Canucks kick off apology campaign with ‘Something was missing’  [VIDEO]

On Sunday, the Canucks announced their plans for a weekend “celebrating the passion and support of their loyal fans”, (i.e. a forgiveness campaign). According to a release, the home opening back-to-back, which sees visits from the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers, will be speckled with overtures to Canuck nation, such as $1 hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, and soft drinks — the apologetic equivalent of “flowers and chocolate” for the sports fan.

As well, the first game will culminate in a “Jersey off our backs” event, merchandise will be 50% off (which is still well above cost, but whatever), and one lucky season ticket-holder will be brought to ice level to drop the puck for a ceremonial faceoff.

And if none of that moves you, perhaps the new video, titled “Something was missing”, will do the trick. The eighty-second spot, which will likely also find its way onto the Jumbotron opening night, features shots of empty streets, swings, and pub patios, and a slam poetry voiceover extolling the many virtues of Vancouver life while noting a conspicuous absence.

That absence, of course, was fans with a hockey team to cheer for. Have a gander at the video.

Well, it’s definitely an improvement on the 7th man.

But here’s the question: do you find this video as inspiring as it’s intended to be? Or does it make you feel something else? Angry? Patronized? Dirty?

Put me down for all three. My biggest issue with this video is the same issue I have with the apology letters teams are sending out, not to mention all of these other attempts to get fans to leave the lockout in the past: the NHL knows they’ll work. They always did, too. The lockout doesn’t happen if the league isn’t confident that fan loyalty can be won back with an inspiring video and some cheap food.

The NHL left. They’ve been gone for four months, and now they’re back, being sweet, saying touching things, offering cheap eats and trying to make us feel good about the fact that most of us are going to take them back without a backlash. But, while I can’t think of a backlash outside of a boycott, which only further deprives me of the thing from which I was so angry to be deprived in the first place, I don’t feel good about it.

And their attempts to touch me so soon after coming home just make me feel dirty.

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29 comments

  1. Cam Charron
    January 13, 2013

    Here’s a theory:

    The competent hockey operations team got to do some marketing work for a change, and we get this video, which is kind of good.

    Meanwhile, the team marketing department, which is objectively awful, outwardly embarrassing and one of the reasons I stopped cheering for the team, got to do a hockey ops move and signed Cam Barker.

    Legit?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 13, 2013

      Job trade Sunday!

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    • akidd
      January 13, 2013

      c’mon,you don’t like the marketing?!? “we are all canucks” and “ring of honour” didn’t make you feel warm and tingly? too subtle for ya? half price hats? jerseys? not good enough? that fan dropping the puck won’t get you teary-eyed? you’re a hard man, cam:)

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    • Zach Morris
      January 14, 2013

      One way the whole “we’re sorry” thing fails is that the fans weren’t missing stadium food, or cheap jerseys; they were missing the game and the players.
      The owners can’t make their players apologize for the lockout, so there’s no chance of extra autograph sessions or skate with a player sessions, or anything like that.
      The owners of the teams don’t have a lot to work with here, and they don’t want to bleed money by giving away free tickets, and they know we were all coming back anyway, so it makes sense this campaign is rubbish.

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    • Nee
      January 14, 2013

      I hope you’re joking about “team marketing” being one of the reasons to stop cheering for the Canucks. Yes, Joey Kenward sucks and the marketing in the community is pretty stiff and predictable, but that wouldn’t affect whether I care about a team.

      I’m guessing the long term abject failure of the franchise is probably the factor with the most weight though. : P And I say this as someone who is still an avid fan.

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  2. Dave
    January 13, 2013

    Only one hockey video makes me feel dirty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrkT8w34Vtw

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  3. Reuben
    January 13, 2013

    At first I was cynical, but that TOTALLY worked on me.

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  4. peanutflower
    January 13, 2013

    Hmm. I’m a proud member of Just Drop It and a firm believer that the NHL and the NHLPA equally are disrespectful to those who ultimately pay their salaries and fill their arenas, but the ice cracked a little watching that video. Pun intended.

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    • peanutflower
      January 13, 2013

      I guess I need to change my avatar…

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  5. hehughes376
    January 13, 2013

    Check out #sharethesilence. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford a ticket for opening night, this would be a great way to let the owners/players know how annoyed fans are and that giveaways, cheap concessions and discounted merchandise don’t really cut it after 4 months away.

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  6. DanD
    January 13, 2013

    In my angrier moments, I was thinking how great of a protest it would be if the majority of people attending the first game spent the first period in the concourse, away from their seats. It would be interesting to see the players playing in front of a mostly empty, silent arena. Of course, it wouldn’t really make a difference.

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    • Zach Morris
      January 14, 2013

      Well, it wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened in the NHL.
      Maple Leafs fans with lower bowl tickets do that every game.

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  7. Zach Morris
    January 13, 2013

    I was one of the fans who felt apathetic about the lockout, but still spent hours each day on hockey websites.

    I couldn’t make it all the way through the video. It makes me feel patronised.

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  8. YoYoYosh!
    January 13, 2013

    What would make me feel really good would be half-price tickets for the entirety of this half-the-length season

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  9. akidd
    January 13, 2013

    something was missing. ya, i wonder how that happened?

    well, there’s not a lot of hutzpah missing anyway.

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  10. tj
    January 13, 2013

    I can’t even watch the video. Oh,that ex can send me love notes; do all the right things (on the ice); and grovel for a while longer. Then maybe I’ll open the door. Meantime, I watch from afar, and let the annoyance dissipate.

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  11. G. Mcrae
    January 13, 2013

    Apology video needs more Keslurk. Also, the first time I t saw it, it looked like it was Luongo at the 1:00 mark.

