Every year around opening night for the NHL, every team in every city will release some sort of pump up video for the coming season. Some do it to sell tickets, other inspiration, others because the demand in the market dictates it. In the spirit of Joe McGrath, teams force these players into becoming comedic or dramatic actors for an afternoon and that’s what makes this my favorite time hockey. So much anticipation, predictions on who’s making a cup run, but most importantly, let’s see some Canadians try and act for their city’s audience of potential season ticket holders!
Some were better than others, some teams didn’t produce any videos this year, while others made it a campaign. As opposed to doing a traditional route, I’ve given awards for each noteworthy ad, as well as Best Comedy and Best Goosebumps awards, culminating in Best Commercial for the team that inspires hockey viewership best representing the traditions of the sport: Heart, Pride, Canadian situational sketch comedy.
Let’s go to the awards.
The Hoop Dreams (awe inspiring, but totally won’t work out) Award: Buffalo Sabres for #NextChapter
Aside from shooting what I suspect is every landmark in Buffalo in a span of a few seconds, have to give credit for the Sabres putting their hometown guys out on display and rallying the cry of Upstate NY. If the Bills can have a mafia, why can’t we? Very admirable, but like Hoop Dreams, none of these are gonna be lifting any trophies this year as Eichel is out already and this team sucks.
The Billy Mays Infomercial Award (In Memoriam): Anaheim Ducks
Truly an infomercial, this is in no way a commercial that airs during prime time. This is hopefully airing during Adult Swim or TNT replaying Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at 3 AM on a Tuesday. Funny stuff here from the ducks, but it doesn’t make up for their other video (which could be in the running for worst commercial, stay tuned). Honorable mention to the Detroit Red Wings for their Final Season at the Joe video
The Cloud Atlas “What the fuck did I just watch?” Award: Columbus Blue Jackets for Open Video
The cinematography here was alright, but holy crap what a weird video. Good thing no one has seen it:
The “Over The Top” Over the top award: Edmonton Oilers
I’ve heard Alberta’s a beautiful place but they really make it seem like some sort of feudal hockey version of the town they drive through in Behind Enemy Lines. Good lord, I thought Canadians were nice, I didn’t realize you got eaten by a pitbull if you lost a game of street hockey.
The Dances with Wolves self importance award: Montreal Canadiens
Leave it to the Canadiens to make their entire last season/off season a dramatic novel. As Dances with Wolves uses subtitles for the Lakota language spoken in the film, Montreal wins also wins this award as this video is the Dances with Wolves of pump up videos at almost 5 minutes.
Chairman of the Bored Me to Tears Award: Vancouver Canucks for “We Are All Canucks”
Running through the set of Twilight with one of the Sedin twins seems like cruel and unusual punishment, but this one really didn’t move the needle at all when it comes to excitement. Are Western Canadiens too proud to get excited? Either way, this one put me to sleep.
Short Film award: New Jersey Devils for “Ken the Announcer”
Who doesn’t love a good announcer? Plus bonus points for dressing up for work and driving into Newark even though you didn’t have to. Shows heart.
Best Action Award: Ottawa Senators for “Ready”
The only guys I know on the Sens is Karlsson and Bobby Ryan. The only Sens fan I know was a back up goalie our hockey team had in college. That’s it, yet for whatever reason, I wanna watch this team play this year because their training looked brutal. Sidenote, I took a UFC boxing class last week so the pain of that might be influencing the decision to choose them because that shit sucked.
Funniest Overall Video: San Jose Sharks for “Presentation”
Short, funny, one of your premier players in the league and a funny old goalie? Gary Bettman’s marketing wet dream. It’s a homer pick by me but you’d be surprised how many teams don’t make commercials or put their stuff out on YouTube. Which reminds me:
Biggest Let Down: Nashville Predators
Yes, that’s T-Swift doing a video for the Predators. In 2009. You just acquired PK Subban and one of your players is married to Carrie Underwood, yet this year? Nothing. Be better, Nashville.
Best Overall Video: Toronto Maple Leafs for “Stand Witness”
While I think the word “Witness” was killed by LeBron, this ad makes you forget that the Leafs haven’t won in forever by reminding you via an old man that they haven’t won in forever. Some real slick cinematography and unlike some of these other teams that have won in recent years, they have a proud tradition without rubbing it in your face **cough cough Habs cough cough** so I have to give them the top award. Couple that with the fact this was released the day Auston Matthews scored 4 goals in his debut? Goosebumps.
So there you have it! The best videos of the beginning of the season. Later this week/weekend I will be doing a classic NHL commercial blog, but I will leave you with by far the worst video for the new NHL season….done by the Anaheim Ducks.