NHL News: Why corporate sponsored division names aren’t going away, Tuukka Rask reveals reason he left bubble, and more

Rasmus Dahlin with Frolunda sporting ads on even his socks (Tommy Holl/IBL)

Anyone who has read my work, listened to the podcast knows how I feel about ads on uniforms, and the recent corporate sponsored division names.

I understand the difficulties the NHL is facing, COVID-19 has wrecked havoc on a lot of businesses, especially small ones that will never open again.

The NHL is not a small business, but they like anyone else have more than just hockey people and players getting checks. So I am all for finding ways to make them whole, and get their people in the offices, and arenas back to work too.

That being said, the floodgates have been opened. And despite all the talk that this is only for one season, it’s hard to see how teams and players will just turn away from the additional tens of millions they see coming in. Players have been clamoring for the league to increase revenues for a long while. This is all here to stay.

Hockey purists like myself make jokes like the Stanley Tools Cup, or the Nickelodeon Rookie of the Year Award, but what’s to stop that from happening? Why do we think that these corporate sponsored divisions won’t continue past this season? Why would we think that awards like the Hart Memorial Trophy won’t become the Bayer Aspirin MVP Award? Is Wayne Gretzky going to outbid a pharmaceutical company for naming rights? Not in a million years.

ads on nhl helmets
Ads on NHL helmets are here (via NJ Devils)

Since the day the NHL was formed, it’s been a sport rich in tradition. Honoring those who helped shape the game. Lord Stanley of Preston loved the game so much that he donated the giant bowl we see at the top of the Stanley Cup.

At one time the East was the Prince of Wales Conference named after King Edward. The West was the Campbell Conference named after Clarence S, Campbell who the president of the NHL. The divisions were also named after some of the game’s greats like Lester Patrick (legendary Rangers coach), Charles Adams (founder of the Bruins), James Norris (owner of the Red Wings), Conn Smythe who also has the playoff MVP named after him.

Listen, I am not an economist so I don’t know the right answers. The reality is that there are a large group of fans who don’t care about these things and just want them to play. So what if players become skating billboards? Most of the time those same laissez-faire fans are on their phones tweeting or snap-chatting and only raise their heads when a goal is scored….then back to the phone.

Maybe I am a dinosaur. Just my thoughts on it all.

NHL News: Tuukka Rask gives reason for why he left bubble

I wonder if some of the callous folks that called out Tuukka Rask for leaving the bubble will apologize. It was speculated that Rask left the bubble for a family emergency but many in the media and fans basically called him out for abandoning the Bruins when they needed him most.

tuukka rask
Tuukka Rask (NHLI/Getty Images)

“Everything happened so quickly…,” Rask said. “I got a phone call the night before (Game 3 against the Hurricanes) that our daughter wasn’t doing so well. They had to call an ambulance. At that point, my mind is spinning. I’m like ‘I need to get out of here.’ So then, the next morning I informed (Bruins president) Cam (Neely) and we had a brief talk and I just left.”

Boston.com

Rask said it was a tough decision but really has no regrets about leaving to be with his daughter. I don’t blame him one bit. I’d make that decision myself everytime.

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