15 Strangest Promotion Ideas in Hockey History

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2012

15 Strangest Promotion Ideas in Hockey History

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    Promoting the game of hockey is an important way to make the game grow.

    Teams like to come up with ideas to bring new fans into arenas and help grow the game.

    Standard promotions include shooting the puck through a target placed in front of the goal or having autograph sessions after games.

    However, there have been a lot of ridiculous promotions, especially at the minor league level. Some are uproariously funny, some are in bad taste and some are both.

Don't Be Like Mike Night

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    After Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps' was photographed while smoking pot out of a bong in 2009, the Milwaukee Admirals had "Don't Be Like Mike Night."

    The Admirals poked fun at Phelps, saying they did not advocate illegal drugs. They let fans with the name Michael, Mary Jane, Cheech or Chong into the game for $2. Additionally, they let anyone with a DARE certificate or an Olympic gold medal in for $2 as well.

Rod Blagojevich Night

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    The disgraced former governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is now serving a prison term for corruption.

    Nevertheless, the Las Vegas Wranglers held "Rod Blagojevich Night" to dishonor the convicted former governor.

Mortgage Night

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    During the 2007-08 season, the St. Louis Blues held "Mortgage Nights" on several Saturday night home games.

    Lucky fans who were selected had their mortgage or rent paid for four months.

Santa Night

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    The New York Islanders held a Santa Claus Night promotion in which any fan who dressed as Santa Claus was admitted to the game for free.

    This brought dozens of fans to the game. However, after a couple of those fans got into the Nassau Coliseum, they took off their Santa suits and revealed Rangers' jerseys.

    That brought a rather rude response from the Islanders' fans who were not thrilled with their wardrobe choice.

Talk Show Night

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    The Long Beach Ice Dogs once had sports talk show host Scott Ferrall do his talk show (source: Los Angeles Times) from the Long Beach Ice Arena while the Ice Dogs were playing a game.

    The team's owners knew that Ferrall had a popular talk show and that fans would be listening. The idea was that if they heard he was doing his talk show while at the Ice Dogs' game, they would be more likely to go as well.

Wacky Sweater Night

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    By wearing a "wacky sweater," one lucky fan won two tickets to a Vancouver Canucks games.

    The promotion was sponsored by a local clothing company.

Desperate Housewives Thong Night

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    Those Long Beach Ice Dogs were at it again when they had Desperate Housewives Thong Night at the Long Beach Ice Arena.

    The first 1,000 women in attendance at this promotion received and Ice Dogs' thong. They could also buy $2 beers and $2 hot dogs, so it was truly a memorable occasion.

Wayne's World Night

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    A Wayne's World Night was held at the Calgary Saddledome.

    Wayne (Mike Myers) took five shots on famed Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak between periods.

    Party on, Wayne.

    Party on, Garth.

Our City Isn't Bankrupt Night

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    The Bakersfield Condors wanted to give a shot to neighboring city Stockton when it had financial troubles.

    It promoted "Our City Isn't Bankrupt Night."

    Fans who attended the game would get a fake $1 million bill.

    The idea did not go over well in Stockton, and the event was renamed to "Boomtown Bakersfield Night."

    However, the Condors still planned on presenting fans with those phony $1 million bills.

Scott Hartnell Wig Night

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    The Philadelphia Flyers held Scott Hartnell Wig Night in 2009.

    Hartnell is a fine scorer, and he is not afraid to scrap when the Flyers need him to drop the gloves.

    However, Hartnell's most notable feature may be his mop of curly, reddish hair. It's so unusual that the Flyers gave away wigs modeled after Hartnell's curly tresses to the first 5,000 fans and all kids who attended a game against the Florida Panthers (source: NBCPhiladelphia.com).

Teddy Bear Toss Night

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    A number of minor league teams hold Teddy Bear Toss Night.

    In this promotion, fans in attendance throw teddy bears on the ice, and they are collected and distributed to needy children in the area of the home team.

    The video above shows teddy bears being thrown at a Hershey Bears game in Hershey, Pa.

    A total of 7,199 bears were tossed at a December 2012 Bears game.

Hockey Helmet Night

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    In a 2009 game, the Blackhawks held a hockey helmet promotion night.

    However, when Jonathan Toews scored a hat trick, the fans threw their giveaway helmets back on the ice.

    The tossing of thousands of helmets created a huge delay. The team has not held a helmet night since.

Spelling Bee Night

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    The Minnesota Wild encourages fans to learn how to spell.

    On Spelling Bee Night, the first 1,000 fans who can spell the names of three non-American born players win a one-year membership to a local gym.

Charlie Sheen Night

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    You may remember actor Charlie Sheen had some personal difficulties back in 2011.

    Among his problems was losing his hit CBS television series, Two and a Half Men.

    Our good friends, the Bakersfield Condors, were not about to let this opportunity go.

    They staged Charlie Sheen Night. If you dressed as a Sheen movie character, you got into the game for $2.50.

    If you brought a clean drug test, you got in for free.

Gary Bettman Promotion

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    One of the weirdest promotions of all came in 1993.

    The NHL took a non-hockey-loving operative named Gary Bettman from the NBA's headquarters and made him commissioner.

    What a strange and inexplicable "promotion."

    The NHL has never gotten over this move and is clearly still feeling its impact today...and will for years to come.