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NHL could lose Air Canada sponsorship over headshots


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#1 sixer

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 06:55 AM

This could seriously force the NHL to really crackdown if Air Canada and other sponsors follow suit.

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The NHL could lose a key sponsor if it doesn’t immediately act on violent headshots during games, Canadian news agency QMI is reporting.

The report comes in the wake of a controversial hit that sent Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty to hospital with a severe concussion Tuesday night.

According to QMI, Air Canada — one of the league’s biggest corporate backers — is threatening to pull its support if action isn’t taken to prevent what it calls recent career- and life-threatening headshots during games.

Denis Vandal, the airline’s director of marketing/communication, wrote a “strongly worded letter” addressed to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, saying “from a corporate social responsibility standpoint, it is becoming increasingly difficult to associate our brand with sports events which could lead to serious and irresponsible accidents.”

“Unless the NHL takes immediate action with serious suspension to the players in question to curtail these life-threatening injuries, Air Canada will withdraw its sponsorship of hockey.”

Vandal wrote that the airline is “very concerned with the state of hockey today,” and is having difficulty rationalizing its sponsorship “unless the NHL takes responsibility to protect both the players and the integrity of the game,” according to QMI.

On Wednesday, NHL senior vice-president Mike Murphy said Chara will face no further league discipline for the hit on Pacioretty, which he called “a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface.”

Chara was given a penalty for interference and a game misconduct, but Murphy said a review of video of the hit revealed there “was no basis for supplemental discipline.”

As of Wednesday, Pacioretty was in hospital for observation with a severe concussion and fractured fourth cervical vertebra.

The incident was the latest in a season that has had many talking about head hits and injuries, including the concussion that has sidelined Sidney Crosby since the January 1st Winter Classic.

With files from Canadian Press

UPDATE - Follow up Article - March 10th
Air Canada threat to pull NHL sponsorship could open floodgates

Edited by sixer, 11 March 2011 - 07:21 AM.


#2 stevkrause

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:33 AM

This could seriously force the NHL to really crackdown if Air Canada and other sponsors follow suit.

My link

The NHL could lose a key sponsor if it doesn’t immediately act on violent headshots during games, Canadian news agency QMI is reporting.

The report comes in the wake of a controversial hit that sent Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty to hospital with a severe concussion Tuesday night.

According to QMI, Air Canada — one of the league’s biggest corporate backers — is threatening to pull its support if action isn’t taken to prevent what it calls recent career- and life-threatening headshots during games.

Denis Vandal, the airline’s director of marketing/communication, wrote a “strongly worded letter” addressed to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, saying “from a corporate social responsibility standpoint, it is becoming increasingly difficult to associate our brand with sports events which could lead to serious and irresponsible accidents.”

“Unless the NHL takes immediate action with serious suspension to the players in question to curtail these life-threatening injuries, Air Canada will withdraw its sponsorship of hockey.”

Vandal wrote that the airline is “very concerned with the state of hockey today,” and is having difficulty rationalizing its sponsorship “unless the NHL takes responsibility to protect both the players and the integrity of the game,” according to QMI.

On Wednesday, NHL senior vice-president Mike Murphy said Chara will face no further league discipline for the hit on Pacioretty, which he called “a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface.”

Chara was given a penalty for interference and a game misconduct, but Murphy said a review of video of the hit revealed there “was no basis for supplemental discipline.”

As of Wednesday, Pacioretty was in hospital for observation with a severe concussion and fractured fourth cervical vertebra.

The incident was the latest in a season that has had many talking about head hits and injuries, including the concussion that has sidelined Sidney Crosby since the January 1st Winter Classic.

With files from Canadian Press

A Director of Marketing acting like a pissed off fan and pulling the "I'm going to take my toys and leave" response... awesome...

With that said, the league needs to address a LOT about game integrity and safety and maybe this will be good in the long run for Air Canada to essentially throw a tantrum, due to the weight they hold, and maybe it will actually open some eyes, but it's motive is off base and seems very reactionary to the Pacioretty hit...

