NHL Fan Still Sitting by Phone, Waiting for Apology

Needham, MA – Local NHL hockey enthusiast Ed Williams (below left), a longtime Boston Bruins fan, remained slumped on his couch next to his phone, waiting for the NHL to call him and apologize for the lockout that erased the entire 2004 season.

It is the 278th consecutive day that Williams has been waiting for the apology. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the 2004 season on February 16, 2005.

“They think they can just blow me off and not apologize?” Williams asked as he flipped through a scrapbook of pictures of him and the NHL in happier times. “I don’t think so. I can put up with a lot – shaky collective bargaining agreements, astronomical ticket and concession prices, virtually un-watchable games, a disturbing array of mullets, you name it -- but this is where I draw the line. Now they’re just being thoughtless. I’m only waiting one more day for him [Bettman] to call and then the NHL and I are through.”

While they have yet to issue any sort of apology to fans, Commissioner Bettman and the NHL, in an utterly misguided attempt to win back fans, did run a new campaign of television commercials created an alleged California advertising agency, Conductor.

The ads feature NHL players being swaddled and bathed by servile, scantily-clad, Geisha-like women in bizarre and completely nonsensical pre-game rituals that have nothing whatsoever to do with hockey.

"A clever warrior is one who not only wins, but excels at winning with ease," one spot begins, incorporating a quote from Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu, while showing a heroic player (right) on a wooden bench in the glow of a candlelit room.

To a score of a drums and rattling sabers, he is approached by a woman in a bra and sheer robe, who touches his shoulders, and helps him put on his shoulder pads and jersey. The woman says, "It's time," and the player takes the ice to the cheers of a man and – in another out of place, creepy twist – a young boy in the stands. The ad ends with "My NHL, coming 10.05."

"We had never really done TV ads before, to be honest with you. I was in telemarketing until I got laid off three weeks ago," said Conductor Chief Creative Officer, Larry Green. "I just happened to have some pictures of Commissioner Bettman with a fourteen-year-old Laotian boy, so they let us do the commercials."

"We didn't know what the hell we were doing! There wasn't even a script, far as I can remember. We just told the actors to do and say whatever came to mind and, well, it somehow became a commercial. Go figure."

The second it hit the airwaves, the campaign instantly received both criticism from such women’s rights advocates as [former Augusta National protester] Martha Burk, and derisive mocking from anyone with even the slightest hint of common sense.

And the spurned Williams couldn’t agree more.

“Are they too proud or stubborn to just say, ‘Hey, we screwed up, can you forgive us’?” Williams asked, tearing in half a strip of black and white photo booth pictures of him and the NHL, taken in happier times when the two took in a Devils’ game and then visited the Wildwood boardwalk on the Jersey Shore. "When I banged my girlfriend's sister that summer, I manned up and admitted I was wrong. The NHL is obviously too stubborn or stupid to do that."

“Maybe Bettman has a thing for Geishas?" Williams asked. "Maybe he’s just slow-witted? Who knows what would make him approve such a completely misguided approach to winning guys like me back . . . but I’m only waiting one more day, and then I’m moving on with my life.”

“I hear Boston might be getting an Arena Football team,” he added.