Business travel delivered me to the Big Apple late this week, where I had a chance to visit the NHL Store on 6th Avenue. I’d been warned for a couple of years now to prepare to be underwhelmed by its inventory and overall impact on the NYC shopper, but the weather was spectacular for walking the big city shopping district, and I was looking to kill some time before meeting my New York blogging buddy Pepper for happy hour.
The warnings proved spot on. There is no reason, really, to visit this store. The selection of merchandise is conspicuously limited; you’re much better served by perusing the league’s online store. I was particularly startled and disappointed at being unable to locate a single authentic NHL sweater anywhere in the inventory. That struck me as bizarre. It was also disappointing to see so few selections among hockey DVDs. If you’ve visited the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto the accompanying souvenir shop there blows the NHL’s away. The square footage the league has to work with in New York is limited, but I’m not sure what’s been set up to promote the game there does much of that. Unless you’re seriously into team coffee mugs and knockoff sweaters.
On the positive side of things, there are a handful of eye-catching images of the Gr8, including a towering 20-foot mural that greets the visitor to the store just inside the entrace. Jonathon Tavares and Oscar Hedman for some reason have similar murals, and then tucked toward the back of the store is one for you know who. At least he’s buried a bit in the floorplan. Even the studio daily used for ‘NHL Live’ is underwhelming inside the store.
Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Chicago hockey fans in particular these days won’t much care for the welcome they receive upon entering the store.
A little more Ovi.
And even more Ovi.
The store does offer an array of Heritage wear, some of it decent looking, all of it priced like historic heirlooms.
I thought this ‘Original Six’ chopper cycle pretty cool-looking. At one hundred grand, however, it too was out of my price range.
So departing the NHL store in mild dejection and making my way down Seventh Avenue toward an Irish bar to meet Pepper, I found my spirits revived arriving upon a 60-foot, smoldering, sultry Danica Patrick. Suddenly, I loved New York again.