Along with inconsistent officiating, the 2010 FIFA World Cup was highlighted by the constant buzzing sounds of the much-maligned vuvuzela. Complaints from television viewers and even some players weren't enough for FIFA to ban supporters from bringing them into stadiums during the tournament.
But in the eyes of six English soccer teams, the New York Yankees, UFC, numerous stadiums around the world and now the Atlanta Thrashers, the vuvuzela is not the type of in-game noise franchises desire from their crowds.
Earlier this month we surveyed a handful of NHL teams about the potential for a ban on vuvuzelas in their arenas for the 2010-11 season. We were told that no discussions had taken place on the topic at that moment; but with the decision by the Thrashers yesterday -- and with training camp's just a month and a half away (!) -- it wouldn't be a surprise to see more NHL clubs follow suit.
But does the vuvuzela have its practical purposes in NHL arenas? In D.C, the Washington Capitals fan known as "Horn Guy" has demonstrated the proper use of the vuvuuzela for the past few seasons inside Verizon Center.
Of course, this is someone who is using the horn to inspire support from his fellow fans. Should 1,000 or so Caps fans grab their horns and make the inside of Verizon Center sound like one big bee hive ... well, that'd just ruin the fun. And that's what some NHL teams, like the Thrashers, might be afraid of happening
The NHL online store sells everything from logo-imprinting toasters to portable party fridges to these. But vuvuzelas with NHL team logo's on them? Sure, might be a good idea to sell them on the heels of the World Cup; but if you think you're going to get past security with that, good luck. That is, unless some team (or deeply pocketed sponsor) decides to make some news and use them as a fan giveaway.
In a Veeck-ian type move, vuvuzelas were given out as a promotion during a June game between the Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays and the experiment ended poorly, with some players and umpires wearing earplugs to drown out the hideous drone. Inside an NHL arena, that idea might go over as well as Disco Demolition Night did on the diamond. The Thrashers have banned the vuvuzela; who's next?