Ads inside nets: Giving new meaning to 'biscuit in the basket'

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

It's a joy to watch replays of games from yesteryear on NHL Network and see zero advertising on the ice and along the boards. These days, ads are beginning to move into nearly every location, whether it's a sponsored television highlight, power play or electronically finding their way behind the goal along the glass.

In keeping with that trend, the Quad City Mallards of the IHL introduced something last month that hadn't been seen in any form of professional hockey: advertising inside the net.

Teaming up with restaurant chain Hardee's, the Mallards are giving fans the opportunity to get an added benefit each time their team scores:

The Hardee's "Biscuit in the Basket" promotion will deliver coupons good for free Hardee's biscuits to a different row of a section randomly selected at each home game for each goal scored by the Mallards at the i wireless Center this season. If the Mallards score at least four goals in a home game, the entire designated section wins free biscuits. The Hardee's logo has been painted on the ice inside the nets at the i wireless Center to serve as a most appropriate target for Mallards marksmen this season.

We've seen fans get rewarded for goals around the NHL for the past few years. The New York Islanders reward fans with free Wendy's chili if the team scores three goals, which always leads to the fun "We want chili!" chants after the second goal is scored.

Mallards owner Chris Lencheski comes from NASCAR where anything and everything has been sold for ad space. Bringing that approach to minor league hockey, Lencheski has even sold as much ice space as possible at the iWireless Center. The result? Quad City was close to reaching its goals in sales of tickets and sponsorships early into their season.

Could we see ads like this at NHL arenas? It's possible. Advertising on goalies has been discussed. Plenty of teams could use the extra sponsorship revenue. Businesses would really enjoy seeing their company logo on television when the replay camera inside the goal is used.

It's only inevitable. Free Tim Horton's in Toronto! Free Geno's in Philly! Free Jack in the Box in Los Angeles! As long as free food is on the line, fans won't mind.

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