Sometimes people make life too complicated. Used to be, if you want to see a hockey game, you paid money and got a seat. Simple.
Then we have promotions, where you get a special rate, see a hockey game, and get some free crap thrown in. All in good fun, right? Well, not if the "free crap" includes a symbol of religious devotion for thousands of your fans. And certainly not if there aren't enough of them to go around.
In case that went over your head, let's recap. On Tuesday night, the Panthers played the Colorado Avalanche. They also held a "Jewish Heritage Night" celebration featuring a giant menorah, Jewish music, and bagels. Oh, and special, reduced-price Jewish Heritage tickets that entitled bearers to a free, limited-edition Panthers yarmulke. What could go wrong?
As it happened, fans got their bobby pins in a tangle over the fact that there weren't enough yarmulkes. One fan's tweet: "At guest services hanging out with an actual Hebrew woman who is distraught about lack of yarmulkes."
Apparently, the team had originally promised free yarmulkes "to all ticket buyers." Then they changed it to include only the cut-rate Jewish Heritage tickets. The Juice called Panthers administration to ask what happened, and they said that the God-caps were never intended for people who had bought the regular-priced tickets, and...
OK. We were trying not to steer headlong into a stereotype, but here, alas, it is. The free yarmulkes were available only to people who bought a discounted ticket. What's more, those discounted tickets were still available at the door the night of the game. So the people who didn't get them were either spurned season-ticket holders or had been duped into paying too much for a hockey game. But if the blogs are any indication, they're only pissed about not receiving yarmulkes.
So much for the Hanukkah spirit. A Panthers spokesman refused to speculate on whether this promotion may have seemed offensive or, at best, really weird.
But if you're a fan of Jewish heritage or just a gentile who thinks it would be hilarious to wear a yarmulke with a badly stitched panther on it, don't despair. Extra yarmulkes are still available -- for the retail price, of course - -by calling 954-835-PUCK.