Bikini Hockey League: Good for the sport?

Women playing hockey in bikinis. Let me repeat that. Women playing hockey in bikinis!

There is an initiative underway to form a made-for-TV “league” made up of two scantily clad teams of women playing roller hockey in slim beach wear. According to reports, the girls will live in a mansion in Tulsa, OK during the tryout period. Sounds like a reality TV winner to me.

The base purpose here is to give people 30 minutes of mindless television by roping together some cute girls, small bikinis and rollerblades. There isn’t much to read into here and the merits of the idea are certainly debatable. However, the fact that hockey will be at the focal point of such an idea (and show) is not a bad thing. Don’t try to convince me of any other train of thought.

If you really think about it, this isn’t all that different from seeing the likes of Kobe, David Beckham, Kate Upton and other celebrities at games in New York and Los Angeles. Not only are celebs heading out to support these teams on their playoff run, their presence is helping to prove that hockey is indeed cool. Obviously fans of the sport are well aware of this fact, but it is the casual fan who will be drawn to the sport by hotties like Upton and Carrie Underwood watching game. Bottom line; this creates interest around the game and gets people talking.

With every playoff game available on (somewhat) basic cable and celebs flocking to Staples Center and MSG, a bikini hockey league should succed in creating some form of conversation about the sport. Don’t mistake this as an effective way to grow the game. It is simply an idea that will serve as effective water cooler fodder. So long as the conversations are geared towards the positive, the BHL will have been a success. However, if there is nothing but negativity surrounding the show, it will be a drawback for the sport.

With the obvious differences of men vs. women, full uniforms vs. bikinis and ice vs. roller; there isn’t much of a direct comparison between the BHL and the NHL. However, creating good conversation about the sport is what is necessary to gain more respect. There is no way to replicate the interest growing in LA, Phoenix and Nashville due to the 2012 Playoffs, but drawing attention to the sport for a reason besides fighting is something every hockey fan is hoping for.

By no means do I expect the BHL to convince ESPN to actually do their job and cover the sport. Nor do I think that this venture will vault the NHL to the stratosphere of the NFL. However, with the NBA appearing to plateau in recent years, hockey could continue to snatch attention from those looking for a different outlet for sports entertainment.

There is certainly a chance that this show is a huge tire fire and makes hockey look worse than any damage the Most Valuable Primate ever could. But I’ll tune in a few times just to see what it is all about, even if it ends up as a glorified MTV Road Rules/Real World Challenge.

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