One of my favourite parts of Easter (other than the whole resurrection thing) is going to the stores the next day or two and getting a nice big discount on all the candy that they weren’t able to sell. While this generally means shelves full of lousy candy, you can get some great deals on candy that is the same as its usual form, only egg-shaped and, now, cheaper.

This time around, something caught my eye. Along with the usual assortment of pastel M&Ms, gummy bunnies, and Peeps that aren’t yellow (the way God intended them to be), there was a whole shelf full of giant, foil-wrapped chocolate eggs with a big NHL logo on them. They had so many there, it seemed almost certain that they had barely sold any prior to Easter. Out of curiosity, I took a closer look. These chocolate eggs even had a prize inside: a tiny goalie mask.

Normally I wouldn’t have considered it, but I thought it might be worth a blogpost. I was right, since it’s one of the most poorly thought-out items I have seen in a long time.

First of all, there was the price. It was originally $12, which is simply too damn much. For the same price, you could have a decent-quality solid chocolate bunny instead of a hollow, thin-shelled egg. Even 60% off, it was too damn much. But I bit the bullet and bought it.

The second issue is that it’s completely random which mask you get. There are 8 masks available — one for each Canadian team and a “rare” Los Angeles Kings mask, since they won the Stanley Cup.

It’s baffling to me: anyone who is a big enough fan of the NHL to spend $12 on a hollow egg made of sub-standard chocolate to get a little collectible goalie mask, is also likely a big fan of one particular team. That also means they probably have a strong distaste, if not outright hate, for that team’s rivals. Leafs fans don’t like the Canadiens and vice versa. Senators fans hate the Leafs. If you like one of the teams in Alberta, you likely can’t stand the other one. And Canucks fans? They pretty much hate every other Canadian team. Except for the Jets. Everyone’s still feeling pretty lovey-dovey about the Jets.

I don’t really dislike any NHL teams as much as I used to and writing about hockey every day has rounded off the edges of my fandom, but I’m still pretty much a Canucks fan. Getting a Flames mask would be the worst possible outcome, but a Canucks fan wouldn’t be particularly happy with an Oilers mask or Leafs mask either. It’s basically a 1-in-7 chance of getting the right mask, with the slight possibility of getting a Kings mask, which wouldn’t be too great for a Canucks fan either.

I feel for the poor kid who got one of these at Easter and pulled out the mask of his favourite team’s hated rival. Great, just what I needed today: crushing disappointment.

Their target market has to be the grandmas and grandpas that don’t know any better: The NHL? That’s hockey, right? Great! Bobby loves hockey!

I see a similar phenomenon with other merchandise. They’ll have some neat NHL-themed item — a clock, blanket, coffee mug, whatever — and there won’t be a single one left with the Canucks logo. Instead, they’ll have plenty of Oilers, Flames, or Leafs merchandise left unsold on the shelf. Which idiotic store manager in British Columbia is ordering large quantities of non-Canucks merchandise? Sure, there are fans of every team all over the place, but not enough to justify a shelf full of Toronto Maple Leafs Yahtzee with nary a Canucks logo in sight.

Does this happen in other cities? Are there racks full of Montreal Canadiens t-shirts in Toronto Canadian Tires? Are the only NHL-themed bedsheets in Calgary Sears stores plastered with the Edmonton Oilers’ logo?

This Easter egg is even worse, however, as you could easily be tricked into buying a souvenir for your least-favourite team. At least with other merchandise you can see what you’re buying: there’s a reason that they’re still on the shelf, after all.

Getting a random, team-specific prize is fine for something low-cost, like, say, a sticker vending machine. If you’re just spending a dollar or two, you likely won’t be too upset when you get a team you don’t like. Now, maybe I’m just cheap, but if I’m spending $12, I want some assurances that I’m going to get something that I actually want. There’s even the suggestion that these are collectable and that you should try for the whole set. Nope. That ain’t happening.

On the plus side, you have to like the 80′s era All-Star Game colours on this thing. That orange brings me back to 1993, when the orange made a brief comeback, and I badgered my parents to take me to McDonald’s for hockey cards, desperately hoping for a Bure card. I’m not even sure if I watched the All-Star Game that year, but I know for a fact I never got a Bure card.

In any case, it’s time to open this sucker up and see what I’ve got.

The egg itself is disappointing. I don’t know why, but I was at least expecting some sort of NHL logo on it. Instead, it’s just a plain, generic egg; they didn’t even spring for a custom mold. As expected, it’s a very thin shell of chocolate.

Opening up the egg, I see that I got a Senators mask. Or rather, I got a plain white mask with stickers that I could use to turn it into a Senators mask, if I so desired. Senators was basically the least offensive and most bland option. Somehow, it’s even less desirable than getting a Flames mask.

The mask itself is made of incredibly cheap plastic and the stickers aren’t even white: they’re off-white. So the stickers don’t even match the mask itself. Considering how low my expectations were going in, I did not anticipate that it would fail to meet them. They couldn’t even get white right.

The chocolate itself? Pretty terrible. It tasted like the sludge at the bottom of an understirred cup of hot chocolate made with store-brand powder.

