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Hockey at the Movies

Monday, April 14, 2008

The NHL announced today its marketing agreement with The Love Guru, a movie written by and starring Canadian comedian Mike Myers as guru who must help a Toronto Maple Leafs star reunite with his wife and end the 40-year Stanley Cup drought in Toronto.  (Check out the commercial here.)  I’m not going to summarize the whole plot, but the Maple Leaf loses his wife to a rival hockey player on the LA Kings. 

It’s fantastic that professional hockey has been featured in a variety of popular mediums this season: TV shows like Everybody Hates Chris and How I Met Your Mother, Snoop Dogg’s reality show, and movies like She’s Out of My League (currently filming in Pittsburgh).  We need more points of cultural reference that show there’s more to hockey than the Hanson brothers, the Flying V-knucklepuck myth, and a Miracle on Ice.

I do, however, take issue with the recurring LA Kings appearances.  Think back to the Amp Energy commercial that first ran during the Winter Classic [and while we’re on the subject, why was this not called the Ice Bowl?  Ice Bowl ties in with the college football people normally watch on New Year’s.  Winter Classic sounds more like a PGA event – and who wants to watch golf over the holidays?].  Including Ryan Miller made sense – star player on a team that performed extremely well last season.  But J.S. Aubin?  He wasn’t even the Kings’ number one goaltender, let alone a star.  He’s best know for being a pawn in the first trade between LA and Anaheim.

I understand that the Kings’ proximity to Hollywood simplifies logistics drastically.  I also understand that the NHL probably wants to promote a team in a less traditional market, particularly when Myers is featuring his hometown Maple Leafs at the opposite end of the ice.  The Kings also battle for fans with the reigning Stanley Cup champions residing across town and the red hot San Jose Sharks nearby.  But there are other teams in nontraditional markets with equally bright – if not brighter – futures that could be promoted, like the Phoenix Coyotes.

On the birhgt side, at least someone other than Sidney Crosby is getting national attention.


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