“Goal Cookies” is a look at the little tricks or treats from around the NHL. The Pup (my loyal sidekick) has been well trained that goals scored by the “good guys” lead to treats. She is also becoming equally well versed in the tricks necessary to garner my attention for off-season goodies. With this spirit in mind, I’ll take a swing at the obvious, or maybe even the oblivious happenings across the league. Some will be worthy of goal cookies, others likely come with a warning not to step in the doo-doo. But really, how can any of us refuse a goal cookie??
Goal Cookie – Is it October Yet??
Looking for some distraction to the fact that hockey seems so far away?? NHLN has been re-broadcasting playoff games from the post-season. As a Bruins fan it is amazing to watch the transformation of the team during their Cup run, from the debacle in Boston in games 1&2 vs. Montreal to the confident dominance over Vancouver in Boston in the Finals.
Also teams throughout the league have done a much better job of opening up to the public their rookie camps and mini-camps, as well as conducting team youth camps. This can do nothing but help grow the connection between the team and the community, and for young players being introduced to the organization via team rookie camps it is an excellent way to build excitement about the future. Rookie camp is also a great opportunity to develop a following for the team’s AHL affiliates. The AHL is not only the proving ground for the NHL stars of tomorrow, it is an exceptionally entertaining brand of hockey that is both fan friendly and family affordable. Prices, in game promotions, and the size of AHL arenas all make for an intimate setting where fans really have an opportunity to feel a part of the action, and connected to both their AHL team and the big club. It would be great if the NHLN would show some of the games from the Calder Cup playoffs during their summer programming.
Guilty pleasure of the summer? NHL11, yes I finally broke down and bought a used copy (I know, just in time for NHL12 to hit the shelves). But the Ultimate Team, Be a Pro and Be a GM are a blast. With a heat wave sending most of us scurrying for the air conditioned comfort of our living rooms NHL11 is another fun way to connect with friends, and family with hockey as a vehicle, even in July! Where else can a 19 yr old playmaking winger, be flipping saucer passes to Mike Fisher and leading the 15-0 Ottawa Senators in both penalty minutes and assists??
OK, I give up! Is it October YET???
Watch out for the Poop! – NHL.com
While I don’t necessarily fault them for a 30 second commercial for a 15 second highlight clip (someone has to pay the electric bill for the new high-tech Wheel of Justice) what I am smelling is lack of creativity in their content. I would generally ignore the fact they tweeted the same link about 26 times yesterday, but through lack of creativity the NHL is missing the boat on the perfect time of year to tell some amazing personal interest stories on all of the good work players across the league are involved in during the off-season. You would be hard pressed to convince me there is any professional league that has players more involved in their community than the NHL. Players are visiting camps, hospitals, holding benefits for their charitable organizations and most of it is going unnoticed. There are 31 days in July and August, and 30 days in September. If they did a feature on one guy a day from each team in July, August and September that would be 90 players across the league that all fans would have an opportunity to get to know. It would take some restraint not to tell the few stories and focus on the big name stars, but it was the part about HBO’s 24/7 that made it most compelling, seeing all the players and getting to know them in a different way.
Let’s be clear, I do NOT need to know any more about Sid, Ovi, or even Tim Thomas (until his Disney movie is made). However, I would love to get to know more about guys like Jonathan Quick, Matt Moulson, Martin Erat, Loui Eriksson, or Keith Yandle. The NHL spends so much time during the season marketing a handful of players, that the off-season would be the perfect time to give starving die-hard puck-heads a glimpse into the lives of the MANY players who make up the NHL, and represent it so well off the ice. There are great stories out there waiting to be told, and assembling 10 highlight clips of things I can find on YouTube (without the 10 commercials) and tweeting it 45 times is not the best way to market the game. With the labor issues of both the NBA and NFL presently unresolved, and MLB being about as captivating as watching the grass turn brown under the scorching summer sun, the NHL is missing out on an opportunity to introduce fans (new and old) to the over 700 players who make up the league. The stars are in alignment NHL, don’t miss your chance!