Nike Ad Scores as Fans Declare, 'Hockey Is Ours'

Defiance in face of NHL lockout

Hockey die-hards should be stirred by this Nike spot that captures fans' passion for the game and, by implication, their displeasure with the ongoing NHL lockout. The company and its agency, Wieden + Kennedy, have produced similar commercials during NBA work stoppages, relying on famous hoopsters to carry the day. This new ad—from W + K New York and Biscuit Filmworks director Tim Godsall—feels more sincere, mixing professional and Olympic stars with average folks who deliver lines that are heartfelt and defiant. The tough talk—kids look straight at the camera, asking, "What are you gonna do?" "Take away my skates?" "Take away my puck?"—seems perfectly in-tune to a sport known for its combative attitude. (For the record, I think I could take away the youngest kid's skates. Oh, who am I kidding … he'd kick my ass.) Amplifying the "Hockey is ours" theme, those featured explain that they'll do whatever's necessary to keep playing the game, even using frozen hamburgers as pucks. Take away Canada, and they'll play in Russia. Capitals icon Alex Ovechkin, currently playing in Moscow because of the lockout, makes a nice brief cameo, proving my theory that his commercial performances improve in inverse proportion to his screen time. If and when the NHL schedule resumes—the league and players' union are in negotiations to salvage the season—they should actually play using frozen beef patties. Ratings would go through the roof.