The NHL Trade Deadline is one of the best sports days of the year for off the field reasons. Hockey fans across America and Canada will be glued to their TV’s as the NHL Network simulcast’s TSN’s TradeCentre for fans to get up to the minute updates about any trades that are going down. Add in twitter and the day is an even bigger frenzy.
Maybe you can blame my bias for being a huge soccer fan but the NHL Trade Deadline doesn’t even hold a candle to the sheer awesome-ness that is soccer’s, or more specifically English soccer’s, Transfer Deadline Day.
It’s not necessarily hockey’s fault. It’s really about the difference in how players move between teams in each sport, and a little bit of Europe’s ridiculously lax journalistic standards.
For the NHL Trade Deadline, fans are watching a studio where NHL insiders are working their contacts trying get inside information from every team. But that’s it.
Meanwhile in Europe, you’re dealing with players who are signing new contracts with team simply for the exchange of money going back to their original team. The kicker is that each player has to pass a medical exam before they sign, so we get to see players arriving at teams’ headquarters before deals are anywhere close to being announced.
The soccer world takes the cake via Sky Sports making a grand spectacle of the entire thing, and frankly the unintentional comedy of the entire day can’t be beat. They put reporters outside each teams stadium, often times with fans who sometimes have had a bit too much to drink, standing behind them cheering. The reporters then chime in with reports that they get only by observing the teams’ stadium, such as “at about 6:15 PM the manager went home for the night, but we can still see some lights on in the offices so they could still be making a deal.” Exactly. Meanwhile back in the studio host Jim White, always dressed in his signature yellow tie, will answer his phone on the air if he’s getting a call from a source. Something that would never fly in America.
In order to fully immerse yourself in the ridiculousness of Transfer Deadline day you need to not only watch Sky Sports News, but follow along on the fantastic live transfer blog hosted by the BBC. The BBC blog has three categories, confirmed deals, rumors, and fan texts. This means that they’ll post texts from fans with ridiculous stories such as “my brother just saw (insert Spanish player’s name here) at Heathrow in London so it looks like the rumors of him going to Chelsea can be true after all!” (They never are). Factor this in with unconfirmed stories from reporters of helicopters landing at certain stadiums and you don’t know what to believe.
Of course, the aspect that really puts it over the top is the fans behind each reporter. The live reports mean you never know what you’re going to get, as we found out last September when one fan got in a perfect FHRITP, and s0me fans were able to get an interesting foreign object into the shot before the cameras were able to realize what was going on…
…anything can happen on live TV.
Unfortunately due to these events Sky Sports decided they would not be allowing fans behind the reporters for the January transfer window (which is usually more subdued as not as much is going on), so time will tell whether the move means that Deadline Day loses some of it’s luster. Maybe then the NHL Trade Deadline can overtake Transfer Deadline Day but for now, Deadline Day remains the best sports day for off the field reasons.
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