Kukla's Korner Hockey
Prior to joining the NHL in November as evp-corporate sales and marketing, John Collins was an executive for more than 15 years at the NFL, including svp-sales and marketing (in 2000 he was named one of Brandweek’s “Marketers of the Next Generation”) and then was president/CEO at the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. In May he was given added responsibilities and a new title, svp-business and media, to work with league marketing partners including Pepsi, Reebok, Anheuser-Busch, XM Satellite, Verizon Wireless and Dodge. He spoke with Brandweek executive editor Barry Janoff about the NHL’s marketing strengths, weaknesses and future.
Brandweek: How was the lockout in 2004-05 a turning point for the NHL?
John Collins: It’s a dramatic step if you shut down any business for a year. In terms of business and marketing, the first season after the lockout was all about restarting the business. The NHL represents a classic marketing opportunity and we hope a classic marketing success. Based on franchise values, revenue growth, the rise in salary cap and other numbers that commissioner Gary Bettman presented this month to the board of governors, the business has come back and is poised for growth.
from Paul Hunter at the Toronto Star,
“A team that was on the outside looking in can be on the inside in a hurry in this day and age,” said Phoenix general manager Don Maloney.
“You can reload a lot quicker,” adds Brian Burke, who brought the Stanley Cup to California for the first time as GM of Anaheim.
It is Year Three of the league’s dramatically different collective agreement, a contract many managers admit they’re still trying to fully grasp, and it is Burke’s Ducks for which the other teams are gunning.
This might have been the summer that will show how quickly and smartly teams can rebuild in the new system.
from the Telegraph,
Though there are penalties in ice hockey, for high-sticking, for holding and holding the stick, there are no penalties for body checking your opponents at full speed, into a wall. Indeed, that kind of behaviour is rapturously applauded by knowledgeable fans. Such fans will need no explanation of the finer points of the game. Which is just as well. This is a sport of speed, power and violence, played without the inconveniences of offside or touchlines or namby-pamby referees. Indeed, ice hockey referees may well be the least namby-pamby officials in the sports world, since four of them must not only share the ice with two teams of aggressive hulks, but sort out the game’s near obligatory brawl.
There was one of those last night, and highly entertaining it was too. The fight ended as an honourable draw, with one player from each side sitting out a five-minute penalty.
read on about the 2 games in London…
fromm Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Make no mistake. After supporting Bettman and the Board on issues contrary to their own self-interests such as the hard salary cap, revenue sharing, and cancellation of the 2004-05 season, the Rangers are no longer amenable to ceding control of their business to Sixth Avenue, and neither are a growing number of the big-market teams who carry the league on their backs.
These clubs may support Bettman’s lowest-common-denominator approach to competition on the ice, but they most certainly do not support Sixth Avenue’s concept of parity when applied to individual bottom lines. Slap Shots has obtained a copy of a letter Garden CEO Jim Dolan sent by fax to the 29 other NHL owners Friday night. While affirming respect for the league Governors, Dolan leaves no doubt he not only is engaging the NHL in a philosophical battle, but is challenging the league’s competence in generating revenues and growing the game.
from Evan Weiner at MCN Sports,
When publications and websites put out lists of the Top 100 this, the Top 100 that, they are should always to be taken with a grain of salt. BusinessWeek has posted a list of the Top 100 Power People in sports with National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell on the top of the list. BusinessWeek should have asked me to be part of their panel because their list is filled with questionable choices and omissions. But BusinessWeek in their wisdom didn’t ask me or Darren Rovell at CNBC or Ronald Blum at the Associated Press or Murray Chass at the New York Times for our opinions or sports business experts in Europe or Asia for their thoughts which is why it is flawed and nothing more than an exercise in futility.
It’s too bad because that Power 100 list might be far more accurate with real sports business experts than the BusinessWeek 100 that was presented. There really is nothing on the list that indicates that the panelists thought about the UEFA 2008 football tournament. That happens to be the second most watched sports event in the world behind the World Cup.
There is nothing about cricket or boxing on the list. The National Hockey League Commissioner is rated just 27th on the list even though the NHL has lots of eyeballs watching its product in Europe far more eyeballs than the NFL on that continent.
from the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Hockeytown needs to get its groove back.
The organization has aggressively tried to market its once-popular product, dropping some ticket prices as low as $9 and plastering images and messages on billboards.
A week before the opener against the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks at Joe Louis Arena, a block of 15 seats was available - at $44 apiece - in a corner of the upper bowl.
“The No. 1 thing that has hurt us from a fan’s standpoint is the Michigan economy,’’ general manager Ken Holland said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Want to discuss the opening game today between the Ducks and Kings?
How is the TV coverage, likes, dislikes, this is the place to be heard.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
The private car was a place for bonding during the regular season and for all-night wet parties when the Canadiens were returning home after winning Stanley Cups on the road.
The trip to Chicago was a marathon on rails. The Canadiens would play a Saturday night game at the Forum and, immediately after it, would head for Westmount Station. Departure time: somewhere around midnight. Breakfast and lunch (thick steaks to die for) in their private dining car, after which most of the players would take their afternoon naps.
Normally, the team would arrive there at 6:30 p.m., head directly to Chicago Stadium - now and then with a police escort when the train was late. They would play the game, head back to the train and arrive in Montreal at 11 p.m. on Monday.
from the Calgary Sun,
“Dean is a friend of mine, but if it was Dean or somebody I don’t know, there’s no need for that.
“There’s nobody that can say, ‘I never hit anybody kinda cheap’ because you can get your elbows up or stick up, but you can’t hit somebody like that.”
Although the league has taken heat for being lenient on violent incidents, players were applauding Colin Campbell—the NHL’s disciplinarian—for taking a stand.
“It’s good the league did something,” Conroy said.
more on the suspension of Downie from Craig Conroy and other Flames too…
From the AP via MSNBC,
So ends the summer when the NHL stood out by simply laying low.
No talk of lockouts, steroids, rogue referees or police blotters in the world of hockey during the few short months following the Anaheim Ducks’ landmark championship for California.
The league that usually gets noticed when things go wrong, was glad to let baseball, football and basketball own the scandal-focused spotlight. Hockey escaped embarrassment and turmoil, and now is readying its next attempt to matter in the U.S. sports landscape.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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