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Gross: NHL Ad Patches Start Appearing — But One Team Won’t Be Wearing Them

Just in case you’ve forgotten, NHL teams will be permitted to wear ad patches on their jerseys this season (in addition to the helmet ads they’ve been wearing for the past two years). ESPN’s Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski got photos of several of the new jersey ads at Tuesday’s NHLPA Rookie Showcase, where many of the league’s highly touted rookies were wearing their new uniforms.

The most brutal patch is probably the Penguins’, as shown above on right wing Sam Poulin (photo by Greg Wyshynski). Really has the feel of a practice jersey, no?

Here are some of the other advertisements that were on display:

Incidentally, that Capitals ad looks a lot bigger and more obtrusive than the Photoshopped version they showed when they first announced the ad deal last year:

Announced version from 2021 on the left; actual version on the right.

If you find all of this depressing, I’m right there with ya. But here’s a bit of good news: At least one team has no immediate plans to add an ad patch. That news comes from the NHL Network’s Tom Gazzola, who says the Oilers’ jerseys — and their home helmets! — are staying ad-free, at least for now:

I don’t know about you, but the Oilers just became my favorite NHL team.

Meanwhile, one other bit of uni news from that rookie event: Senators rookie Jake Sanderson was wearing the team’s “EM” memorial patch for former owner Eugene Melnyk. The team added that patch back on April 1, but their season ended four weeks after that, so they’re apparently carrying over the patch to this season:

NHL preseason games begin on Sept. 24, with the regular season set to begin on Oct. 7.

(Big thanks to Greg Wyshynski for documenting this, and also for using the word “ad” in his tweets.)

Comments (29)

    Somewhat ironic that Arizona is wearing a Gila River ad patch now that they’re no longer playing at the arena with same sponsored name. At least the Golden Knights ad is almost camouflaged with the jersey but still an ad nonetheless.

    Not so ironic – Gila River is no longer the corporate shill name for the arena. Appears that the naming rights agreement expired, and they were outbid by the Desert Diamond Casino.

    Plenty of other teams’ rookies were at the showcase…obviously if they don’t have an ad it just means they don’t have one yet. Nice that the Oilers announced they won’t have one. Hope the Habs keep it similarly clean

    Will someone please educate these reporters on the difference between a sponsorship and an advertisement? How many more careless and lazy writers must we suffer? -C.

    It’s the erosion of true journalism, slowly but surely. Often as not, these are simply cut-and-paste jobs straight from the team’s PR department. Not sure if they’re too lazy to do anything else, or don’t really know the difference; but fact is, anything that doesn’t slobber all over the team’s storyline – true or not – and the media outlet risks losing access to the team they’re supposed to cover.

    It is hard to imagine someone being a professional writer and not knowing the difference between a sponsorship and an advertisement.
    In the current age of journalism access means a lot, if teams are using the term “sponsor” reporters might be given a nudge by the team to call it that also, or they are just smart enough to know teams prefer that word and want to play nice.
    Amateur teams that need funding to operate have sponsors, professional teams with millions in revenue sell ads.

    I think you make a good point, Greg. As much as teams have controlled access and become media-unfriendly, a lot of reporters are going to use the teams’ term just to keep from ruffling any feathers. As a former reporter myself, I can tell you that sometimes you gotta go along to get along, unfortunately.

    As someone who is primarily a soccer fan, I generally think that a good-looking ad/sponsor improves a jersey. However, in this case I feel like I am with the UW majority – ads on a hockey sweater just look wrong.

    I’m not a guy who wears the jerseys of my favorite teams to the stadiums, or the sports bars, or around town. I’m 67 years old and I think they look kind of ridiculous on anyone too old to be a player (and yes, I also think that baseball managers and coaches ought not to wear team uniforms, either). Even so, what I find particularly objectionable is that, for sport teams that already use advertising such as soccer clubs, a fan cannot buy a jersey without the ad. Some fans want to wear the jersey as an expression of their allegiance, but then they must also pay for the privilege of displaying the advertising. And of course, advertisers come and go, so your branded jersey comes with a logo that has a built-in and to-be-determined expiration date. Just let fans buy a jersey in the team’s colors and uniform style without the ad!

