Take heart, hockey fans, better days lie ahead.
Take it from Alex Ovechkin. And Matt Dumba. And Mathew Barzal, Carey Price and Ryan O'Reilly. And Connor McDavid, Brad Marchand, Patrick Kane, Patrice Bergeron and other NHL stars who appear in the spot below, stoked that soon they'll be skating again after a 142-day pause:
Crafted by NHL Studios, the :60 dropped on Friday, as the league and its players agreed on terms for the 2020 Stanley Cup tournament. Starting Aug. 1, 24 teams will compete under strict Covid-19 safety protocols (no fans allowed) in Edmonton and Toronto. Training camps open today.
Most of the footage comes from the NHL archives, with some new player and fan testimonials, plus scenes from April's "We Miss Hockey" commercial. (That kid in the garage hoisting the Cup never lost faith!) OneRepublic's optimistic but icy track "Better Days" really captured the vibe and returns for this latest promo.
The earlier spot launched the week the playoffs were scheduled to start, with players offering deeply felt messages about the games' cancellation, and vowing, "We will be back."
Now, of course, they're keeping that promise, along with other sports leagues, including MLS (which recently restarted play), the NBA (which returns July 31), and MLB (teams take the field for a truncated season on July 23).
Of the retooled Stanley Cup, league deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters on Friday: "I think we have a good handle on a protocol. It's actually a protocol that was agreed to among the various professional sports leagues and run by the CDC, and it's gone to the White House."
He added: "I think one positive test shouldn't shut down the tournament, but obviously we have to be very cognizant of player health and safety, and if we have an outbreak situation, it turns into a different judgment at the end of the day. There's no hard-and-fast numbers on that. That's more a sense of the medical professionals, and we'll take our lead from them."
The NHL promises more celebratory spots ahead of the first puck drop.
Steve Mayer- NHL Studios Chief Content Officer
Casey Hall- NHL Senior VP, Marketing
Craig Axelrod- Coordinating Producer
Producer/Editor- Jay Nelson
Audio Mixer- Kelley Harnett