Blog 3 – Molson Moves Over

As of the time of writing this blog, the PWHL is currently in its inaugural season and many of the high end talents are flashing their talent to make a name for themselves in this new environment. However, there has been an issue on some of the athletes’ minds; How do we get recognized if people can’t see our name tapes? Think of it this way, many male hockey athletes that easily come to mind have short hair and an easily readable name tape such as Crosby, McDavid, or Panarin, but for these women it’s harder for them as they naturally have longer hair than most of their male counterparts and it ends up covering their names on the back of their jerseys. This is an interesting concern, because how can we as fans know our athletes when we have a hard time identifying them during play?

In comes one of the corporate sponsors of the league, Molson Coors, to help try and remedy this issue and get these women more recognition. For background, Molson is a large brewing company that is very popular in Canada and is often found in advertisements connected to Canadian teams (ex: Molson Canadian ads on dasher boards) and is one of the companies that are featured on the back of these athletes’ jerseys. In their act of activism which is now tied into an ad campaign, they have taken their sponsorship which was usually on the bottom of the jersey and swapped places with the name tapes so Molson will be covered, but the athletes name will now be fully visible as they are lower on the jersey. Alongside this they are running with the tagline of “We covered our name so hers could be seen”  and “Proud hidden sponsor of the PWHL” which shows that they want these athletes to be recognized just as much as their NHL counterparts and are willing to take some financial losses in order to make this happen. 

In surveying the media response to this, almost every outlet has been very supportive of this and there has been extremely limited (I have not seen any) negative press coverage on this. Additionally, fans on social media have reacted positively to this and many social media based outlets such as BR Open Ice and Bardown have reported on this and have dispersed this information even further. I personally saw a lot of positive reactions on instagram when this design change was announced, which was a great thing to see as many still hold on to the awfully misogynist view of how “women don’t belong in sports”. 

I’m not exactly sure if Molson and the PWHL had a media narrative in mind per se, but I do know that both of them wanted these women in the sport to get the recognition that they deserve. Through Molson’s sacrifice, a new opportunity opens up to these athletes for this to actually come to fruition. Regardless of this, I think the media coverage behind this was great because I saw so many outlets cover it because this was big news for these women. Outside of just helping them become identifiable, it brought so much good publicity to the PWHL and it also spread awareness to so many new people who may have been aware of the PWHL. Through these actions, new fans can be brought in and the game can grow even stronger with the support of their fans, both new and old. 

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