By Allan Muir
Here's the thing that really stood out while compiling this ranking of the greatest hockey commercials of all time. Few of them involve anyone who is vaguely recognizable.
Oh, sure, there are spots that feature Sid and OV and Teemu and Kovy that ended up cracking the list, but in many, the game itself does the selling. The romance of hockey is the pitchman.
And while most of these originate in Canada, and some may require a certain sensibility to fully appreciate, all of them succeed in celebrating some aspect of the great game.
I'm not sure how many of these actually moved some product, but they all hit the mark as testimonies to the love of hockey.
Have a favorite that didn't make the list? Link it up in the comment section.
12. Coke Canada's Game (2010)
Nothing sells product in Canada like referencing dreams of national team glory, and this pre-2010 Vancouver Olympics spot hits all the right notes. Best part: the kids in the school gymnasium gathered around a small TV on an AV cart. That was me in 1972. Second best: the tagline ("Let's make sure they know whose game they're playing") was amended for use immediately after the gold medal game.
11. Maksuturva Shopping for Skates (2011)
This is to commercials what Unforgiven is to Western films. Plus it stars Teemu Selanne as a guy brought in to help an old timers team and it's in Finnish, so there's at least three levels of awesome right there.
10. Molson Hockey Bag (2005)
Forget the sound of blades cutting into the ice, the early morning practice, or even the dream of winning the Stanley Cup. There's nothing more intrinsic to the hockey experience than the rancid, "Are you storing a dead beaver in there?" aroma of the equipment bag.
9. Gatorade Sticks (2008)
In this one, a neighborhood road hockey game turns into a magnet for everyone within 100 miles when Sidney Crosby throws his stick into the pile. Bonus marks for working in the Hanson brothers.
8. Verizon Maternity Ward (2008)
Alright, so the connection to hockey is a little tenuous in this one (unless you're one of those neanderthals who pays for front row seats and spends the game banging on the glass), but "Loser! Loser! Best baby in the world!" is still a pretty funny line.
7. Nike Don't Fence Me In (2006)
Ilya Kovalchuk and Markus Naslund bust out of a rink and take their battle to the streets, wreaking all manner of havoc along the way. The Mooney Suzuki's cover of the Roy Rogers standard "Don't Fence Me In" just adds to the brilliance.
6. NHL Network Press Conference (2008)
Dan Bylsma missed an awesome opportunity to explain why his Penguins couldn't get past the Bruins in the semis this past spring. All he had to say was they just couldn't put the cat in the hat.
5. NHL on NBC Road Trip (2007)
Shot in Dallas during All-Star Weekend, this spot imagines NHLers still pulling all the same pranks that were staples of a pee wee hockey road trip. Includes gratuitous Seinfeld reference.
4. Hockey Canada Dirty Hand (2008)
Ever meet someone famous and swear you'll never wash your hand again after they shake it? Mine was Salma Hayek and I made it about an hour before sanitary concerns took over. This guy takes the commitment all the way.
3. NHL Swedish Twins (2007)
It's a great concept -- what's a better get for a bachelor party than Swedish twins? -- but the real genius here lies in the (intentionally?) wooden performances of Henrik and Daniel Sedin ... and the guy getting into their hot dance moves.
2. NHL No Words (2010)
The NHL has produced a lot of tone-deaf spots over the years, but this one hits the mark by saying nothing at all. This is all goosebumps.
1. Budweiser Flash Fans (2012)