It was interesting to observe the reaction throughout the day to the Erik Karlsson injury. For those who have not heard the news yet, Erik Karlsson suffered a lacerated achiles tendon in a freak accident when he was battling for the puck with Penguins’ forward Matt Cooke. My initial reaction to the injury was that it was intentional, mainly because it was Matt Cooke, but after looking at the replays time and time again, it is an accident.
However, following the injury, Twitter began filling from tweets from Reebok, Bauer and Tuff-n-Lite hockey to advertise their cut resistant socks. What I find interesting is that the manufacturers have jumped on one of the NHL’s star players’ injury and use it for their commercial purposes.
What I find funny about all this is that no-one has come out saying the same thing with the head injuries. I know I’ve discussed within the blog about the helmets and their real potential of protecting a player from a concussion, but still. I guess head injuries are a bit of a taboo to talk about, but if manufacturers are bold enough to take commercial benefit of an injury that could end a players’ season, then surely they could do the same for head injuries, unless you know, the manufacturers know that no helmet can protect your head from serious head injury.
We have seen concussions despite players wearing the latest and greatest in head protection and even saw Blake Geoffrion suffer a fractured skull despite his helmet staying on his head.
What I’m trying to say here is that it would be in bad taste to say “You know Blake Geoffrion would not have sustained a fractured skull if he wore a XYZ helmet.” and it is in equally bad taste to say that your cut resistant sock will protect you or prevents cut injuries, whilst taking advantage of a players’ injury.
If player safety and protection from cuts in hockey is such a great concern for manufacturers, why have they not made a big play about these products before? (I do let of Tuff-n-Lite hockey off as its whole business is around cut resistant socks and wrist guards).
I may be over reacting to it, but I just feel that the marketing push has been done in poor taste and is trying to exploit and injury, rather than building a campaign around it to prevent such injuries. In the corporate world it is generally frowned upon if you start taking advantage of your competitors’ misfortune and try to make money off it. You never know it might end up biting companies mentioned above.
Why aren’t cut resistant socks mandatory?
The trouble here is that many NHLers and pro players around the world play without skate socks and cuts can happen at any time. If the NHL wanted to cut down on cuts, it should make cut resistant socks mandatory, or have is equipment provider come up with a cut resistant sock that goes over the shin pads. Where it might not cover the achiles area, it would provide some protection from cuts. Remember that in 2010 Teemu Selanne suffered a cut on his quads.
Remember when Richard Zednik was cut in the throat by Olli Jokinen’s skate? There was a lot of talk of making neck guards mandatory, but to this date we have not seen them as a mandatory piece of protective equipment. Same with visors, we have seen eye injuries and yet the visor is not a mandatory piece of protective equipment. The thing is, if a player doesn’t want to wear something, they wont. In the Finnish professional leagues, players are required to wear neck guards and where players dislike wearing them, they do so because it is part of the league rules.
My personal view on cut resistant socks is that I’ve only seen long skate socks from Reebok and Bauer and I did not like the feel of them on my skin, so I use just the standard skate socks that you can buy. But that’s just my personal preference.