With the National Hockey League season now in full swing the Dany Heatley situation still drapes a dark cloud of despair over his Atlanta Thrasher teammates and the league.
Heatley, who was not charged with vehicular homicide in a sordid car crash that led the October 5th death of teammate Dan Snyder, has left the NHL without a young North American stud who could revive the league, which is struggling from a revenue standpoint.
A perfect replacement for Heatley would be Calgary Flames captain Jerome Iginla. He is a former scoring champion who has won a gold medal for Canada in the Olympics and is a great role model and would be perfect for the NHL. Iginla is the first black captain in the history of the league, with attributes such as that the Iginla’s market value is infinite.
The NHL has never had the ability to reach a vast majority of blacks, and with Iginla’s captaincy, they now have a great way to do so.
Since Willie O’ Ree’s debut with the Boston Bruins in 1958, very few other blacks have made it to the league, let alone become as successful as Iginla.
While Iginla could be the centerpiece of the NHL’s marketing expansion toward blacks, players such as Mike Grier, Anson Carter, Kevin Weekes and Peter Worell are all good players and could be the foundation of what has the possibility to be an excellent marketing strategy.
Even though Iginla is not putting up the numbers he has in previous seasons, he still leads the Flames with 33 points on 15 goals and 18 assists, which is still good enough to rank 25th in the league in scoring. The All-Star game starters were named Thursday night, and although Iginla is not expected to be named a starter, he is expected to be named a reserve on the team, which has become a commonplace for the winger from Edmonton, Alberta.
However, with the league too wrapped up in avoiding a work stoppage, which seems quite probable this year, and trying to refurbish its image after the Snyder ordeal, seeing Iginla in any prominent marketing ploy will be like seeing a black hockey player period.
Few and far between.
Will Brown, 19, is a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Rockledge, Fla. He is the Famuan’s Sports Editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.