Face of the League
This is something that I’ve wanted to write for a while now. More of a rant than anything good or clever, but it needs to be said. It’s a perfect example of how dumb the people running and marketing the NHL are. And trust me, outside of a few classes I am definitely no marketing guy, but it seems pretty clear to me that the league can’t see the forest through the trees on this one.
The NHL endlessly pushes Sidney Crosby as the face of the league. Is he the best player in hockey? Absolutely, although I really believe it is closer between him and Toews than anyone wants to admit, just recently Toews has been getting put in the conversation by fans. If I had to rank it today, I would likely say Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf, Kopitar, and Doughty in that order.
None of those guys should be the FACE of the league. By face of the league I assume you know what I mean but in case you don’t….I’m talking about it’s most recognizable player. The player who your average fan knows best. The player who goes on Jimmy Fallon, does national commercials, and who the media goes to on all the big issues.
That guy should be a highlight reel type of player who is one of, if not THE most skilled player in the game. Preferably American since it is more vital to the league that they sell the game in the States (they don’t need to sell the game up here….there aren’t any seats left!) He should have a lot of personality. He should be playing in a big U.S. market. He should be quotable. And he should be playing on a winner.
Yet Patrick Kane, while very well known, isn’t the face of the league. Someone please explain to me why?! Sid is great and doesn’t do a thing wrong, but he doesn’t have the personality to carry the league. How is it that Ovechkin was this guy 5 years ago, but they haven’t pushed Kane to be this guy now?! Ovy was exciting, but is Kane not?
And with Kane he’s not only going to do something memorable most nights, he’s one of the most clutch players in the game! Stanley Cup winning goal, Conn Smythe trophy, how about that goal in game 6 vs LA this spring to force game 7 in the WCF. I haven’t heard Bob Cole say “WOAH…BABY!” with that much enthusiasm in 20 years! He hits everything on the list that you want.
You’ll never hear me advocate that Kane is the best player in the league. Not close, he’s not even close to the best player on his own team! But this guy should be at the forefront of everything NHL. When I first started this site, I wrote about how they completely missed the boat on Mike Modano being this guy. And I also talked about how Modano should have been to hockey what David Beckham was to Euro Football in that he wasn’t ever the best player in the sport, but he was seen as the biggest star in the sport.
Patrick Kane is the biggest star in hockey, it’s just that the league is too stupid to let him shine to his full potential. Don Draper would go nuts over this guy! Maybe someone reading this who knows marketing better than I do can help me out with it. But until then, I’ll be left asking the question. And in true NHL fashion….I’m guessing I’ll never get it answered.
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