Eat Like a Star…On a Budget

On Friday, Jonathan Toews did his best convince the world he’s not a robot, and of course, failed dramatically.

View this post on Instagram

A lot of people ignore the fact that what they eat can have an impact on their bodies. Eating the right food not only helps you get lean, but it changes how you think, act, feel and perform in all aspects of your life. This morning is a great example of the balance of whole foods I try to find with most meals. Today I have a small salad with mixed greens, a couple eggs, sauerkraut, nuts, seeds and goji berries. Alongside, a small bowl of gluten free chia coconut oatmeal with wild berries, a scoop of Walnut Almond Cashew butter from @Onnit and a nice big cup of @Onnit coffee with their MCT oil. Now I'm ready to overcome whatever obstacle the day decides to throw my way. #whatmakesyoubetter #totalhumanoptimization

A post shared by Jonathan Toews (@jonathantoews) on

He also revealed that he, like most athletes, have zero concept of how real people stay healthy. After all, most of us don’t make $10.5 million a year, and budgeting is a concern of ours.

While it’s obvious that this was a sponsored post, one enterprising hockey fan added up how much it would cost to make Toews’ ideal breakfast.

That said, eating healthy is important. Food fuels us, and while I always scoff at fads like “paleo” or diets like “Atkins” there are some pretty easy ways to up your nutrition, cut empty calories, and not have to pay $17 for fancy nut butter.

Of course, diets and budgets are extremely personal, so make sure you’re following a plan that is best for your situation.

Still, here are a few tips and strategies that have helped me eat healthier without breaking the bank. Most of these are extremely common sense, so you may have heard them before, but I hope this is helpful to a few people.

Read More »

Guest Post: Can You Play? The NHL and Marketing to the LGBT Community

Contributed by Jennifer Rhorer/@jrho_jrho – check out our guest contributors page for beard and bio.

When Carolyn and Merrin sent out the call for guest contributors, I knew that I wanted to write something, but I couldn’t settle on what. After reading Carolyn’s series on how the NHL fails at marketing, I decided to look into just how LGBTQIA-friendly each NHL team is. Marketing to the LGBTQIA community is a focused, concrete thing that these organizations should be able to do.

The good new is, every team has had at least one player do a You Can Play video. Though as far as I can tell, no NHL player has done one since Landeskog completed the set in January 2014. It’s like everyone decided they checked off that box, so no one needs to bother again. Update: Andrew Ference and Ben Scrivens have since done YCP videos with the University of Alberta.

Every team publicly apologizes for/condemns players who have said something homophobic/biphobic/transphobic in public. (Hello, bare minimum of human decency!) But what do teams do to indicate they are actually, publicly welcoming of LGBTQIA fans (and our money) and potential future players?

To examine this, I set up a series of items that I consider demonstrate a LGBTQIA-friendly atmosphere and checked each team’s records on them. The items include LGBTQIA theme nights at arenas, participation in Pride parades, activity with LGBTQIA charities, and how the team structures their players’ family and partner organizations (typically known as WAGs, for “Wives and Girlfriends”). Here’s what I found.

Read More »

Guest Post: The Panthers, ESPN Deportes, and Bridging A Cultural Gap

Contributed by Sara Garcia/@Sara_LNR – check out our guest contributors page for bio.

As someone who is of Mexican-American descent (first-born in the US on my father’s side), I often feel that my own ethnic background is overlooked. I’m no longer someone who is considered Latina, instead, I’m considered white. I’m scoffed at and told things like, “there’s no ice in Mexico,” as if the fact that being mixed race AND a hockey fan could ever coexist. It’s discouraging. I want to enjoy hockey as much as the next person, but small mindedness isn’t helping. The Panthers introducing Arley Londoño as a regularly-scheduled Latinx voice helps me feel more secure in identifying as a fan who comes from a Latinx background.

French broadcasts seem like second nature to fans of the Montreal Canadiens. There’s even a whole channel dedicated to broadcasting for French-speakers (TVA, for those who are interested). A Punjabi broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada is readily available in Canada. So, it would only make sense for the NHL to make a Spanish-language broadcast available to residents of the US and/or Canada, right? Spanish is only the second-most spoken language behind English in the US, why should it matter?

Read More »

The NHL’s Growth Problem (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Non-Traditional Market Pt 3)

It’s time for my last segment on marketing & the NHL, and much like part 2, this article is about a particularly poorly served demographic – the US’s growing Latinx population. A quick note on terminology here: I have chosen to use Latinx here instead of Latin@ for readability reasons (and because it is gender neutral). I’ve chosen this term over ‘hispanic’ in most cases, as hispanic also includes Spaniards, who are very much not the population I’m speaking of here. Also, there are arguments that the use of Hispanic was begun as an effort to differentiate Spanish speakers from white people (ie a racist history), not as a term of self-identification.

