KP lonely black dot on the ice

Where do I start with hockey’s branding problems?

I recently tuned in to NHL Live on NBCSN to check out the latest news and updates on the hockey season. To tell you the truth, I enjoyed the format — flashing through multiple hockey games, getting the updates on who plays where, and what players are injured.

One thing I noticed during the magic game surfing is that I know absolutely zero hockey players. Well, maybe that’s a little extreme, but the number of names I recognized is less than ten. For those of you that don’t know, I’m a sports nut. I probably watch too much SportsCenter, which means I should recognize plenty of hockey players’ names.

The way I see this issue is, the NHL has a major problem. Why are they not featuring their players in PR spots? Why do I not see Wayne Gretzky doing Lincoln Motors car commercials? Why do I not see Alexander Ovechkin on Gillette razor blades commercials? Why do I not see Sidney Crosby at the Oscars? Or why do I not see Patrick Kane on Pizza Hut billboards?

Hockey has a huge branding issue — and their comparative ratings against other sports prove it. But it’s their own fault because of the lack of effort.