“Goon”: Helping the NHL Solve Its PR Problem, Mostly By Making It Worse

R for lost teeth, ineloquence, puzzling suggestion that in order to win a hockey game, you may have to score “goals”

Release Date: March 30, 2012

So, the NHL has a public relations problem. Two, really.

First, it ranks slightly above dogracing on the ladder of prestige sports. This is well-documented in the only source I consider suitable for establishing a cultural trend – namely, Onion headlines:

But that’s the minor PR problem. The bigger problem is that hockey is violent as hell, and may kill your brain.

Exhibit A: The acclaimed three-part NY Times piece on the death of NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard at age 28, possibly from head traumas he sustained on the ice. Exhibit B: The fact that Sidney Crosby – Sid the Kid, the Next One, the league’s biggest star since Wayne Gretzky – sat out 11 months with a concussion, came back for 8 games, and then had to sit out another 3 months. Exhibit C: More Onion headlines, of course.

Now, where does violent comedy Goon fit into this picture? Seeing as it depicts hockey players as inarticulate brawlers, it probably won’t please the NHL quite as much as, say, Mighty Ducks did. But oh well. We can’t all be Mighty Ducks.

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