Air Canada Threatens to Withdraw NHL Sponsorship Over Headshots
According to a report from Bruce Garrioch of QMI Agency, Air Canada issued a threat to withdraw its sponsorship of the NHL if the league doesn’t take “immediate” and “serious” action against headshots. In a letter to Gary Bettman, Denis Vandal, Air Canada’s director of marketing/communications, voiced the company’s concerns over the rising number of violent incidents in the NHL and Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty specifically.
“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; action must be taken by the NHL before we are encountered with a fatality.
“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.”
Air Canada owns the naming rights to the Toronto Maple Leafs home arena as well as providing sponsorship to all six Canadian teams, according to Garrioch’s report. It’s hard to disagree with the message that Air Canada is trying to put across here, but their execution leaves something to be desired. Some influential members of the hockey media sphere were quick to brush this off as little more than a PR stunt via Twitter, and some took an even more cynical approach and deemed the Montreal based corporation’s tactic as hometown heroism.
Like they say, if you really want to something to change then you best do something about it. Air Canada’s threat has the right message, but it’s awfully difficult to envision the NHL taking it seriously.
Chara Hit to be Investigated by Police
Via a story at CBCSports, Radio-Canada has reported that “Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne, has asked police to begin gathering evidence to help prosecutors determine if charges should be laid against Zdeno Chara”. The result of the hit was a terrible misfortune, but this is getting ridiculous.
Max Pacioretty spoke to TSN’s Bob McKenzie regarding the NHL’s lack of discipline on Zdeno Chara. Via Habs Inside/Out:
“I am upset and disgusted that the league didn’t think enough of (the hit) to suspend him,” Pacioretty told TSN. “I’m not mad for myself, I’m mad because if other players see a hit like that and think it’s okay, they won’t be suspended, then other players will get hurt like I got hurt.
“It’s been an emotional day. I saw the video for the first time this morning. You see the hit, I’ve got a fractured vertebrae, I’m in hospital and I thought the league would do something, a little something,” said Pacioretty. “I’m not talking a big number, I don’t know, one game, two games, three games…whatever, but something to show that it’s not right.
“I heard (Chara) said he didn’t mean to do it. I felt he did mean to do it. I would feel better if he said he made a mistake and that he was sorry for doing that, I could forgive that, but I guess he’s talking about how I jumped up or something.”
This is Not a Zdeno Chara/Max Pacioretty Story
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