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Screen Shots: Kadri, NHL NFTs and Hockey Canada

Adam Proteau looks at Nazem Kadri's successful return to the Avalanche, the NHL's foray into the NFT market and the Canadian government freezing financial support to Hockey Canada.
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It’s time, once again, for a Screen Shots column. Regular readers of this space know we take a brief look at a few hockey topics here. With that said, let’s get to it.

– You can debate whether or not the Colorado Avalanche’s overtime goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday should’ve counted, but many people would agree it was nice to see forward Nazem Kadri succeeding after the adversity he’s gone through – not just this post-season, but over the course of his 12-year NHL career. Sure, there’s no question Kadri’s role as an agitating-but-talented contributor has earned him his share of detractors, but the vicious bigotry he’s been subject to is beneath contempt, and the 31-year-old has overcome the hatred to take advantage of the opportunity he’s been given on this Avs team.

It’s amazing sometimes to see the hockey gods at work, and after Kadri’s thumb was broken in the Western Conference Final against Edmonton, there was ample doubt he’d be able to return to action before the playoffs ended. But he did just that, playing in his first Cup Final game Wednesday, and shaking off any pressure to produce by coming through when his teammates needed him to. The Avalanche are now one win away from winning the third Cup in franchise history, and Kadri has earned a place for his name on the trophy. Hate on, haters; the rest of us are happy to see some good karma come Kadri’s way.

– The NHL and NHL Players’ Association announced a partnership with collectibles company Sweet that marks their first official business relationship with the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) industry. Maybe old age is getting to us and we’re not the target market, but we’re a little skeptical as to how successful this venture will be.

No less of a financial leviathan than Bill Gates is on record as saying NFTs are “100 percent based on ‘greater fool theory'“, the notion that overpriced commodities will increase in value only when there are investors willing to shell out more money for them. The average hockey fan likely won’t have the financial wherewithal, or the keen interest, to invest large sums of money in “digital experiences” or sports status symbols. You can see why the league and players’ association would want to exhaust all possible revenue streams, but it's still an avenue raising eyebrows.

– It was the right move by the Canadian government this week to freeze financial support to Hockey Canada in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal involving a now-24-year-old woman who alleged she was assaulted by numerous Canadian hockey players in 2018. Hockey Canada executives testified before a parliamentary committee that the public funds it receives from the federal government were not used in a financial settlement with the woman, but the lack of transparency and accountability does not reflect well on the organization.

If Hockey Canada is going to continue to accept public monies, it must take steps to be responsible to the public for its decisions. It’s really that simple. To prevent further assaults from taking place, it needs to demonstrate to everyone that nobody is above the law. The way to do that is by openly investigating allegations, not sweeping them under the rug and hiding behind non-disclosure agreements.

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