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Hockey’s PR Problem
By: Mike Bush
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Last night, the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns, but the biggest ovation of the night wasn’t directed at either the home team or the visitors. It was saved for the Refs.

In case you’ve been living under a sports-neglecting rock for the past few weeks, you’re no doubt aware that the NFL and its group of referees were locked in a labor negotiation that saw replacement referees used to officiate NFL games.

The results were... awful?*

Across major cities in the US, as the NFL drew comparisons to the pre-planned, athletically entertaining but ultimately predetermined action of Pro-Wrestling, there was one organization that had a major opportunity to jump in and seize fan interest (and disposable income) right as the NFL made a mockery of itself.

That’s the NHL... who should have been opening up the preseason and getting ready for hockey!

Instead, the NHL is locked in the midst of its own labor negotiations, and there’s no virtually no media coverage. Anywhere.

On ESPN.com’s homepage today, there are 5 articles discussing the return of the NFL Referees, and no fewer than 15 articles discussing the NFL. And, there’s 1 article mentioning that the NHL just canceled the entire preseason.

The NHL has a serious problem on its hands.

No one is talking about hockey.

*There’s too many stories to really tell here to be believed. Two teams have a pretty legitimate claim that they lost a game as the result of a bad call. One of the replacement refs was apparently fired from the Lingerie Bowl for being incompetent... let that sink in for a minute. One of the replacements was removed from a game he was about to officiate because he was a fan of one of the teams playing, as discovered on Facebook. Another replacement ref was seen crying on the field. And some folks are calling for a “Replacement Ref Real World” to be made. (note: only one of those things isn’t true).

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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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