The NHL lockout has been in effect for more than two months now, and so, with no actual games to report on, we’re going to link to a different hockey video every day until a new CBA is reached. Today: the NHL’s contribution to last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The NHL is big on staging several tentpole events throughout the course of the season, in order to drum up fan interest and create sponsorship opportunities. (You can read COO John Collins talking about that strategy in this Puck Daddy interview from back in May.) There’s the Winter Classic (sorry, the Bridgestone Winter Classic), the annual All-Star game (oops, the Tim Horton’s NHL All-Star Game), and so on.
Some of them, like the Winter Classic, totally work. But not everything is on that scale: Take the Thanksgiving Showdown (whoops, the Discover Thanksgiving Showdown) that the league introduced last year. The NFL owns Thanksgiving, but the league hoped to start an annual Black Friday tradition with the game, and this year’s installment was to feature the Bruins and Rangers from Boston. That game, of course, isn’t going to happen, but the existence of that game is a perfect example of the league’s tentpole strategy: They won’t all be massive productions like the Winter Classic — nor do they all deserve the attention paid to the outdoor game and its build-up — but if the league believes there’s an opportunity to get some attention with the type of game it can put a little extra promotion behind (and slap a sponsor’s name on), they’ll go for it.
Friday’s game would have been the first NBC telecast of the season. There was even some talk a while back that a new CBA could be reached in time to allow the game to kick off the league’s abbreviated schedule. Of course, that didn’t happen: Instead of watching the Rangers on Friday, viewers in the New York area can tune in to NBC to watch a repeat of Days of Our Lives.
The NHLPA made a new offer today, but the lockout is still very much in effect. And so on Day 67 of the lockout, here’s video of the NHL’s float in last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was used to promote the following day’s game. It’s got everything: human hockey pucks, a turkey goaltender, and rollerblading referees. Only in a video about a float promoting a hockey game on NBC would successive graphics identify Cee Lo Green, and then Cam Neely and Larry Murphy. Enjoy.