Puck Daddy - NHL

UPDATE (10:45 a.m. EDT): Just spoke with an NHL official who told me that the League has in fact changed its policy on media guides beginning with the 2008-09 season. It's no longer asking for a mandatory allotment of hard copies from each franchise, as the NHL is going completely electronic with this season's guides. The official said it's up to individual teams, rather than the NHL, whether or not to print media guides for their press boxes or for sale to fans. So it's up to outraged puckheads to pressure teams into continuing the great tradition of annual media guides. For the record: This decision by the NHL was indeed part of its effort to "go green." Admirable, but unfortunate in this case.

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In an electronic world, I still find myself flipping through NHL media guides for vital information about minor trades, playoff history, uniform numbers and Jamie Langenbrunner's favorite movie ("The Usual Suspects," and now you can win that bar wager). But more than a just a resource, the media guide is one of the few items my family collects on an annual basis; it's a rite of passage during the first trip to the arena for a new regular season.

If you treat these things as keepsakes, get ready for some heartbreak: Jim from PittsburghHockey.net reported yesterday that the NHL, in an effort to further "go green," is planning to do away with hardcopy media guides:

In an effort to "reduce paper waste" the NHL has mandated that all teams stop the annual publication of media guides. The league will also end it's publication of the yearly record book. The media guides will still be produced, but will only be distributed electronically in the form of the pdf on the exclusive NHL media site, and in some cases, on each team's website.

This bums out the hardcore stats geeks and media guide collectors, but we'll have to live with the tree-saving mandate. We'll cherish all 40 Penguins guides and hope that the trees that will be saved might find new life in the form of wooden hockey sticks. Remember those? Ban the composite sticks for the sake of old time hockey!

I contacted Jim, who said he's confirmed the information with a few sources that edit the team guides. I also have an e-mail into the League, and will update this post when I hear back.

Off the top of my DayQuil-affected head, I can think of a few wasteful exploitations of dead trees that should go before media guides do.

Pennants. Seriously, who's buying pennants these days? There's zero chance you're getting it out of the arena without a crease in its flimsy design. And it's always bigger than the bag they give you, so there's also a chance it's going to end up with a mustard stain from the pretzel that's also too big for the tray they give you.

Programs. First of all, call them what they are: Advertising supplements for local car dealerships and radio stations. Growing up, they served three purposes for me: A way to get that night's rosters; an entertainment option when my father would go out for a smoke break; and finding that page with Bruce Driver's autograph in order to find out if I was one of the lucky contestants for Score-O that evening. Other than that ... save a tree.

Napkins. Unless you're a suit, you're wearing a hockey sweater anyway. This is why they come with sleeves.

Reduce the press box releases. Not that I'm complaining all that much, because they do make life easier, but the average NHL media relations department produces more paper on a game night than Dunder Mifflin. Two hundred copies of the release telling us that the AHL affiliate has a new color commentator? Really? Now, to be fair, the majority of untaken press materials are recycled by NHL teams. But, to be honest, the majority of taken press materials are used as napkins, coasters and confetti by members of the press.

Stop licensing hockey cards. At the very least, media guides don't exist to fuel a secondary resale market. Nor are they meant to provide endless fodder for nerds hosers collectors who open boxes of Upper Deck packs on Web cams to document that special day when they find a few threads of Milan Hejduk's jersey wedged under his photo. This makes media guides, by default, infinitely more valuable to society.

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