“Last minute of play in the second period,” the booming voice of the Metro Centre’s PA announcer would declare solemnly, then add brightly: “Brought you to by…”
I can’t remember now which name-dropping corporate sponsor claimed credit for the last minute of play in a period at Mooseheads’ home hockey games, or whether it still does. I do my best to ignore the most crass product placement. But I mean… Really? Does anyone seriously believe the teams would not play the last minute of a period if the sponsor suddenly decided to stop paying?
As a longtime fan of a hockey team named after a beer can (and boasting more than its share of placed products), I find it difficult to get my knickers knotted at the notion that some company—even, heavens forefend, a beer company—might pony up a couple of hundred thou’ of their sin-gotten gains to tack their corporate logo onto the grand civic idea of transforming the new and temporary Canada Games skating oval into a permanent winter fixture on the Halifax Commons.
I know, I know. I’m not keen either on the idea of affixing yet another clunky corporate title—can you say the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, or the National Car Rental Center in Sunrise, Florida?—to the beautifully simple, simply un-commercial dream of a community skating rink.
But hey, Halifax named one of its harbour bridges after the no-name chairman of its bridge commission—which is why many of us still refer to it, 40 years later, as the “new” bridge rather than whatever its official name is—and saddled its industrial parks with streets memorializing the full Christian names of dead city councilors.
My friends, that horse is out of the barn.
City officials claim it will cost $250,000 a year to make the Oval permanent. That’s a lot for hard-pressed taxpayers, but a drop in the Zamboni to a multination corporation like Molson-Coors or those good-life-made-easy folks at GoodLife Fitness Clubs.
So let’s take their money.
And say thank you very much.
But then let’s make a pact to keep calling it The Oval.
Clear. Simple. And commercial free.