This might be obvious to some, maybe new to others
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
Some fans like a lot of scoring, some fans like the anticipation before someone scores.
It was January 13, 2021—the date of the Vancouver Canucks first regular season game in the 2021 season—and I was stoked. I’d just wrapped up an NHL fantasy league draft with my friends a couple of days before and was reminiscing over how good the Canucks played last season. Surely, this season would be the start of something special.
I turned on Sportsnet Pacific just before the puck dropped and watched the pregame ceremonies. I was getting excited, and I’d been so hyped to finally see NHL hockey back. The only problem was, I immediately turned over the channel to a basketball game five minutes after the puck dropped.
For some reason, all the excitement and anticipation suddenly evaporated, and I was quickly bored. Switching the channel relatively fast after being that excited made me ponder. Why did I switch channel that quick?
The first thing that came to mind was that basketball has more scoring. Last year, NBA teams averaged around 41 field goals per game. Meanwhile, NHL teams average around three goals per game last year. Even though that number for NHL teams is steadily increasing each year, it is still relatively lower than scoring in the NBA.
This then led me to ask another question, why is there more scoring in basketball than there is in hockey? I then broke the game down into the fundamentals. The way a puck moves throughout a hockey game is on the floor (the ice). The objective of the game is to shoot the puck into a six-by-four-foot net planted on the ground, which is usually guarded by a goaltender that is 6’3” tall on average.
This, in addition to the five other skaters that are usually on the ice for one team, makes it relatively more difficult to score than in basketball. While basketball also has five players on the floor for a given team, the nature of the game makes it easier for teams to score.
The only time the ball really touches the floor in basketball is when you are bouncing it. Other than that, the ball is being moved around with the players hands, and the objective is to shoot the ball upwards and into a ten-foot hoop. Even though blocks obviously occur, most shots usually cannot be blocked in the air at the professional level because of goaltending rules, and because blocking a shot so high usually requires a supernatural vertical.
If what was said was confusing, take this example: hypothetically, if all five hockey players for a team “built a wall” around their net (which would be very painful by the way) including their goalie, it would be almost impossible to score because they would cover the entire net. Whereas in basketball, “building a wall,” around a ten-foot hoop when most players height ranges from six to seven feet is essentially useless because trying to cover a net much higher than them, in addition to a ball that is high up in the air, is incredibly difficult.
This isn’t to say that one sport is more fun to watch than the other because some people like a lot of scoring, and some people like the anticipation before someone scores. But it is quite interesting to think about why there is a lot of scoring in one sport, and there isn’t relatively much in the other.
This was just my outlook on this subject, if you have your own ideas or “epiphanies,” as to why you think basketball players score more than hockey players, send your ideas to the Other Press!