Ice ice (hockey) baby
UNITED STATES: You're never too young to support your favourite sports team, it seems. Newborns in Buffalo, New York, get free team blankets from the local ice hockey club.
Although parents of infants commonly receive free samples of various baby products, they can now wrap the new family member in a blanket from the Buffalo Sabres ice hockey club. "Fandom in Buffalo is something that runs much deeper than in most other places," Ted Black, the Sabres' team president, told CBS Sports.
The “Newborn Program” partnership is available at several clinics. Each baby receives a yellow blanket with the team logo and the slogan "We live hockey" on it, along with the number 13. They are also awarded a certificate that claims they are first-round picks in a future team draft.
More than 6,000 babies will be born this year at the participating clinics, explains James Kaskie, president of Kaleida Health, the Sabres' health-care partner. The first baby, Haley, received her Sabres blanket just after midnight on 1 January.
Haley got her Sabres blanket just after midnight on 1 January
Ice hockey teams and clubs are looking for ways to keep fans’ spirits up, in view of the National Hockey League labour dispute with the NHL Players’ Association over salaries and pension plans, and the lockout that began in September 2012. More than half of the regular season's games have been cancelled.
Estimates of losses run between $18 and $20 million per day, and also have an effect on businesses such as pubs and restaurants, as well as on sales of products including beer and snack foods. To keep in form, a number of the NHL players have taken to the ice in other leagues in the US and Europe. Fans hope the season will resume soon.