You can take the NHL away but you can't take the sport of hockey away from those who love it. That's the message from Nike in this fantastic spot that features cameos from Steven Stamkos, P.K. Subban and even a somewhat surprising appearance from Alex Ovechkin.
The message is perfect. Hockey, the sport, belongs to those who love it. It doesn't belong to the greedy minds behind the lockout – owners and players included. Take away the NHL? Fine, go ahead. We'll find other ways to play and follow the sport.
The highlight of the ad might be the line from Tessa Bonhomme, Olympic gold medalist for Team Canada. Her line saying that if they take away Canada she'll just go to Russia is followed superbly by a small boy saying he'd rather not, but he will. Alex Ovechkin then chimes in, speaking in Russian, "Smart thinking, kid."
It's sort of strange to see Ovie bash his home, especially considering he threatened to never return to the NHL and remain in the KHL, but the comedic timing is perfect. It's also a bit odd to see NHL players in this spot considering they are 50 percent responsible for the lockout at hand that's causing the sport to be taken away at an NHL level. Still, overall, the ad is a great representative for what most passionate hockey fans are going through.
Thank you, Nike, for making an ad that perfectly sums up what most NHL fans have been thinking since the lockout started. Hockey fans love their sport, regardless about what state the NHL is in. Those who play it will continue to play it, even if it requires frozen-meat pucks. Those who watch it will find new teams, leagues and avenues to follow their favorite sport. Those who write about it, myself included, rejoice in the fact there's been several enjoyable stories of fans, and even companies, banding together to support the game we all love.
Get over yourself, NHL. You may control the NHL, but the sport, the great sport of hockey, belongs to us.