    I am with you. I do not need or want an authentic jersey. First of all I wouldn’t spend the $, second where or why would I wear it? I am a grown adult (in the age range of the players parents now, not the players any more)
    For example, I think it is ridiculous to see so many 40 & 50 year old men walking around town in Gronk jerseys… Great player, I understand your a fan of his play and his team, but you are currently in the supermarket, you’re 20 years older than him & much older than his 18 year old frat boy schtick.
    I support my favorite teams & my hometown city. I have plenty of team logo gear, like t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc. No need to buy an actual jersey outside of memorabilia or decoration.

    Not a big team gear wearer…too old for that look. But when I do, I either remove the offending ad (if possible) or I simply skip buying the item. Those companies aren’t paying me a dime to promote their products, why would I willingly wear their ads on my clothing??

    I of course can’t stand the jersey ads, but man that mock-up of the Caps ad would’ve been MUCH more bearable than the one in use.

    I hate the way that all these look. I hate the ads.

    What I hate about the ads is that they all come on, what looks like, a patch that gets heat pressed on. Call it a “partnership” all you want, but when the patch looks like a stiff wind could blow it off, it’s clearly a “we paid for a patch, we patched it on” situation. I get that it would cost more, but it would look so much better if the “patch” was the logo sewn directly into the fabric of the jersey, or if it was the like the Caps mock-up, where it looks like a rubber-ish logo that was heat pressed on.

    I felt like the fact ads going on to the premier league for each respective sport was below the league, but having a crackerjack patch on them really is awful.

    This is what I noticed most about the ads here–they just look so cheap and tacky. Any ad, in my opinion, is going to immediately degrade the classiness of a uniform, but these big squares that look about to get tattered at the edges are pathetic. I am very much not a fan of Vegas, but I will admit theirs at least looks the most professional.

    I am wonder if it might be that some will be applied more nicely later on. Might these have been slapped on with short notice to get them out there on these rookies? But it’s not like many people are watching, so who would really care?

    I’m always struck by how much more obtrusive advertising is when it contains words and not just shapes or symbols. The little cup on the Capitals’ advertising patch wouldn’t look that awful if it were the only thing and didn’t have the company name there.

    A new low? Perhaps. But sadly, I’m sure we’re a long, long way from them hitting rock bottom. Which sucks.

    Just wait. Before too long, NHL jerseys will look like Euro hockey jerseys or those billboards the WNBA players wear.

    Yeah we can’t even see rock bottom from here. See most soccer leagues where the team name and location are of almost no importance and the primary focus is the primary ad partner of the team so much so that you’d think the team was called “Alaska Airlines” or “Xbox”. See the Mexican baseball league where hardly any space is left on the jerseys to squeeze in more ads.

    I’m curious what the Yankees will do when ads soon become the norm. They are so notoriously particular about team aesthetics. Yet (particularly now that they are in a new era of stability and success) I would think they would have tons of suitors throwing massive offers at them.

    I often wonder why there aren’t more ownership/management groups (we shall see how long any hockey holdouts last without ads) that are satisfied with the current state of their finances and are involved in the sport in large part for love of the game (of course it’s a lucrative business, but why choose sports over any other lucrative industry unless you love sports) and just decides that they’d rather not sully the uniforms with ads and either leaves it be or looks for some other venue to make a little extra cash.

    There are fewer holdouts willing to forgo cash and do the right thing because these are generally billionaires who want more money. If they can wring out a few dozen dollars more to desecrate their team’s uniform, so be it. They are businesspeople first, fans second (if fans at all). If they can monetize another part of their asset for their own profit, they will.

    Let’s just rip off the bandaid and mix the team sponsorship style of japanese baseball with the unis from Mexican baseball. The Google Ad Blocker Giants vs the Ford Motor Co Tigers featuring uniforms of an unknown base color because every square inch is ads.

    Just get it over with!

    Another thing I wish about uni ads is that leagues would offer incentives or some kind of supplementation package for anyone that uses their uni space for a local business or small business or a charity/nonprofit. Obviously some markets could do better on the local angle (San Francisco, New York, come to kind) which is why I’d suggest supplementing a team that isn’t lucky enough to be in the same geographical area as Google, or Citibank, or Nike. But the ideal would really be incentivizing for smaller businesses that are better for the community or businesses that do more positive things for the world.

    It looks very much like an industrial friday night league. Next up: baseball and the no-we-will-never-do-this NFL.

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