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  12. Nancy
    January 13, 2013

    Pure NHL hockey fans were priced out of regular attendance a long time ago. So we settled for the occasional euphoric reality with a side order of Center Ice. Hmmm…. now denied again in favor of the almighty dollar. True colors appear to be shades of green in a sport that prides itself on passion and team play. You’ll have to earn my trust back with something more authentic than this. I sure did love ya for a long time, though! — Twice bitten, thrice shy…

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  13. jenny wren
    January 13, 2013

    While I admit some gratitude
    Eff you remains my attitude
    Though I’ll be there to see them play
    When I’ll forgive’s is far away

    Corporate sponsors players too
    And most of all the owners knew
    That from their games I’d not abstain
    Although I’ll watch with much disdain

    I wish I could with Whisky Jack
    Just stay away and not come back
    Remove my flags from both my trucks
    And nevermore cheer the Canucks

    Because that’s not how things will be
    I find I am ashamed of me

    PS

    As for this little video
    It should have played four months ago

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    • Kesler's Nose
      January 14, 2013

      isn’t that cute! Has that been Sedin approved?

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  14. Tegeresz
    January 13, 2013

    I will support my local pubs and sports bars by eating and drinkng while I watch on the screens they already pay for.

    I will not spend a cent on anything that goes to the owners. No Jersey, T shirt, ball cap, key fob, and CERTAINLY no tickets. Next year, maybe a jersey for my little boy, maybe.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the owners are entirely to blame for the whole lockout, and they are (at least collectively) all about greed – not what is best for the game or the league.

    I will, however, continue to go to Victoria Royals games (two this week vs. Kamloops), and my friends’ teenage kids’ games.

    I would urge others to do the same, but I know it would be futile. At least I can do something myself , as minuscule as the effect will be.

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  15. Adam Nowek
    January 14, 2013

    What’s with the annoying ‘I’m-not-buying-tickets-or-merchandise’ attitudes? Did you guys not notice that the NHL was a business (which has always been the case, by the way) during the ’92 NHLPA strike?

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    • Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)
      January 14, 2013

      It’s because a lot of people think this lockout was completely unnecessary; that there was no reason for it and that the NHL could have come to an agreement with the players before the season was to start if they had wanted to.

      I do have to admit that their initial negotiating stance of “Agree to this incredibly insulting offer or we lock you out,” does lend credence to the theory.

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      • tom selleck's moustache
        January 14, 2013

        @ Dave

        I agree, and also place the blame almost entirely on the owners as it became pretty evident that this was little more than another cash grab on their part. So, for me, I’m not going to be watching games this season, except for PITB, unless, as already mentioned, I’m at a bar or somewhere where they already have it on.

        The thing is, there’s no disincentive for this type of behaviour unless the fans actually send a message to the owners that this type of thing won’t be tolerated. That’s what happened when MLB had their lockout: the fans stayed away in droves for a long time when the game returned. With that memory in mind, there was a strong motivation by the owners to get a deal done and avoid that scenario from reoccurring and taking another hit to the pocketbook; thus, you didn’t see them screwing around like the NHL did and another lockout was avoided.

        Hockey fans have to have the will power to do the same as our MLB counterparts or you can be sure to see another repeat of this when the new CBA expires. Otherwise, we’re simply enabling bad behaviour.

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        • tj
          January 14, 2013

          Something Ron MacLean said on air recently resonated with what I was sensing, which was the owners really did want to break the union down in some way. Clearly, it backfired. If nothing else, bringing in the pain-in-the-arse Fehr meant the players, most of whom have never held a real job, learned what their rights as ‘workers’ are. Yes, they’re million-dollar workers, but now they realize they do have options and a say in their business (essentially, they’re freelancers who are beholden to their potential employers.). It wouldn’t surprise me if the nature of negations changes in a very tangible way at future like-junctures in bargaining processes.

          Whatever happens, I am very intrigued to observe how the player-owner relationships work themselves out over the years. One day, Crosby will be an owner-type; will he remember this process when he’s negotiating with his worker-bees?

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        • Pukeko
          January 14, 2013

          Tom.
          Don’t cut off your mustache despite your face…
          The television rights have been sold by the ownership of the hockey club for many years to come. Your boycott would deprive you of hockey and those you detest of nothing.
          Whilst I don’t agree with your particular stance on the lockout, I respect your opinion regarding enabling disingenuous ownership (not that I feel the owners in Vancouver to be of that variety- at least with matters germane to the Canucks), but feel that you would be the one to lose with that tact.
          Being a flightless bird, I’m a little light on good ideas, but perhaps letting your wallet do the talking with respect to game tickets and merchandise might be a better option.

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  16. Steve
    January 14, 2013

    If the NHL REALLY wanted to do something to win back fans, they would choose this time to announce that their players will play in Sochi. Everything else has been just words and no action and talk is cheap . . .

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  17. John
    January 14, 2013

    I thought that video was awesome and could only have been improved by the payoff being a bit longer, say an extra 5-10 seconds of Electric Worry and highlights of cheering. Definitely got chills though.

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  18. Nee
    January 14, 2013

    I understand the infstinct of some posters that say: get over it, NHL is back and they don’t owe us anything.

    Yes, his was a business dispute and I can just take my money eslewhere. On the other hand, there needs to be an acknowledgement that we, as fans, pay their salaries and allow the owners to turn a profit (at least in Canada anyways). The NHL is still overwhelmingly reliant on gate revenue…so the fans are much more crucial here than in the NFL which has such huge TV deals that they don’t even need fans in the stadiums to make money.

    I’m still a bit bitter about the lockout. But at the end of the day, I love the team and I will be watching opening night.

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