, but I'm sure as hell won't be sorry for the players or for the owners. One hockey game is no longer affordable to a regular family of 4 people. Some people can't leave the rink without having burned a hole in their pocket As for the sport been Canadian...I don't think it's the case anymore. Hockey has become a mix of everything, and we've seen it during the Olympics last year. The Europeans brought their game with them and so did the Canadians and the Americans. And the kids don't play because of their psycho parents who just are on their backs constently, because of their coaches. Hockey is supposed to be fun, but nowadays parents put extra pressure on their kids to be good because of all the money that can be at stake. Coaches teach the kids defensive play, instead of letting them go with the puck. You can't expect a 10-12 year old to have fun with this. Parents yell at their child who is on the ice...it has become a joke. It's no longer about the kid going to the frozen lake and playing 'til he drops. It's just not that simple anymore. In Canada, more kids play soccer than hockey. It's just today's reality.