SUN Hockey Pool

Burk a boob for NHL rant

ERIN NICKS -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

Chris Neil, be a dear and lend me your gloves. I want to facewash Martha Burk.

You remember Martha, don't you? The head of the National Council of Women's Organizations and perpetual thorn in Hootie Johnson's side? She was the ideologist behind the failed movement to allow female members into Augusta National Golf Club.

Apparently Ms. Burk is hungry for the media spotlight once again, because she has set her sights on the NHL's much-anticipated advertising campaign. The league unveiled its marketing initiative last Wednesday, with support from all branches of the NHL in attendance. Those present were teased with the first of the five-part storyline, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Save for an annoyingly vocal one, of course.

Martha is taking the NHL to task for representing women in a manner that she deems to be unfavourable.

If you've seen the first chapter, you know what I'm talking about. The scene opens with a non-descript hockey player sitting in a dressing room lit with candles.

A woman with pre-Raphaelite curls appears, sporting a filmy white gown. She approaches the player from behind, places her hands on his bare shoulders and whispers into his ear, "Ready?"

Burk told the Canadian Press on Friday, "The woman is dressed provocatively, and when she asks the player if he's ready, it's a double-entendre in my view. She's in the ad as a groomer, a sex object."

Someone needs to tell Martha that she has a warped idea of foreplay. Can you imagine her reaction if the player began to slowly tape up his stick? I'm assuming that Burk failed to notice the male actor's scant attire. In the grand and distorted scheme of things, it was simply a minor detail. After all, there's no possible way to objectify a shirtless man -- just ask any editor at Cosmopolitan.

Burk added, "The commercial is clearly selling sex and violence and the last image in that commercial is a young boy watching this, so he's clearly the customer they're after, or it's a misguided attempt to draw in families."

Obviously we didn't view the same advertisement, because the last image of the boy occurs after the player has exited the dressing room for the ice -- clearly indicating that the child was in the crowd, and not present during the Cinemax scene from earlier.

There's a distinct difference between an objectionable and a vaguely ridiculous premise. Apparently Ms. Burke lacks the mental capacity to discern which category the ads fall under.

The commercials, while inoffensive, do not provide any real substance or reasoning as to why a person should buy into the new and improved league. Adding to this confusion is the insistent new slogan -- "My NHL."

My NHL? This is news to me. Up until now, my stake in the NHL has been beyond paltry. I had "my" $9 parking space, "my" $4 slice of pizza and "my" $125 club seat on occasion. I was unaware that I had morphed into some sort of pseudo-Eugene Melnyk.

Furthermore, what is the point of having a visually stunning marketing campaign if you neglect to include the faces and names required to sell the sport? The league supposedly is prepared to personalize the ads by dressing the player in every team's jersey, but can't we involve the athletes themselves? The potential Islanders' version seems obvious:

Carol Alt: "Ready?"

Alexei Yashin: "That depends ... am I in the final year of my contract?"

Whose NHL is this? It certainly isn't mine. My NHL never involved candles, chicks and actors portraying hockey players. The league may have missed the mark in its advertisements, but it has done nothing to deserve a publicity-driven feminist rant.

Penalty awarded to Martha Burk: Indefinite suspension for blatant stupidity.

LAUNDRY LIST: The WNBA's newest franchise is the Chicago Sky, and the team unveiled its new logo this week. With its retro lettering and pastel colouring, it gives off the slight impression of a laundry detergent box -- somehow appropriate for a league that is accused of being washed up.

MAMA'S BOY: Derek Jeter's mother, Dorothy, will admit during 60 Minutes tonight that her son silently signals to her during games. Surely the Doug Christie comparisons are inevitable, but hopefully Jeter won't follow the NBA veteran into the lucrative purse business.

erinnicks@yahoo.ca


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