The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/01/12 at 01:24 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings copyrighted “Hockeytown, USA” as a marketing slogan prior to the 1995-96 season, and over the past 17 years, the sustained development of and growth in Metro Detroit and Michigan’s youth hockey programs, scholastic and national team programs, major junior hockey leagues, etc. back up the title as a statewide moniker for a state which always identifies itself by association with the city that holds its heart; Minnesota is no doubt the, “State of Hockey,” and New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and more than a few other states both in the Midwest, Northeast and even the Sunbelt could and maybe should market themselves via similar slogans.
As we all know, however, the “Hockeytown” nickname has spawned its share of detractors, and in a very strange twist, the Detroit News’s Eric Lacy reports that another NHL owner says that Mike Ilitch ought to hand over the term to its…well, rightful owner. Here’s what Flyers owner Ed Snider had to say about the term to the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein:
“I’m very proud of the Flyers and what we’ve accomplished,” Snider said. “They call Detroit Hockeytown U.S.A., and I don’t want to take anything away from it, but I think Philadelphia is Hockeytown U.S.A.”
Cue Wings public address announcer Buldd Lynch, via Lacy:
“They’re the City of Brotherly Love,” Lynch said, between the second and third periods of Saturday’s Red Wings-Blues game. “Maybe Chicago is a hockey town, but with Detroit, there’s no doubt about it. So many of the Red Wings players going back to the early days, played for Detroit, built their homes here and stayed here.”
Lynch points out a new generation of Red Wings players and fans, and Detroit’s proximity to hockey-crazed Canada will keep the Hockeytown title intact.
“There’s no doubt about it,” said Lynch, a 1985 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee.
Snider’s comments didn’t mark the first time someone has challenged Detroit’s self-appointed Hockeytown reputation. Residents in cities like St. Paul and Warroad, Minn., Buffalo and Binghamton, N.Y. and even Sarpsborg, Norway, have made their case for the nickname since the Red Wings used the Hockeytown name as part of a 1996 marketing campaign.
Don’t expect the debate to die anytime soon, but don’t expect the Red Wings to give up the Hockeytown trademark, either. According to the website trademarkia.com, with the latest information from the United States Patent & Trademark office, the Red Wings trademarked the name in 1995 and have used it ever since for business and marketing purposes.
And, if you’re wondering, the Red Wings next matchup with the Flyers is Feb. 12 — in Detroit.
Something tells me that the Wings-Flyers game will matter because it’s a meeting between two of the NHL’s elite franchises, not because one owner says that his town is a Hockey Town, too.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.