Friday, March 11, 2011

How's This for Intimidation?

Air Canada, perturbed by the recent spate of head bashing in the National Hockey League (NHL), issued this statement: "It is becoming increasingly difficult to associate our brand with sports events which could lead to serious and irresponsible accidents..."

How did NHL commissioner Gary Bettman react to Air Canada's $6-million annual sponsorship? Did he even promise to look into the mischief that has devastated, among others, the Lindros and Crosby families? Unfortunately, he took the low road by threatening to take the league's business to another airline.

Tim Horton's echoed the concerns of Air Canada. Will the coffee emporium feel the full Bettman wrath as he bans Tim Bits from the locker rooms? Will he refuse to roll up the rim? We can already hear coffee mugs rattling with fear.

Via Rail joined the demand that these young men be better protected. Dare hockey fans await a more positive reaction from Mr. B.?

The following Saturday, Don Cherry, dressed as an overweight leprechaun, made his usual bombastic Hockey Night in Canada appearance. Waxing righteous, he emoted in his wearisome trademark bully-boy fashion. He castigated Air Canada and Via Rail.

Through bluster and the usual muddled chatter with his straight man, an opinion got through -- How dare these corporations complain. They know nothing about hockey. They should shut up, and keep paying the bills.

Go, Don, go. Please, far away.