If this Easter egg were a hockey team, J.S. Giguere would complain that it was thinking too much about its trip to Vegas. It’s basically the Lennart Petrell of Easter eggs. I seriously feel sorry for anyone who paid full price for one of these things. And if anyone out there bought one of these for a child, you should be ashamed of yourself for crushing a child’s dreams like this.

Comments (14)

  1. Funny, I’ve always had a similar melancholy idea about NHL team merchandise. I imagine there’s a kid in Toronto who longs for the Maple Leaf pajamas they can’t discount enough in Vancouver. Maybe everyone needs NHL penpals across Canada that they can swap merchandise with? I can start, I have a Flames jersey, tags still on, that was won in a hockey bet…

  2. “Does this happen in other cities? Are there racks full of Montreal Canadiens t-shirts in Toronto Canadian Tires? Are the only NHL-themed bedsheets in Calgary Sears stores plastered with the Edmonton Oilers’ logo?”

    Yes, mostly. Some stores in Edmonton have tons of stock of random teams but no Oilers merchandise. Flames lawn gnomes and BBQ covers are always on sale at Canadian Tire. A few places like Rexall and Save-On Foods carry almost exclusively Oilers stuff, but it’s always seemed odd that they carry that type of thing to begin with, except for the whole “Rexall owns the Oilers” thing.

  3. “Does this happen in other cities? Are there racks full of Montreal Canadiens t-shirts in Toronto Canadian Tires? Are the only NHL-themed bedsheets in Calgary Sears stores plastered with the Edmonton Oilers’ logo?”

    Not around the Western NY area. It is VERY difficult to go into a store and find stuff for any team besides the Sabres (unless it is an actual sports store). You’ll occasionally find Rangers (my team) or Leafs merchandise, but it is a pretty rare occasion. I don’t even think they order merchandise for other teams. They look at the catalog and say “Panthers? The logo isn’t even right and it’s not football season.” If you walk into Collector’s Paradise, you’ll find all sorts of stuff, but it is that way in every city.

    Maybe it’s just a popularity thing? Hockey is pretty popular in Western NY though. Football merchandise from non-hometown teams is fairly easy to find. There is a crazy amount of Bills stuff, but you can usually find things for the popular teams that can actually win (Giants, Cowboys, Steelers, Patriots, etc).

    • I hear you about the lack of NHL merchandise in Western New York. perhaps that’s for the best?
      I was wearing a Pens shirt purchased online in a local grocery store last summer. I was tooling around the bakery when I heard the lady behind the counter say, “we don’t serve your kind here”. I was nonplussed – I have brown skin. The lady was quick to back-pedal and explain that the animosity can be traced back to the Pens’ win at the first Winter Classic and miller v. crosby at the 2010 Olympics.
      Long story short, know your audience in Buffalo, NY. Go Sabres!

  4. That mask is the worst. Remember those plastic mini-football helmets that used to cost 50¢ in a vending machine, with the white double-bar facemask that always popped off and got lost? The ones you always bugged your folks to get while leaving the supermarket? Yeah, you could have gotten an entire conference for less than this crappy goalie mask, and been happier doing it. I would probably be seriously annoyed if something like this showed up in my Easter basket. Bless you for taking one for the team, Daniel.

  5. Here in Calgary at say, Canadian Tire, the obscure items like beer holders, and bottle openers are pretty much Flames all the way.

    Second in overall merch would be Oilers. You can find hats an blankets for them no problem, I believe. Next most prevalent would be Leafs/Canucks and if you look hard you could probably find some Canadiens swag.

  6. “there won’t be a single one left with the Canucks logo. Instead, they’ll have plenty of Oilers, Flames, or Leafs merchandise left unsold on the shelf. Which idiotic store manager in British Columbia is ordering large quantities of non-Canucks merchandise?”

    I live in Victoria BC, and I get some NHL products in my gas station, and Shell Canada insists that I get an even distribution of all Canada teams…so Canucks sell in the first two days and then Flames and Leafs sit there for months. Nobody in BC wants to drive around with a Flames car-flag.

    I asked for more Canucks stuff and was told no.
    Asked if there were stores in Alberta I could swap unsold product with and was told no.
    Its not managers fault, its the head product clown who works for corporates fault.

    • If in doubt, blame it on corporate. Words to live by.

    • dude, i also live in victoria, and am a frequent shopper at shell canada.. why dont you guys ever get dark chocolate bounty bars? their so fuckin good.. only place i can ever find those are at macs.. and not only that, what happened to that rockstar energy drink that tasted like cola, havent seen that stuff in months.. its the only energy drink i can kind of stand.. if you wanna get back to me.. that’d be cool bro.. also noone in b.c wants to drive around with canucks flags either.. and thats coming from a guy who has a canucks tattoo.. canucks have become the nickleback of the NHL

  7. My favourite is all the Original Six merchandise in Ottawa. I received an Original Six Pez dispenser this Easter.

    In Ottawa there is tons of Leafs stuff, but also tons of Leafs fans, so it makes sense. But there are a few places that seem to think there is a large population of Columbus fans in the city…

  8. My son loves the Habs but we live in New York. To confuse it even more, the Flyers AHL team plays in our town, which is where the Red Wings old AHL team played. Both of those teams are well represented around here. The location is filled with Bruins fans, as we are about 2 hours away and Rangers fans because it is NY. Try and find Habs gear in that environment, not gonna happen.

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