Ends justify the means though maybe?

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#3 Wing Across The Pond

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:53 AM

A Director of Marketing acting like a pissed off fan and pulling the "I'm going to take my toys and leave" response... awesome...

With that said, the league needs to address a LOT about game integrity and safety and maybe this will be good in the long run for Air Canada to essentially throw a tantrum, due to the weight they hold, and maybe it will actually open some eyes, but it's motive is off base and seems very reactionary to the Pacioretty hit...

Ends justify the means though maybe?

I think its more a, one too many without any action to stop it, kind of deal. I mean I bet most people in Canada are a little pissed about the Crosby injury, not to mention companies that sponsor the league. That effectively means they endorse everything the league does and agrees with them. Maybe the person in question is a Habs fan and so took particular execption to this hit, but that's not to say everyone involved at Air Canada is. Probably just the length of time it took to sort out the injury that drew most attention to it. I think this is a good move and should hopefully kick the league into gear when dealing with things like this, be it equipment changes (which Ken and Mickey seem to go on about a lot recently) or proper suspensions.

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#4 CaliWingsNut

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:07 AM

Who needs Air Canada anyways.

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#5 evilzyme

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:43 AM

Who needs Air Canada anyways.


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#6 vladdy16

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:48 AM

They are well within their rights to spend or not spend their money as they see fit; I just find it interesting that they've taken this stance on this particular hit and announced this publicly, rather than just making a phone call to Gary. That's the way I would handle it.
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#7 Hockeytown_Ryan

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:56 AM

A Director of Marketing acting like a pissed off fan and pulling the "I'm going to take my toys and leave" response... awesome...

With that said, the league needs to address a LOT about game integrity and safety and maybe this will be good in the long run for Air Canada to essentially throw a tantrum, due to the weight they hold, and maybe it will actually open some eyes, but it's motive is off base and seems very reactionary to the Pacioretty hit...

Ends justify the means though maybe?


THIS...

I agree instead of making statements threatening to pull sponsorship, maybe they should help look into solutions for the problem and if satisfactory
"Fixes" - (relative term I guess) can't be agreed upon...then bail..

If I am a investor/sponsor of something as big as the NHL... I would try and help make it better when issues like this come up. does it not seem like Air Canada gives a s*** about the sport? they have some of the best engineers working for them..... help the NHL out and make it a brand worth investing in.

#8 egroen

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:05 AM

I predict angry Montreal fans will soon burn the city to the ground.

Could you imagine if Steve Moore played for the Canadiens?
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#9 ogreslayer

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:13 AM

Hmmmm.....Any chance that several of the head honchos with Air Canada are Habs fans based on this reponse? Oh I'm sure that's just a coincidence right?

#10 GSBrooks13

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:23 AM

Headliner on TSN's NHL page is about this and trying to get a police investigation amongst other things.. which I find just stupid. Some people may not agree with Mike Murphy or Colin Campbell, but like it or not these guys make their living making these kinds of decisions. Anyone at all who is watching that hit from a non-habs fan perspective is going to be able to see why there wasnt a suspension, even if it was borederline. In fact, last night I showed my brother (who rarely watches any hockey at all) the hit and told him Chara wouldn't be suspended and his response was "of course not, its not Chara's fault that the rink is designed that way." The thought of Air Canada pulling out makes me think they are run but a bunch of pissed off Habs fans or they were looking for an excuse to pull out anyways.

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#11 egroen

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:23 AM

Hmmmm.....Any chance that several of the head honchos with Air Canada are Habs fans based on this reponse? Oh I'm sure that's just a coincidence right?

Or that dude from Parliamant saying the government will soon have to step in to regulate the NHL. I also had fun picturing Mounties on the ice, in addition to the officials.
Red Kelly #4 and Larry Aurie #6 belong in the rafters!!!

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#12 GSBrooks13

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:26 AM

Or that dude from Parliamant saying the government will soon have to step in to regulate the NHL. I also had fun picturing Mounties on the ice, in addition to the officials.


