Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hooray for Hockey-Wood

So, I was browsing through and I came across a story out of the Wall Street Journal, which talks about how the National Hockey League is trying to get "A-List" celebrities to attend NHL games and be at rinkside so the cameras would be able to spot them easily. As of the time I'm writing this, both George Clooney and Steve Carell have declined.

The last time we have heard celebs endorsing the NHL has been as recent as Kiefer Sutherland and Denis Leary doing new and (I must say) improved commercials for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but only as voice-overs. Even Elisha Cuthbert has been doing some blogging for the NHL and seen around town with Sean Avery. Then, going back a little further, Whoopi Goldberg and Cuba Gooding, Jr. were in attendance for the 2003 Finals, which Gooding was way too excited for and, not so much. Of course, I can let Gooding go, seeing as he is a very avid hockey viewer, player, and even has his own mini-rink in his backyard. It goes back even further with Mike Meyers, Michael J. Fox, and so on.

I think the real question is whether or not this is really needed for the NHL to do. Let's face it, I don't think anyone who is a borderline fan is going to see someone like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and think if it's cool for them to do it, why am I sitting here watching it?? Of course, the chance to stalk Jolie is a perk, but that's another story for another time.

There's not more exciting than seeing a game in person, and I think a lot of people know that. However, I don't think just because Hollywood celebrities are at the games, it will boost the popularity of the game. If anything, the NHL should invite guys like Paul Newman (Slapshot), Emilio Estevez (Mighty Ducks), and anyone else who has been in a hockey movie. Now those are people who will actualy enjoy being at a game, seeing as they spent a while doing scene about the game in a movie.

However, it seems that it helps in some markets, like Atlanta, where Lil' Jon (YEEEEAAAAAHHHH!!!) had a photo-op with the Stanley Cup and it allowed more celebs like Evander Holyfield and Chris Tucker to show up, while in St. Louis and Nashville, Nelly and Montgomery Gentry have been in attendance, but I'll let you figure out who went where.

It's not a bad thing for the NHL to get the game out everywhere, I'm not disputing that; however, I don't think it's going to really boost the popularity of the sport that much, mainly because it's still a niche sport, albeit, a higher niche sport than it has been in a while. Give out some passes to those celebs who have been there and let them take some of their buddies. It's the method our show has been using for the five years we have been on air: you tell two friends, then they tell two friends, then they tell two friends....

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