By Barry Janoff
February 12, 2014: McDonald's, an official partner of the International and U.S. Olympic Committees as well as the NHL, is combining both alliances by adding its voice to a show on NHL Network that will track the hockey competition during the Winter Games in Sochi.
Twelve nations and more than 100 NHL players are participating in the Games, giving NHL Network plenty of story lines when it airs a nightly half-hour live program during the Winter Games, NHL Tonight: 2014 Sochi Edition presented by McDonald's.
The NHL said the show would "chronicle the men's Olympic ice hockey tournament through interviews, game analysis, news and highlights."
The men's competition begins today (Feb. 12) with the gold medal game scheduled for Feb. 23.
The hockey tournament also could be memorable in that it might be the last Winter Olympics to feature players who at the time of the Games also are playing in the NHL. Neither league executives or the NHL Players Assn. have as yet committed to playing in the 2018 Winter Games, to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Nations in the hockey tournament are Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.S.
In the Vancouver Games in 2010, Canada came away with the gold medal over silver-medalist U.S., and Russia is eyeing a repeat of the home team winning it all.
Russia's squad is being compared to the USA Basketball "Dream Team" from the 1992 Olympics, with the celebrity status and pressure within the nation of equal proportions. The 25-man squad includes 16 players from the NHL, led by team captain Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings), Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) and Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins).
The Russian squad is trying to avoid the fate of its predecessors in 1980, which lost to the underdog USA "Miracle on Ice" team in the semifinal medal round; and in 1960, when the heavily favored Soviet Union team also lost to the U.S. in the semifinal medal round. The U.S. won gold in both Games.
"Ice hockey is extremely popular in Russia, and this is very obvious from the fact that there are so many people in this audience, a lot of fans, a lot of press, and I think on the international level this is going to be the most prestigious tournament here," Vladislav Tretiak, the head of the Russian Hockey Federation said through a translator during a media event in Sochi. "Let me say this again: We understand what we have to do and we will fight for the results in every match."
NHL Tonight: 2014 Sochi Edition presented by McDonald's will be hosted by Kathryn Tappen in Sochi, with co-hosts EJ Hradek and Mark Roe and analysts Mike Johnson, Jamie McLennan and Kevin Weekes in the NHL Network's studio in Toronto.
"NHL Tonight: 2014 Sochi Edition will serve hockey fans with game highlights and exclusive player interviews away from the rink," Bob Chesterman, NHL svp-programming and production, said in a statement. "Hockey fans can expect the NHL Network to serve as the perfect complement to NBC's and CBC's coverage of the men's Olympic hockey tournament."
"Hockey fans can expect the NHL Network to serve as the perfect complement to NBC's and CBC's coverage of the men's Olympic hockey tournament."
McDonald's activations around the Sochi Games also include a multi-platform campaign anchored by TV ("Celebrate With a Bite") and a social media leg allowing people to send personalized good luck messages – or "cheers" – directly to their favorite athletes and teams by using the hashtag #CheersToSochi on Twitter, or by visiting www.cheerstosochi.com.
McDonald's said these "cheers" would be shared at a special display in the Athletes’ Village in Sochi, where athletes can "view and print the messages onto ribbons to wear around their wrists. Athletes may even tweet their appreciation back to lucky fans."
The fast-feeder has built two 24-hour restaurants in the Athlete’s Village and Main Media Center for athletes, officials, coaches and media. McDonald’s will also have five permanent restaurants in Sochi and surrounding regions that residents and visitors can use during the Games and beyond.
“McDonald’s takes tremendous pride in our 38-year partnership of the Games, and we share in the International Olympic Committee’s passion for bringing the world together.," Steve Easterbrook, global chief brand officer for McDonald’s, said in a statement. "This Olympic experience gives fans the ability to make personal connections with athletes in Sochi in a way they’ve never had before.”
Hockey fans will have access to story lines and other information via NHL.com and NHL Network both online and on-air. Included will be game previews and recaps for every game in the men's Olympic hockey tournament; plus features, blogs, standings, rosters, statistical leaders and a daily digest of each NHL player's performance.
NHL digital platforms will provide links to video and additional Olympic content through the league's broadcast partners (and Olympic rights holders) NBC and CBC.
Back to Sochi 2014
Back to Home Page