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Hockey Canada’s crackdown on ‘unethical’ merchandise manufacturing: more than PR?

When working the "late shift," I'm usually working on my Red Wings overnight report, and I'm hoping to find a few interesting or unique stories to post for my fellow night owls.

This story leaves me in quite a quandary as to whether its intensions are sincere or part of a larger PR campaign, because the Globe and Mail's Tu Thanh Ha reports that Hockey Canada and Nike are making sure that the firms manufacturing Hockey Canada's merchandise overseas are adhering to "ethical" standards.

That's a bit strange to hear, and it certainly makes me think given that the vast majority of both the hockey merchandise that fans wear and the hockey equipment that players use to play the game is made in Asia these days, to the point that I'd say two thirds of what NHL players wear visibly and under their gear is made in China, Vietnam, Thailand or Malaysia. We've gotten to the point that sticks made in Tijuana count as, "At least North American and made by people who've been making sticks for twenty years."

Anyway, Than Ha reports that the terrible accidents happening in the garment industry in Bangladesh caused both Hockey Canada and Nike to act:

[Vice-chairman of the board Terry] Ledingham said Hockey Canada’s chief operating officer, Scott Smith, is spearheading the effort and staffers will contact various watchdog groups and report to the board next month.

The policy would apply to merchandise carrying the Hockey Canada logo, such as hockey sweaters, but also jackets, hoodies, caps, mittens, tuques and earmuffs.

Unveiled earlier this month, the Team Canada uniforms that will be worn at the Winter Games in Sochi were produced by Nike, in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee.

The Team Canada outfits will be made in Canada but replicas sold to fans will be manufactured in Indonesia.

Earlier this year, Nike had to investigate allegations by labour activists that its Indonesia suppliers were trying to evade paying workers the minimum wage. The probe concluded that the claims were inaccurate, Nike spokeswoman Claire Rankine said.

The story continues, and I'm finding it hard to believe that Hockey Canada suggests that they don't make a lot of money off the Maple Leaf during non-Olympic years.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: hockey+canada


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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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com