Mediating Sport, Myth, and Masculinity: The National Hockey League’s “Inside the Warrior” Advertising Campaign

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This study examines the development and production of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) 2005–2006 “Inside the Warrior” advertising campaign. Three aspects of the creative process are explored: (1) the context of the 2004–2005 NHL lockout season that led to the League’s ensuing relaunch and rebranding exercise for a new professional ice hockey product within the entertainment industry; (2) the promotional devices used in the campaign that accentuate its explicit hypermasculine “warrior” theme; and (3) interviews with executives from Conductor that offer important insights on their construction of a warrior theme and the existent nature of the crisis of masculinity. Taken collectively, it is argued that the NHL’s “Inside the Warrior” campaign is exemplary for exploring the crisis of masculinity inasmuch as it highlights how one major sport-entertainment-media partnership created, produced, and (re)presented a mythical form of hegemonic masculinity, a contemporary hockey warrior hero, for public consumption.

The author is with the School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

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