Minor League Malarkey: Hair-brained schemes and ‘sucks' night

Minor League Malarkey focuses on the goofy world of minor-league hockey; from the characters to the fights to the promotions to the die-hard fans that half-fill the stands. Know of a quirky upcoming hockey promotion? Drop us a line at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com.

Business in the front, party in the back, hockey on the ice

Last Saturday, the AHL Manchester Monarchs celebrated the "business in the front, party in the back" lifestyle of those who rock the mullet (not to be confused with Al Iafrate's skullet). The first 3,500 fans received rocker wigs to don during the game against the Worcester Sharks.

Always a big hit, "Rock the Mullet Night" also featured the Monarchs players coming out for pre-game warm-ups wearing the giveaway mullets.

In 2008, the Monarchs held a mullet night where they inducted the Hanson Brothers of "Slap Shot" fame and legendary Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Barry Melrose into the "Mullet Hall of Fame," joining previous inductees Patrick Swayze, Billy Ray Cyrus and Randy Johnson. Somewhere, Ryan Smyth is silently shedding tears.

Wig out with Hartnell

Besides being known for his temper tantrums on the bench, throwing his glove while playing defense on a breakaway, Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell is also known for his ferocious mane of hair that he's yet to cut in the past year and a half.

On March 26 during a game with the Florida Panthers, the Flyers will celebrate Hartnell's untamed coiff with "Scott Hartnell Wig Night" where the first 5,000 kids will receive a bushy brown wig. (OK, so this isn't the minors; but it's the spirit of the thing.) Some of the Flyers players told NHL.com that they would sport the wigs during warm-ups before the game. Thanks to Hartnell's lack of trips to the barbershop, the Flyers had a promotional idea:

"One of our marketing guys came up and said, 'Are you going to cut your hair anytime soon?' I said I don't think so, I'll probably wait until the end of the year. He said we're thinking about doing a wig night, and I said sure, why not. Whatever puts fans in the stands and has a good laugh."

Flyers fans haven't had a good laugh since Derian Hatcher last played on the blue line.

People are still bitter about the Fresno Falcons

Please recall the former Fresno Falcons of the ECHL, who earlier this year folded mid-season, leaving the other owners in the league furious.

To help themselves vent some frustration, the Idaho Steelheads decided to have a "Fresno Falcons Suck Night" during a game last month against the Utah Grizzlies. The folding of the Falcons cost Idaho two home weekend games and the revenue that would have come along with it. During the game against the Grizzlies, fans had the opportunity to buy $8 tickets online and purchase $2 beers until the second period.

No word if Steelheads fans burned effigies of the Falcons mascot at center ice ...

This promotion could work throughout the National Hockey League, especially at New York Rangers games (Potvin Sucks Night), Detroit Red Wings games (Claude Lemieux Sucks Night), or any game that involved the Pittsburgh Penguins as the road team (Crosby Sucks Night). But really, that's just formalizing the informal.

This could lead to something more heralded around the hockey world; something similar to retiring Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 league-wide: "Gary Bettman Sucks Night," featuring a Bettman growth chart for kids under the age of 12 and free "Show Us Your V" Versus T-shirts.

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