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In association with the 2011 All Star game, the NHL rolled out a new initiative that put the league in an unfamiliar light. With the help of comic book writer and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics Stan Lee, the duo launched a super hero personality for every team in the NHL. During one of the intermissions in the game, these super hero personalities were showcased in a short film that brought each of them to life.

guardian

I suppose that this idea was green lighted by the NHL in attempt to attract those that grew up around the comic book era and the young fans that still read the cartoons. Whatever the case might’ve been, the project took a quick dive once the guardians were being introduced due to lack of acceptance through most of the NHL fan base. By the time of the release of the short film, the guardians had taken enough abuse from the online community that could’ve lasted a lifetime. The overall success of the project seemed to be high in the Youth/Toddler sections but for everyone else, I’m going assume that it greatly underachieved. If the end goal was to only attract the youth fan base, one could claim that the mission was accomplished.

Another thing that I would assume is that the amount of time and resources spent on overall were pretty high. From illustrations to interactive websites, this venture crossed all the t’s and dotted every i. I commend the joint effort between the NHL and POW! Entertainment Inc. The idea was very thorough and I liked the fact that it was a bit out in left field. But throughout the entire release, it didn’t match up to the hype.

For those of us that want to move on to next year, let me suggest my own solution for reaching out to the fan base.

I propose that the National Hockey League target the services of German film score composer Hans Zimmer. Mr. Zimmer has a wide range of talents and has created some notable soundtracks in his career. Even in the event that you do not recognize the name, you’ve certainly heard his musical creations. He has created pieces for movies such as Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight, Gladiator, and Sherlock Holmes among many others.  

The NHL needs to realize that when you hold special events, you want to try to capture as much of the fan as you can. The visual and emotional ties to the game will take care of itself. However, the NHL should examine the opportunity to capture the fans’ auditory senses. By creating audio pieces to go along the visual stimulation of weekend, fans are more likely to encode the experience in their long-term memory. Those of us that were dedicated hockey fans in the 90’s and at the turn of the century are living examples of this fact in that every time we hear former hockey themes (Hockey Theme 1 & Hockey Theme 2), we quickly recall favorite series, players, and announcers.

In this new proposed case, the goal is to tie in a new brand of NHL music to the game so that when a fan plays these songs, they immediately think of their love of hockey and the teams that they follow. The amount of tracks created would be broken down into two-five track EPs. The first EP would be released in the upcoming months before the All Star Game and used as background noise in advertisement spots. The second EP would be released on the day of the All Star Game. Creating these miniature soundtracks for the league would give them another item to sell before, during, and after the big event.

Depending on the total cost of the project, the end goal wouldn’t necessarily be to turn a big profit. Instead, use this opportunity to grow the game. Without hesitation, I would recommend that the first EP would be released to the fans at absolutely no financial cost (digitally at least). The second EP would be sold at the market rate of $4.99. A portion of the proceeds from the second EP then would be invested into development projects such as the Let’s Move campaign.

If you recall during the commercial time outs in the Raleigh All Star Game, we saw a public service announcement made by First Lady Michelle Obama in support of the  Let’s Move Campaign. By investing a portion of the proceeds to this campaign, it not only increases the development of hockey in our communities but it also counters the NFL’s Play 60 campaign.

The end result could be a win-win situation not only for the league, but also for the development of hockey in America. Either way, the “NHL Soundtrack” idea is a more stable alternative that can potentially connect with a greater percentage of the National Hockey League fan base – which is something I’m sure that everyone would enjoy.