Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Corporate Leadership?

Yeah, I got spun up when I saw it too. The NHL has created, seemingly out of the blue, a leadership award and named it after Mark Messier who, according to their public release, "many believe to be the greatest captain in hockey history." I'm not one of the many. And neither are you, if you're reading this here. But, whether he is or isn't may not be the question. The more interesting issue could very well be just where the heck this award came from. According to the release, one leadership award will be given monthly and another yearly. Keep that "yearly" item in mind.

What wasn’t provided in the public release on NHL.com was the fact that this award is corporately sponsored by COLD-fX™. In case you’re not aware, it’s “the official immune enhancer of the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association.”  That little bit of info was made available in the media advisory the league sent out to papers and broadcast outlets, along with the fact that Messier is the celebrity spokesman for the COLD-fX / NHL All-Star Fan Balloting, Presented by 2K Sports.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of this.  I guess the fact that the corporate info was kept out of the public release bothers me.  I guess the fact that the league invents an award simply for the purposes of revenue bothers me too. 

Considering the money angle, the sponsorship, it shouldn’t surprise us to see Mess involved.  He’s definitely never shied from the spotlight, particularly if it gave him a chance to deflect that light with those stylish blue shades. 

But here’s the thing.  Leadership in hockey is a sacred ideal. No other sport places as much prominence on that singular player responsible for keeping a team together.  No other pro athletes wear the “c”...except for Jason Varitek, and I never really understood the meaning of that in Boston.  Loaning the ideal of leadership to ““the official immune enhancer of the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association” rubs me a little wrong.

I guess in the end, and despite my initial reaction that Steve Yzerman should have been the hands-down choice to represent this award, I’m pretty happy he isn’t.

The COLD-fX™/Steve Yzerman Award for Leadership?  No thanks.

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com