UK Sport has been conducting a survey over the last 8 months of which sport people want to see the UK achieving success in over the summer. Surprisingly top the list was athletics. For the first time since 2002 the runners beat the footballers.
It is not that surprising however. With a home Olympics the more traditional Olympic events like athletics and swimming will have expected to receive a boost in popularity. With this being an Olympic year and the games being held in London the athletes are depicted everywhere. Whether it is to sell credit cards or logistic services or by appearing in news programs or succeeding in test events there is little doubt in most peoples minds who Jessica Ennis, Chris Hoy, Mo Farah and the like are.
But if this surge in popularity is not a surprise then why hasn’t other sporting organisations caught on. The findings by UK Sport go to show what hosting a major event can do for that sports popularity and Ice Hockey UK should be taking notice.
IHUK last month were forced to decline hosting the pre-Olympic Qualification tournament and thus missed out on the chance to show case British ice hockey through a big event. That came on the back of 12 months earlier missing out on hosting the Division 1 World Championships, which they had offered to host. In 2013 as well the Division 1 World Championships will be held in Hungry and so there is another opportunity gone.
This all may not be a bad thing if IHUK bids for the 2014 tournament. Not only would IHUK have a big sporting occasion to promote British ice hockey around but also that promotion would receive a major boost from the 2014 Winter Olympics, as the Sochi games will be televised in the UK. That television coverage would of course include ice hockey and the gold medal game is often shown in prime time.
Whilst Ice Hockey will not hit the top spot in a poll like that of UK Sport’s but that poll goes to show the power that a major sporting event has. So now is the time IHUK to take note and plan its bid for the 2014 Division 1 World Championship tournament or miss out on yet another golden opportunity to advance ice hockey in the UK.