It was reported Monday that the NHL will enter a seven-year national broadcasting partnership with Turner Sports, so it's only natural for the network's other properties to promote this new, exciting deal which could bring hockey back to the U.S. mainstream.
There's only one problem: to promote Some Notable Guys, you have to actually know who these guys are.
The "NBA on TNT" panel — the very type of fun, bombastic type of show the NHL sorely needs to attract a larger audience – gamely showed love to the NHL during their broadcast Tuesday.
During a lighthearted segment where Adam Lefkoe quizzed Shaquille O'Neal on his NHL knowledge, the show ran a graphic about the NHL partnership featuring Alexander Ovechkin (great choice!) and... Andrew Ference???
TNT post game show mentioning the nhl tv rights deal and.... is that Andrew Ference? Absolutely insane guy to put in that graphic pic.twitter.com/yI1NNM0Nol
— big heatdaddy (@DanyAllstar15) April 28, 2021
Evidently, the graphics department did a cursory search for "Oilers captain" and didn't clue in on Connor McDavid. If you type "Oilers captain" into Google search the third image that appears is the one they used of Ference.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 28, 2021
Shaq, with some assistance, was able to name the New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks as three NHL teams during the impromptu pop quiz.
We're all here for cross-sport promotion. If people like Shaq and Candace Parker are getting into hockey, it's a broad win for the sport itself and injects life into the television deal. That will need to continue to find a wider audience outside of its core demographic.
It's a simple error, but to omit McDavid, who is having the NHL equivalent of Steph Curry's 2016 unanimous MVP season, feels particularly egregious this year.
As for Ference, who works in social impact, growth and legislative affairs for the NHL these days, he simply couldn't be happier about the honest mistake.
— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) April 28, 2021
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