.. Will they ride horses?! :hehe:

Then the NHL really could be a circus.

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#13 ogreslayer

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:29 AM

.. Will they ride horses?! :hehe:

Then the NHL really could be a circus.


Yup, I think so...

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#14 stevkrause

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:31 AM

Or that dude from Parliamant saying the government will soon have to step in to regulate the NHL. I also had fun picturing Mounties on the ice, in addition to the officials.

hahahahahah, awesome! The thought of Mounties on horses, patrolling the ice, just made me audibly laugh, or "LOL" if you will!

Hmmmm.....Any chance that several of the head honchos with Air Canada are Habs fans based on this reponse? Oh I'm sure that's just a coincidence right?

my thought as well

All I have to say about Holland and our off-season:

Here in this thread

Here in this one as well

Here in this one too

and finally

Here


Holland is a damn good GM. period.


#15 commadore183

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:42 AM

Good, maybe this will make the league take players' health more seriously. Chara should have gotten a game, at least, for shoving Pacioretty, whether to get away from him or to put his head into the stantion. It was stupid, careless and could have had fatal consequences. The league doesn't really give a s*** about headshots, what with piddly suspensions of 4 or fewer games. Just absolutely stupid of the league and someone will probably die before they finally wake up and take this s*** seriously.

This is the same as the Bertuzzi/Moore incident. Sure, Bert and Chara didn't mean to break their opponents' necks, but Bert got crucified for it by damn near everyone (as he should), but Chara gets nothing from non-Canadiens fans? Hypocracy. Both are the result of stupid, mindless decisions and both had the victims badly injured.

To simply take the blame off of Chara because of "poor rink design" is silly. ALL PLAYER know that there's that barrier between the benches, they pass by it damn near a hundred times a game. If Chara had simply hit Pacioretty but the force of the hit caused Pacioretty to hit that stantion, then I wouldn't have as big of a problem as I do now, but since Chara PUSHED Pacioretty (for whatever reason), the poor guy has a severe concussion and a broken vertebrae in his neck. Remember, if Chara hadn't pushed Pacioretty, the Canadien player would have had a sore hip at worse.

It's disgusting how the NHL handled it. Bettman and his cronies need to go before the league can rise from "laughing stock" to "semi-legitimate" in the NA sporting world.
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#16 Rikadyn

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 12:36 PM

They are well within their rights to spend or not spend their money as they see fit; I just find it interesting that they've taken this stance on this particular hit and announced this publicly, rather than just making a phone call to Gary. That's the way I would handle it.


They're probally smart enough to know, just talking to The Troll isn't enough to get anything done.

#17 WizardOfOz30

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 12:46 PM

They are well within their rights to spend or not spend their money as they see fit; I just find it interesting that they've taken this stance on this particular hit and announced this publicly, rather than just making a phone call to Gary. That's the way I would handle it.

See Mario Lemieux, it finally hit close enough to home for them.

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#18 Crymson

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 01:02 PM

Hmmmm.....Any chance that several of the head honchos with Air Canada are Habs fans based on this reponse? Oh I'm sure that's just a coincidence right?


The Leafs play at the the Air Canada Center.

#19 Electrophile

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 01:07 PM

This could have huge ramifications for the NHL if Air Canada indeed goes through with this. I'm of two opinions: One, I think headshots need to seriously be addressed in this sport, and the fact that to date it really hasn't, frankly pisses me off. Two, I think Air Canada is adopting a wee bit of a spoiled brat attitude, and while their motivation for doing this might be 100% genuine, the way they've gone about doing it is very juvenile. There's far more professional ways to tell someone that you're on the verge of pulling their sponsorship.

Since all Gary Bettman seems to give a damn about is the bottom line, this might actually get him off his tuchus and doing something.

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#20 esteef

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 01:08 PM

Good. This just shows how "great" of a job Bettman is doing that one of the major league sponsors is threatening to pull it's money because the league is run so poorly. Nice work Gary!

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