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Bits: A word about NHL jersey ads

Sorry not sorry for saying it, too, sucks.

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
The lighting was worse, but these were fun times.

Just skimming Twitter — always a poor life choice — I’ve noticed a Backlash Against the Backlash to the addition of ads to NHL jerseys.

Like, if you complain about the latest in the endless litany of spaces that ads have encroached, apparently you’re a naive fool because you’re already rooting for a team that plays in a [Bank or Tire or Dot-Com Bust] Arena/Garden and when they have a man advantage it’s a [Crappy Pizza or Utility] Power Play, etc. Just accept that everything will always be covered in ads and it always was, okay?

As you might imagine, I have a different view. I remember each of those additions, each of them sucked — I whined about them then — and this one sucks most of all, so I’ll unapologetically whine about it now.

(Now, will I whine about it at Game 60 and Game 82, like those who complained about Brian Strait every pre-game through an entire season? No. But remember that even that guy isn’t wrong, he’s just tiresome.)

So if it irks you, I say complain! Complain away! Get it off your chest. Don’t hold your suffering inside just because the league and the capitalist world are animated by the need to monetize every available inch of the earth. If the actual measures or their consequences suck, do not hesitate to say so — even when this encroachment is built into the miserable “grow the revenues game” system.

True, I have continued to follow a few leagues while the entire pro sports ecosystem — on a global level, alas — has become a barely tolerable, sensory overload hellscape of in-game ads, virtual ads, “corporate partnerships,” “enhanced VIP experiences,” and thinly veiled encouragements for your 13-year-old son to pick up a gambling addiction. That does not mean I shall not mourn the loss of what for me was the last untarnished space.

Last Gasp of Aesthetic Enjoyment

Hockey jerseys are cool and beautiful, and for me that’s part of the appeal (except when someone FuRBKs it up...which, remember, was another “grow the revenues game” move). I like looking at them, they are part of the fun and mystique of watching the game (which is admittedly a foolish use of my free time). Seeing them from specific eras brings a rush of nostalgia and happy memories.

Now with ads, I’ll like looking at these jerseys a lot less. They actually make them look kind of stupid. (Helmets, too, but I’ve never been terribly invested in helmet aesthetics.) Now each time I see a pro jersey I will receive yet one more blunt reminder of what an ultimately irrational, cultish and absurdly expensive hobby pro sports fandom is.

Now, despite the optics of 600 words to the contrary, I’m not all that worked up about this at the moment. Because they foreshadowed it for so long; they whispered and hinted that jersey ads were coming for years, that way it wouldn’t be such a surprise. (It worked! Now we’re supposed to just shut up and accept it.) That way, people who don’t care can shame those of us who do.

But of course they did it gradually! You used to be able to see the puck around the boards without finding it through a bank’s logo. At first there were just a few ads on the boards on the sides. Then the corners and behind the net. At first there was just small ads in the neutral zone. Then the corners or superimposed on the glass and then violently launched into your retina by a furniture salesman.

They always do this gradually!

That’s what makes intentionally(?) ironic lectures like this... funny when they’re quickly followed by “but here’s where I draw the line” like this:

We all have no choice to comply or quit, so WHEN AM I ALLOWED TO GRAB A TORCH?

And how long am I supposed to pretend that the NHL won’t steadily follow the norms of other NASCAR-like leagues? I may be dead by the time that happens, and my kids will say “haven’t jerseys always had shoulder, elbow, and butt ads?” but it will happen and it, too, will suck.

But hey, gotta grow the revenues game.

I’ll shut up now. I had to swallow Every. Single. Pior. miserable Put Up With It or Quit choice over the past 35 years, so I should just suck it up and thank the bank/casino/telco for making it possible for my team to...raise the price of everything just a little more.

Islanders News

Okay, there’s not really any Islanders news. Sorry if you had to wade through the above before realizing that.

A very loose and passing Hickey and Chara mention that we shall pass as news-ish:


  • Nick Suzuki has been named the 31st captain of what you are obliged to call the very storied franchise in Montreal. [Habs Eyes on the Prize | NHL]
  • Naming a young captain reflects the new-era management for the Canadiens. [Sportsnet]
  • Erik Karlsson has not requested a trade from the rebuilding Sharks, in case you were wondering. [NHL]
  • Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes are fully healthy for the Flyers, so they’re definitely a playoff team. [NHL]
  • Of course the Avalanche get Evan Rodrigues, that’s totally fair. [TSN]
  • Canucks captain Bo Horvat is entering his walk year but isn’t concerned about his next contract. [NHL]
  • Who will be on the Leafs’ second line this coming season? “All eyes” are on this situation, and I know you care. [TSN]