Hockey Needs Its Own Scandal (No, Not This One)

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It is practically a truism that hockey isn’t considered a “major” sport anymore. The reasons for this (perceived) decline are many, and hotly debated. I do not seek to re-create that debate here; I am about solutions, my friends. One of the keys to being considered a major sport in the U.S. is to keep the sports world talking–even when there aren’t any games to talk about. The NFL has mastered this concept, essentially having gone year-round what with spring camp, the draft, rookie camp, minicamp, Girl Scout camp, and Rocky Horror camp.

But what really keeps people talking during the dead periods on the sports calendar? Scandals. And I’m talking about something a little meatier than a couple of drunken Staals. (If you’re going to get drunk and raise hell in Minnesota, boys, the standard has already been set with Fred Smoot’s sex boat).

Sports radio hacks need something to bombast over. Baseball has given them steroids as bloviation fodder for the better part of this decade. Slow news day? Take some calls on Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire. The NBA, when players aren’t brawling at strip clubs, whacking off to porn in their cars, or getting very publicly and nastily divorced, helpfully provides a point-shaving referee. NASCAR has teams getting fined and suspended every other week for making illegal modifications to cars. Heck, even golf realized it wasn’t getting enough mileage out of the Tiger-is-a-daddy-even-though-his-own-daddy’s-dead story, and drummed up a drug scandal.

In the entertainment world, the only bad pub is no pub at all. That’s why the NHL needs its own headline-grabbing, talk-radio-dominating, blogosphere-consuming scandal. With the right kind of scandal, the NHL could get regular quality time on PTI, or at least Around the Horn.

The NHL has had some experience with scandals in the past. There was the juicy Mike Danton/David Frost story, and the sadder Sheldon Kennedy affair. Both of those stories got a lot of media mileage. But the beast needs constant feeding, and leftovers only last so long (until about 11 p.m., at my house). Some suggestions to get the mythical casual sports fan talking about hockey again (preferably in atone of ill-informed outrage):

Linesman corruption. Sure, it seems like a ripoff of the NBA. But just imagine all the color analysts going over slow-mo high-def video to find out if B.C. native Shane Heyer is tilting his offsides calls in favor of the Canucks. Routine whistles will now be the most scrutinized moments in a game. Lindy Ruff may literally explode, and demand instant replay of every single tag-up. Commissioner Gary Bettman will have to step in and appoint neutral linesmen from the Ukraine.

Ice girls give away more than T-shirts. The Four-Letter will go wall-to-wall, sending Jeremy Schaap for live reporting, when a 12-city prostitution ring centered around various teams’ Ice Girls is uncovered by an FBI sting. The Feds were tipped off by a craigslist post titled: “Living with an Ice Queen? We won’t give you the Cold Shoulder.” A woman identified in court documents only as “Ashley from New Jersey” is alleged to be the high-powered madame behind the group, which specializes in offering an exclusive “Zamboni” service.

NHL owners launder Al-Qaeda money. Nearly every team has a “majority owner,” or “managing partner” who is the public face of the franchise. Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Dave Checketts, Chuck James Dolan, etc. But all of these guys have minority partners, and nobody knows who they really are. As it turns out, Super Mario and the Great One have unknowingly (or so they claim) partnered with financiers of jihad, who are taking ticket money from unsuspecting hockey-lovers and turning it into IEDs and space heaters (for the damp, chilly caves where the terrorists are hiding. Duh.).

High-profile player comes out of closet. The NBA got weeks of free publicity out of John Amaechi, a retired player no one had ever heard of, declaring his homosexuality. Imagine if an actual NHL star turned out to be gay! Publicly gay, I mean. Hockey is the ideal sport for an active player to come out. The sense of team and camaraderie is strong, with players accustomed to sticking up for one other, even if they don’t like each other. And other than a few diving Europeans, no one questions hockey players’ manliness. One “faggot” tossed at Sidney Crosby or Rick Nash would be met with swift and painful retribution. Arenas are filled to the rafters with legions of new, neatly dressed fans, as the NHL becomes the gay-male counterpart to the WNBA. (Plus, I hear that missing front teeth provides an . . . interesting . . . sensation during certain activities.)

Jordin Tootoo busted in seal-clubbing incident. Shockingly, part of Tootoo’s offseason training regimen, as well as a supplemental income source, is leading seal-clubbing expeditions to the Far North. This time, some idiot took cell phone video of Tootoo clubbing a baby seal to death with an Easton hockey stick, and then using the dead seal to club another seal to death. The outrage intensifies as fans recall that Tootoo’s game sticks are made by CCM.

Your own ideas will be forwarded to the league office directly, I am sure, by the spies who lurk here at MYFO.

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11 Comments

  1. If anyone’s coming out of the closet in the NHL, it’s NOT gonna be Sidney. I’d say Briere. You heard it here first!

  2. Pam, his wife and 3 kids might want to disagree.

    There’s a reason why Rod Brind’Amour still keeps his body in that good of shape. And it’s sure as hell not for hockey. He enjoys looking at the youngins in that locker room.

  3. The day the ice girl scandal breaks is the day the NHL reclaims its spot in the “top 4” again! Let’s get those girls some coke and blow a wad towards a hipper image!

  4. What if an assistant coach or a really famous ex-player’s wife were caught in a mob-run sports gambling ring?

    You’re right, not believable enough.

  5. Couldn’t we slip the ice girls a twenty to have some hot lesbo sex in a bathroom stall and then get in a fight?

  6. Having a wife and kids didn’t stop Jim McGreevey

  7. Having a wife and kids didn’t stop Jim McGreevey
    Or Rosie ODonnell

  8. I’m guessing that Adam Oates comes out in his HOF speech.

  9. Forget Tootoo clubbbing seals – Ive said it elsewhere and I’ll say it again – a coked-up Sid the Kid bludgeoning a hooker with an Easton Synergy at Mario’s house. That would be the ultimate. Other suggestions include:

    – Sean Avery-Elisha Cuthbert sex tape released on interweeb

    – Bettman caught pilfering funds from the league or getting kickbacks from the group buying the Preds (please please please)

    – Eklund turns out to be Kevin Lowe

  10. […] The day the ice girl scandal breaks is the day the NHL reclaims its spot in the “top 4″ again! Let’s get those girls some coke and blow a wad towards a hipper image!5 […]

  11. […] not surprising; I’ve bemoaned before the NHL’s total apathy toward generating controversy. How does the league expect to get […]


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