Although he may have merely been trying to drum up some headlines to get more eyeballs on his show during the current sports drought, host of First Take on ESPN Max Kellerman riled up several members of the hockey community this week when he belittled the sport during his show. Kellerman was responding to Steven A. Smith, the other half of ESPn's First Take, when he suggested hockey did not belong in the conversation as a major sport in the United States of America.
"Listen I don't wanna hurt anyone's feelings but in the United States of America no one really cares about hockey. You know the old joke is every town has 20,000 hockey fans and they all have season tickets. So the arenas are always sold out but the T.V. don't do anything. So it's not one of the 4 major team sports."
As you would expect that statement from Kellerman has elicited a number of responses from those within the hockey community, many of which have honestly been quite amusing. Among the best of those responses was this gem from former New York Islanders general manager Mike Milbury.
"Hockey is alive and well Max Kellerman. The MLB only has a steady viewership because men over the age of 70 use it as a sleep remedy. I prefer vodka. People love this sport around the world, something neither the NFL nor the MLB can say. Just ask Charles Barkley about our playoff."
Milbury was far from being the only one to speak out on the comments from Kellerman however, Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux also added his own two cents, taking a direct jab at Kellerman himself.
I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but settle down Max," wrote Giroux.
New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo also chose to go the personal route with Kellerman, suggesting that the ESPN host was accustomed to making clownlike statements. I should add that it comes as very little surprise that the players themselves would be the ones to take most offense to this.
"Typical clown statement from Kellerman saying no one in the US cares about hockey. Not a “major sport”," wrote DeAngelo. "tell it to the millions of fans and sold out arenas all across the league! You’ll hear more about this on the podcast!"
I will say though that it seems likely Kellerman got the reaction he was looking for.