Should NHL Players Don Jerseys That Have Advertisements?

By Michelle Drinnenberg
Rick Osentoski- US PRESSWIRE

As regular season NHL games are easily being cancelled like a bad sitcom, everyone is brain storming ideas. Ideas that will bring the current lockout to an end and prevent the league from enduring another one in the future.

Yesterday, as I joyfully watch the KHL game between the Dynamo Moscow and the HC Lev Praha — that was heaven-sent by ESPN 2 — I heard the broadcasters mention an idea that I have mixed feelings about. An idea that has been carried out by soccer or futbol — depending on where you live — teams and internationally, but is not a trend in the United States.

Where I’m getting at is whether or not NHL jerseys need, or should, showcase advertisements.

Jesse Spector — a writer for Sporting News — is a supporter of this notion lobbying,

By opening the door to uniform and ice advertising, the NHL would also have the opportunity to bring about labor peace. Because these revenue streams would be new, they could be defined in such a way as to act as a buffer against a decrease in the players’ share of hockey-related revenue.”

From a business perspective and based how things have turned out for the league, I agree with Spector and the reasoning to have advertisements play a more predominant role in the league. As a long-time, die-hard fan I would have to completely disagree on it entirely.

My logic being that I don’t want to watch teams face-off on the ice wearing a variety of ads on their jersey. Even if it is just one company being advertised, I prefer to not spend my dollars on a jersey that publicizes a company. This isn’t NASCAR, folks. Advertisements are placed along the boards in every NHL arena and every arena is named after a different company. Shouldn’t that be enough? Can’t the league hash things out in a manner that doesn’t alter the traditional aspect of the league?

Hockey is known for its traditions such as: the playoff beard, never touching the Cup until a player has won it, players never touching the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl –for the West — and the Prince of Whales Trophy — for the East — when advancing to the Finals, shaking hands with opponents after a playoff series victory or defeat and, lastly, their jerseys. Most of the teams have not completely redesigned their jersey because the sport takes pride in its history. Answer me this. Can you picture Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky or “super” Mario Lemieux skating around wearing a jersey that displayed “Go Daddy” or “Herbal Life” on it? Maybe it’s not a big deal to you, but it is to me.

The NHL isn’t hurting bad enough to start selling space on their jerseys as a new means for revenue. From what I understand, the league should loosen the leash they want to have on the players and start digging into their own pockets to end this travesty.


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