The NHL announced on January 5th that each of the new divisions for the 2021 season will have its own sponsor. These will be:
- Scotia NHL® North Division
- Honda NHL® West Division
- Discover NHL® Central Division
- MassMutual NHL® East Division
As you can see from the tweet above (and if you’re part of The Turf’s slack), the reception to this has not been widely positive.
I just can’t seem to get as riled up about this as everyone else though. It feels like something people should be upset with, but in the end, does it really matter?
Here is what is motivating my general indifference:
This isn’t disrupting the sanctity of something iconic in sports.
These divisions are brand new. This not the same as if the NHL is changing all references to “The Original Six” to “The Original Six presented by HBO Max”.
Nothing sacred is being altered or diminished here.
This shouldn’t be noticed that often
Sure, it will likely come up any time a division is mentioned. But how often could that really be? A few times a game?
I can handle that.
Plus, once the NHL allowed brand logos to be on helmets, all bets were off. You’re going to see those constantly throughout a game, so maybe focus any outrage on that one instead?
It’s all about revenue
This move is about money, and while usually that can feel icky, these are different times. All businesses are looking for ways to just survive right now. The NHL might not be in danger of shuttering its doors, but the pandemic has still had an effect.
If this can be a step in the right direction towards having a more active offseason (where players also actually get raises) compared to this past one, then I’m all in.
Maybe at the end of the day this is just an opportunity for us to cut the NHL some slack.
Can’t we just say the NHL is trying their best, like everyone else has been doing over the past 10 months, and let this one slide?
But if come the Spring there’s an announcement it will now be called Taco Bell’s Stanley Cup, then I will be handing out the torches and pitchforks.
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