Is Ice Hockey Boring? (Plus the #1 Reason Why People Don’t Watch It)

The biggest criticism from non-hockey fans is that hockey is too boring.

It’s too low-scoring.

It’s too… confusing?

The question is, are people still not into hockey?

And… is hockey really a boring game?

Well, in this article, we’ll look at whether ice hockey is boring or not… Why people think of it as boring… and we’ll even look at some NHL personalities and why people think most of them are boring.

Let’s begin.

Here’s Whether Ice Hockey Is Boring or Not:

Is ice hockey boring? That’s subjective—however, most people would agree that ice hockey is actually one of the most entertaining sports on the planet. The reason being—it’s fast-paced (fastest team sport) and it’s physical (it’s the only major sport that allows fighting), making it a very exciting sport.

Is Hockey More Boring on TV Than In-Person?

As an ice hockey fan, do you find it to be boring on TV?

But, when you go to a live game, you find it very fun to watch?

As is the case with any sport—it’s always more exciting to watch it live.

Live games will always be more entertaining. 

The reason?

It’s the environment that adds a whole new element to the game.

When you’re watching hockey on TV, you can hear the crowd. But, when you’re sitting there amongst tens of thousands of fans—you can feel the crowd roar.

It’s true that watching hockey games on TV has its advantages—like always getting the best view of the play. 

But, nothing beats sitting elbow to elbow with a random stranger—only to become best friends that high-five each other when your team scores.

Is Hockey a Boring Sport to Watch?

There are two major types of hockey: ice hockey and field hockey.

While they have their similarities, the two sports are played very differently.

Here’s whether ice hockey and field hockey are boring sports or not:

Is Ice Hockey a Boring Sport to Watch?

Overall, ice hockey is a very exhilarating sport to watch. It’s the fastest team sport on earth.

Players typically skate at top speeds of 20-30 miles per hour (32-48 kilometers per hour).

This makes the game one of the fastest-paced sports in the world.

Plus, ice hockey is one of the most physical sports in the world. The hard hitting, body checks, and bodies flying due to high speeds make it very exciting to watch.

Plus, it’s the only major team sport that lets you fight your opponent. Pretty insane when you think about it.

One reason some people may find hockey boring is simply because it’s a bit harder to follow the puck when you’re new to the game.

Since the puck is so small, it can be hard to track when you’re new—making the game seem confusing. And if something is confusing, it’s harder to be invested in it.

Is Field Hockey a Boring Sport to Watch?

How about field hockey? Is it a boring sport to watch?

Well, if you take into account the most popular sports on the planet, it’s hard to say that field hockey is boring.

Considering a combined 2 billion people watch hockey, it’s hard to say the sport is boring.

Ice hockey and field hockey combined is the third most popular sport in the world—only behind soccer and cricket.

However, if you’re comparing field hockey to ice hockey—it’s a lot slower paced.

Plus it’s much less physical.

Comparing apples to apples, field hockey is a bit more boring to watch overall than ice hockey due to the nature of the game.

However, it’s still one of the most popular sports in the world—so for most people, it’s not boring at all.

Why Is Hockey Not Popular?

Why is hockey the least watched sport of the “Big 4”?

Out of basketball, football, baseball, and hockey… hockey is the least watched American sport.

One of the biggest complaints about hockey is that it’s boring.

But—considering it’s extremely action-packed, super fast-paced, and physical… It’s fair to question why it’s considered “boring”.

The main reason is likely because it’s harder to follow for new fans. 

When you look at the other major sports: basketball and football have a much larger ball (yes, I know hockey uses a puck, not a ball—but stay with me). The balls used in basketball and football are bigger and therefore much easier to track with.

But, what about baseball? It’s about the same size as a hockey puck.

It’s true—but, one reason baseball is easier to track than hockey (despite having a similar-sized ball) is because baseball is a slower game overall.

In baseball, there isn’t continuous play for minutes on end where the ball is being flown around. There are way more stoppages in play. It’s much more predictable where the ball is going to be at any given time. 

But, with hockey, the play continues on with less stoppages. Plus, it’s more unpredictable where a puck will be at any given second. 

While these factors make ice hockey harder to follow as a new fan of the game, they also are part of the reason why it’s more exciting to watch overall. 

Most new fans write off hockey as boring since it takes a bit more time to learn how to follow the game. But, once you can follow the game—it’s hard not to fall in love with it.

Another thing that adds to the confusion is how the standings are organized in the NHL. The National Hockey League uses a Wild Card system to create a certain level of even representation from divisions while still ensuring the best teams play. You can read about it in this article I wrote on NHL Wild Cards here.

Why Do People Think Hockey Is Boring?

People typically think hockey is boring because it’s hard to follow.

The hockey puck is a 3 inch black disk that flies by at 90+ miles per hour.

For new fans of the game, it’s much harder to follow hockey than, say, basketball or soccer.

However, once players can follow the puck, they can follow the game. And, when you can follow the game, it’s hard to see it as anything but exciting due to its high-intensity.

For tips on how to follow the puck in hockey, check out this article I wrote. I highly encourage you to read it if you’re wanting to learn more about how hockey works.

Why Is Hockey Boring Now?

Hockey has changed over the years.

It’s an ever-evolving game with rule changes and updates every year or so.

This means hockey that was played 40 years ago isn’t the same game as today.

One of the reasons hockey may be seen as more boring nowadays is due to lower scoring than in the 80s. 

In the 1980s, scoring was much higher. Teams scored an average of 306.6 goals per season (of 80 games). This worked out to 3.83 goals-per-game.

Nowadays, scoring is much lower. Since the 2010-11 season to now, the average team scores 233 goals per season—or 2.85 goals-per-game. This is essentially 1 goal less per game (per team). 

Another reason hockey may be more boring now is due to the flow of the game and certain rule changes such as the red line rule.

Before 2005, two-line passes weren’t allowed. This meant a player couldn’t pass the puck from inside his blue line to a teammate on the other side of the red line.

This rule was removed after using it from 1943 to 2004 with the intention to increase the number of goals scored each game. However, goal-scoring hasn’t increased since 2005.

NHL players are recommending to reverse the rule.

Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers suggested:

“…put the red line back in. Just because teams are now – they just trap. They just sit back.

Put the red line back in and everyone has to come back and regroup and build speed and come through the neutral zone… Nowadays teams just throw up the 1-3-1 or the 4 and you just have to chip in every time and it gets kind of boring to watch.”

Why Are Hockey Players Boring?

Another facet of the “hockey is boring” crowd are the players. NHL players are known for being “boring” in interviews.

There aren’t many exciting or flamboyant hockey players. 

Not too many NHL players are showy on the ice. And off the ice—during interviews or on social media—even less show any personality at all.

A few exceptions to the rule are Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, P.K. Subban of the New Jersey Devils, and in recent times—Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks.

But, these players are few and far between. And relative to other major sports—they aren’t nearly on the same level.

NHL players are known for their boring, robotic interviews. They often show little to no emotion. And, they like to repeat the same cliche phrases as seen in the clip below.

Even NHL players know they’re boring in interviews. 

They know it. And they joke about it.

For more Hockey Answers from Hockey Question, check out our other popular blog posts: How Does Hockey Billeting Work, What Hockey Numbers Are Retired in the NHL, and Why Is Ice Hockey More Popular than Field Hockey.


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