Way back in 1978, the NHL allowed teams to start selling advertising space along the boards of their rinks. By the time I was a hockey card–collecting kid in the late 1980s, the trend had caught on. From snack foods to car manufacturers to banks to fast food restaurants, board advertisements really ran the gamut—and they still do.
This series will explore some of the advertisements that also managed to make their way onto hockey cards.
There's Brian Bellows on his 1990-91 Upper Deck card. Notice that advertisement beside his right arm? It's for a company called Body Glove. Here's a better view of their logo.
The company still exists today, largely in the same form. They sell swimwear, surfing gear, and more, and appear to be as popular as ever.
For those of you wondering why in the world a company that catered to the culture of surf, sand, and sun would want to advertise in a hockey rink, I understand the befuddlement. But there's a good explanation.
Look at the hockey card again. Based on the blue color of the dasher rail around the top of the boards (much more often they were yellow or red), and the fact that Mr. Bellows is wearing his road uniform, I'm going to guess that this game was held at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, where the Kings played their home games back then.
Hockey was booming in LA at the time, as Wayne Gretzky's recent arrival was bringing many more fans to the arena to watch the sport. And The Great One's influence stretched beyond the rink. Just look at this glorious magazine advertisement for Ultra-Wheels inline skates, for example.
Instead of jogging down the strip in Santa Monica or Venice Beach, you can bet more and more people were rollerblading—some very likely wearing Body Glove apparel.
And if you're the Kings, you've got to advertise to your target market, right?
That raises a question. Did any of you own some Body Glove clothing back then? What about now? Share in the comment section, and thanks for reading!
I like this concept of a series. I pay particular attention to car ads on the boards myself. Don't think I've heard of that company before. I have that card but to me it was just another unknown logo.ReplyDelete
Thanks Billy! I've been finding some interesting ads, so stay tuned.Delete
Isn't it odd that my reaction to the Gretzky ad is to tell Wayne to "pull out your shirt" when my mom was always telling me to tuck it in.ReplyDelete
This doesn't apply now but I always found it interesting that NHL rinks had a bunch of advertising while minor league rinks had almost none. It was just the opposite for baseball. Minor league baseball outfield walls had advertising but MLB walls had none.
Wayne says he wanted to untuck the shirt, but the Ultra-Wheels people said no.Delete
Good observation on minor league rinks back then. There must be a reason, but I can't come up with one.
I don't remember having bodyglove clothing but I know as a kid I had a lot of other surf-related brands. Ocean Pacific, that was a surf brand?ReplyDelete
Boards on cards - of course in baseball there is the '87 Tim Flannery with the Sauritch board, photographed by Sauritch's brother (I've interviewed Flannery and Sauritch for my board). There are other baseball cards with surfboards - Jason Thompson of the Padres had one in the mid-90's.
Yep, Ocean Pacific was a big brand back then, too. The other one I remember was Quicksilver.Delete
I'm going to have to head over to your blog to read about that Tim Flannery card ;-)
I remember people wearing Body Glove shirts back in the late 80's.ReplyDelete
Including Corey Glover from Living Colour!Delete
My only experience with Body Glove was finding an empty BG Velcro wallet at some point as a kid. Since I had no way of knowing who's it was, I just put it in a drawer, and then about decade later, donated it to a thrift store. I had no attachment to it at the time, but kind of wish that I still had it now.ReplyDelete
Oh man, that's a shame! You could probably sell that wallet to a hipster today for a pretty penny.Delete