Last night, 8pm EST: happy and naive I turned on the TV in my Chattanooga dorm room excited to see the Preds game, and as usual I was greeted by an all too familiar scene…the Hurricanes. Those of you living in the arbitrary strips of Alabama/Georgia and Tennessee which Fox Sports has somehow deemed ‘Canes’ Country’ know my pain I’m sure. Aside from the obvious temper tantrum I throw almost weekly about this, the fact that areas of TENNESSEE are being shown CAROLINA games brings up a larger issue in the Southern Hockey TV market system. Ever since the Thrashers went to Canada and never came back, Fox seems to have been trying to decide what to do by having drunk monkeys throw darts at a map of the Southeast. Chattanooga (135 miles from Nashville and 470 miles from Raleigh) and Huntsville (110 miles from Nashville and 570 miles from Raleigh) are two examples indicative of the issue. Both areas have fairly large Predators fan contingents and from a geographic and cultural perspective logically belong under the Preds’ jurisdiction. Yet here we are, being shown Carolina games. The NHL has poured a lot of resources over the years into growing hockey in the South, but by using this piecemeal distribution strategy Fox is inherently damaging Southern hockey. The states in dispute already have built-in fan bases who root for the Tennessee-based Titans and Grizzles; it only makes sense that a Predators fan base should be grown from these same viewers while a very separate hockey fan base should be nurtured in the Carolinas. In this way, the NHL gets two natural geographically and culturally distinct Southern fan bases that have an already existing rivalry between them, instead of the current hodgepodge of viewers who have no loyalty to either market. But most of all please stop broadcasting two separate games in the same area code and showing me the wrong one!!! (My thanks to Mile High Hockey for their work compiling the area map) Enjoy the week everyone!