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The maddening fact that hockey didn't appear on "Mad Men"

Jul 28, 2010, 3:45 PM EDT

Few TV programs leave audiences enraptured like AMC’s “Mad Men” does. While the misogyny makes many squirm, there’s little doubt that the smoky, boozy period piece provides some of the most artful and gripping television around.

As if playing Don Draper wasn’t enough, star Jon Hamm is also awesome because he’s a hockey fan. Specifically, he’s a St. Louis Blues fan, as you can see from this advertisement.

OK, we’ve established that both “Mad Men” and Jon Hamm are awesome. So, why, exactly would someone pass on hockey being involved with the seminal TV show? I don’t know, but the Los Angeles Times shares the fact that a rights holder denied show creator/”Sopranos” executive Matt Weiner the chance to have hockey playing in the background of the latest season premiere of the show.

It’s not that the producers didn’t know there wasn’t a night football game for Don to be watching. It’s that they couldn’t get the rights to the hockey game they wanted Don to be watching. Sunday’s episode took place on Saturday, Nov. 28, 1964. That night, the New York Rangers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1.

Unfortunately, “Mad Men” was unable to secure any rights for audio or video of that game. The producers wanted some background noise from the television and instead went with audio of a football game. The audio was not supposed to be discernible, but obsessed viewers (like this one) could pick up the play-by-play of a football game.

I hate to say it, but this is one of those classic “little things” that never seem to work out for hockey. Sure, the NHL (and the sport in general) is enjoying some positive momentum but why not embrace any moment to celebrate the game? It’s obviously not something that would have made millions of new hockey fans, but it doesn’t explain why you’d reject the chance to be a part of an intensely popular and respected TV show.

Oh well, that’s hockey for you.

(H/T to Puck Daddy)

  1. Kevin Greenstein - Jul 28, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    Yes indeed, quite odd that they went with audio of a night (?) football game between Cornell and Princeton. I thought the same thing when it was playing (not that it should have been a hockey game per se, but that the football game was an odd choice).

  2. basid37 - Jul 30, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    This has gotten out of hand.
    Don Draper was watching the Princeton-Cornell football game NOT on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but on the Saturday BEFORE Thanksgiving, November 21, 1964. It was in the afternoon – before an evening date. And indeed, on that date, Princeton beat Cornell, 17-12.
    The denial if rights to a Rangers-Maple Leafs game was a surmising by the author that was inaccurate regarding the date and and envisioned a scenario – the denial of rights to use the hockey game – that doesn’t exist.
    After failing to score on his date, Don may very well have consoled himself by going home and watching a Rangers game, broadcast on WPIX, channel 11, with Win Elliot doing the play by play. But the original LA Times blogger got it wrong, and this inaccuracy has been picked up and run with (sorry for the football analogy) by other blogs, without checking the accuracy of the “facts”.

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