Last night marked the series finale of HBO’s hockey version of “Hard Knocks,” and though the series did plenty of creative things visually and audibly, its true genius was much simpler; “24/7” exposed us to the outrageously entertaining players and personalities that comprise the NHL.
In retrospect, it’s a little shocking that the folks that run the National Hockey League didn’t realise that a show like “24/7” was the perfect way to market a league that’s chalk full of personalities and juice earlier. As entertaining as Rex Ryan was on “Hard Knocks,” the other characters on that show can’t match the stars of “24/7” in terms of entertaining characters.
“Hard Knocks” showed us plenty of cursing and motivational speeches, and provided a look at how players handle the roller coaster emotional ride of training camp. But “24/7” had so much more colour: Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau cracking open a tall-boy Bud Light after the team’s Winter Classic victory; Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin screaming obscenities at referees, and the referees being very blunt right back about what they saw; and of course, the Capitals drawing with eye black all over their faces and Pascal Dupuis sporting a Pittsburgh Steelers’ helmet he found during practice. And that was all last night.
What should separate the NHL from other leagues is that it is a truly unique sport, and its participants are tremendously interesting characters. This is something that all passionate fans are well aware of, but for whatever reason the the rest of the sports world hasn’t been captivated yet. “24/7” won’t be able to make the NHL mainstream by itself, but it’s certainly a gigantic stepping stone.
“24/7” was all access, just as it was billed, and the memorable scenes it produced are impossible to count. HBO deserves high marks for producing such an extraordinary show, and the NHL deserves a pat on the back for finally doing something significant to get its name out there.
Hopefully the league continues its momentum with more strong marketing, but a good first step would be to sign a deal for 15 more episodes of “24/7” next season.
Here’s what other people had to say about the final episode of “24/7”:
- “24/7 was outstanding. Here’s hoping HBO along with the NHL + NHLPA make this an annual program.” – Jeff Marek
- “Brilliant series with Pens and Caps. Bravo HBO.” – Dan Rosen
- “We close out #HBO247 w/ Muse’s Exogenesis: Symphony Part III, and bookend it with an echo to 1st shot of series: washing machine. Nice.” – Greg Wyshynski
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