Whenever any sport claims that it's giving "a gift" to its fans, whether it's a new wild card setup, an extra round in the playoffs or something actually unique or cool such as the Winter Classic, those decisions by the powers-that-be are really geared toward taking money out of fans' wallets. Apparently, all the money we spend on tickets and merchandise just isn't enough. They have to come up with more and more ways to gouge us (PSLs, anyone?). Of course, there's nothing wrong with marketing or, to quote Mel Brooks, "merchandising," and lo and behold, if one goes to the Shop at NHL.com, the league has numerous Winter Classic-themed gifts and memorabilia for sale.â†µ
The stuff ranges from the "I really need that" to the useful to the throwaway to the absurd to the who-the-heck-came-up-with-that. By now everyone's seen the new-retro-throwback-but-they-never-actually-wore-those jerseys that the New York Rangers will be wearing when they face the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 2nd. In the "useful" department there are T-shirts, sweatshirts and women's apparel. But wait, there's more. One can buy a teddy bear if one wants to commemorate the Winter Classic of 2012 by snuggling. Bobbleheads are always popular. Always wanted a miniature toy zamboni? Now's your chance. How about a pilsner glass to pour your Schaefer in when you're having more than one? Don't be the only one on your block not to have a Winter Classic 24-kt. gold coin. And finally, the question is not "Who would want a Winter Classic gnome?" but instead, "Who wouldn't want one?" So hurry and order that special chotchke, sit back and watch the game -- but if you get a little chilly, you can always slip on your Winter Classic Dread Head Knit Hat to keep you warm and cozy.