The NHL is at it again – repackaging the game for American eyes and dollars.
As someone who remembers the first coming of Peter Puck – and King of Hockey, at least when HNIC decided to put it on between periods – I roll my eyes, as any Canadian hockeyist does. Selling hockey to (most) Yanks is like trying to explain Sanskrit to a garter snake.
So the violence becomes the entry point, even if it turns off many more people than it attracts. Tonight the NHL rolls out part one of its new ad campaign in the U.S., and as explained here, it doesn’t break any new ground. According to Richard Sandomir in the New York Times, the five 30-second spots made for the league “are filled with dramatic music, tight close-ups, flashbacks, low angles of ice action, special effects and quotations from the book ‘The Art of War’ by the Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu.” I can handle most of this – it’s pretty standard stuff, even the hockey ‘warrior’ angle that is carried through, sort of the antithesis of ol’ Peter P. But can we just give The Art of War a rest? The poor Sun Tzu’s been been dead for 2400 years. His book has been turned into a standard self-help tome for get-rich-quicker artists. Now he’s being used to sell hockey?