Why Does The NHL Store Hate Canada?

Them’s fightin’ words.

Seeing as how as I’m really not a big fan of the Canadiens (and you can guess my allegiance to the team from Calgary), I figured I’d give this guy’s claim a test.  I mean really, the Canadiens are one of the (if not *the*) biggest franchises in the National Hockey League.

Surely I could find some sweaters, or some awesome merchandise on the NHL Shop’s website, right?

So I went to the NHL Shop, and typed in the words “Heritage Classic” into the search bar.  Surely we’d see some Habs sweaters, probably a few of those hot-dog styled Calgary Flames uniforms, surely some trinkets, lanyards, pucks, glossy mags, 1/24 size Zambonis, underwear, miniature sticks, replica Lanny McDonald moustaches, Guy LaFleur’s baby teeth, and the such.

What do we got, for entertainment?

Eleven items.

ShopNHL.com screenshot of available Heritage Classic merch

Alright, so maybe there are some sweaters?  Toques?  Mittens, Gloves?  Chesterfield covers?  Floor mats?

A quick glance for our reading audience would reveal that there are exactly two (2) items related to the Montréal Canadiens, and one (1, singular) item related to the Calgary Flames.

Quick maths would suggest that two items and one item (2+1) would give us a total of three (3) items directly correlating to both teams competing in this year’s Heritage Classic.

There are also eight other items that are listed under the “NHL Logo” category.  We’ll be generous and add those two numbers together (3+8) and yield a mighty eleven items that are related to the Heritage Classic taking place on 20 February of this year.   “Collectibles” are the same as the items you can find under the “team” header.  Such ‘collectibles” include a $50 aluminum ticket celebrating the fact that this game happened.

(Here’s a link if you think I’m kidding you.  Better get your merchandise fast.  This stuff is probably flying off the shelves.  Right, Calgary?)

Hey! While we’re at it, do you guys remember that game that took place on New Year’s Day in the States?  It was called the Winter Classic?  Oh man, how could you forget?  It was between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins, man.   They played it at Heinz Field?  Oh man, did you see it?

Did you get your sweaters?  Maybe your trinkets, lanyards, pucks, glossy mags, 1/24 size Zambonis, underwear, miniature sticks, replica Tom Barrasso  penguin masks, Jon Erskine baby teeth, Rod Langway’s retired mini-banners, and the such?

In case you weren’t able to get any of that, don’t fret.  You can still buy all that stuff at the NHL Shop.

I’m not even going for semantics on this one.  52 Penguin items, 44 Capitals items, plus 38 commemorative Winter Classic items equals 134 total items that are currently on sale from a hockey game that took place a month and a half ago. (Link)

And you know what?  That’s great.  Seriously, if the NHL can find a market  for people who want to purchase merchandise for a game that took place six weeks ago, I’m all for it. (Side note:  If you’re shopping in Canadian dollars, there is an exclusive link for the NHL’s Canadian Shop, which does a somewhat better job in merchandise, although we already know that Flames and Habs fans are going to scarf this stuff up.  Where’s the international flavour?)

The Flames and the Canadiens are gearing up for a game that’s going to take place on Sunday at the University of Calgary’s McMahon Stadium.  Both Calgary and Edmonton’s AHL teams (Abbotsford and Oklahoma City) are going to play a regular season game on the 18th.  Also, don’t forget the Heritage game, a two period get-together between members of the ’89 Flames and some greats that wore le bleu, blanc et rouge of the Canadiens. What a weekend it will be.

Again, I think it’s great that the NHL can market the Winter Classic a full six weeks after it happened, but the lack of coverage and marketing for the Heritage Classic (a game that’s happening in a few days) is both inexcusable and unacceptable.

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