Off the bat, I want to make one thing very clear; I’m white. In the census boxes, I tick “white, non-hispanic.” I’m pretty much the whitest person you can meet, other than one of those like, creepy Children of the Corn kids.

That said, the point of this article is to focus on why this population is so important for the NHL to court, versus how they should be courted, as there is a lot of cultural nuance that I am not privy to. Most suggestions I will make come from data or learnings from other people or companies, most of which are Latinx owned.

While this article does stand alone, it is probably helpful to read through Part 1: Player Marketing and Part 2: Marketing to Women first.

Part 3: Speaking French is Romantic, but Speaking Spanish is Lucrative

(Speaking Spanish is also sexy, as Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek would like to remind us).

Read More »

The NHL’s Growth Problem (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Non-Traditional Market Pt 2)

This particular article is a bit harder to write, because as a woman, I feel extremely passionate about female fans in sports, and just how underserved that demographic is. Every woman I’ve ever spoken to about sports has some sort of story about how her ‘worth’ as a fan has been questioned, usually by fellow male fans. There was an excellent research piece done by @phylliskessel13 over at Pension Plan Puppets studying the interaction between gender and sports fandom, and you should read it.

But that’s not what this article is about. This article is about marketing, the NHL, and why the NHL needs to specifically reach out to women to further its goals of “Growing the Game.”

If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.

Part 2: Marketing to Women Isn’t About Political Correctness, It’s About Making Money

Read More »

The NHL’s Growth Problem (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Non-Traditional Market Pt 1)

As I’ve mentioned before, I come from a marketing background. It’s what gave me a basis for all my analytical work, and why I find the “business” side of hockey just as appealing as the “play” side of hockey – I’ve always been curious about how and why people spend their money.

A lot of people think marketing is just putting together advertising campaigns like in Mad Men, and while ads are certainly an important part of what marketers do, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Think of marketing like this – psychology, but for profit.

Through marketing operations, companies are attempting to create an emotional connection with their audience in order to influence the purchasing patterns and pricing thresholds of that audience.

This is what brings me to the NHL and how it differs from most of the professional sports leagues in the USA. I say USA a) because Canada’s markets are much smaller for the ‘Big 4’ (one MLB team, one NBA team, CFL instead of NFL) and b) hockey is “their” game, so the marketing for it is going to be different and omnipresent.

Why does that matter in the context of this series? Well, Canada has 7 of the 30 NHL teams, but not even half the population of the United States. Given that these articles are focusing on how to grow the game, looking at a saturated market like Canada isn’t going to help much. When you already have ~90% awareness* amongst your target audience, adding more marketing dollars to convert and retain fans brings slim returns on investment (ROI), and therefore I will be focusing specifically on the USA in this series (though many points are relevant across the border too).

I am going to break this series out into three parts I wish the NHL would specifically address in their grand scheme to “Grow the Game.”

Part 1: Humility Culture, Player Branding, and Getting ‘Em While They’re Young
Part 2: Marketing to Women Isn’t About Political Correctness, It’s About Making Money
Part 3: Speaking French is Romantic, but Speaking Spanish is Lucrative

Read More »

Long Read: When Relief is Spelled G-O-A-L-I-E

We, and by “we” I mean the Dallas Stars media, the fans, and of course, us here over at the Bearded Ladies, have spent a gross amount of time bemoaning our backup goaltending situation, and not without good cause. There was over a year between starting wins for our back up goalies, which is unheard of. Was. Was unheard of, because the Dallas Stars did it. And now people have heard. Of that. Happening.

But there is another job for the backup goalie, and I feel like this one gets less fanfare: to come in and try to save the game when the starter is hemorrhaging goals.

I pulled the “In Relief” numbers because I wanted to prove that coaches used the goalie swap not only to replace a goalie on a bad night, but more frequently to send a signal to the rest of the team that their defense needed to step up and actually suppress some shots. I first noticed this trend while looking at Shots Against Per 60 Minutes for Enroth versus Lehtonen in one of the last games of the season. It was a day and night difference.

But of course, you can’t test a theory on just four games, so I pulled the last 4 years (2011-12 season until current) of “Goalie In Relief” game data for 8 teams. In the West, we have Dallas, LA, Chicago, and Minnesota, and in the East we have Columbus, Boston, New York (Rangers), and Montreal. This sample was chosen by my twitter followers without knowledge of the goal of the project, and therefore I consider it rather random. I removed all instances I could find of goalies being replaced mid-game due to injury, giving me 146 games worth of data points.

Separating Goaltending from Shot Suppression

Read More »