As a native Montrealer, I am a loyal Habs fan, though I live in Toronto (and hate the loser leafs) and don't watch television anymore. I usually go to a pub to watch playoff games. I used to play as a kid and later in pickup leagues in college but was never that good. (We used to rent ice time at les Quatres Glaces a long time ago, I think it's in the South shore of Montreal). I still go skating once in a while and now that my son turned four, I will start taking him to the rink this winter to teach him to skate.
It's a great sport to play and one of the most enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, aside from the Northeast and parts of the Midwest, it can never develop a sufficient following in the US market because the infrastructure required to play indoors is simply to costly. It's a winter sport and can never thrive in places where it's not cold enough to play outside in the winter.