If you've wondered -- as I have -- why the heck the NHL/Marvel Comics crossover known as The Guardian Project exists, well, the answer has nothing to do with surfing cyber-ducks or Juggernaut in an Edmonton Oilers jersey.
No, to quote the wise and all-powerful Yogurt, "Merchandising! Merchandising! Where the real money is made!"
From an NHL press release:
All-Star Youth/Infant/Toddler apparel sales were the best in seven years and up 98 percent over the 2008 Atlanta All-Star and up 150 percent over 2009 in Montreal. Sales were partially driven by the success of The Guardian Project™ merchandise with Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes super hero character apparel selling out.
Of course, superhero-hockey crossover is a perfect way to engage the younger fan, and the league has pretty much said that this was its intention. So for old curmudgeons like myself, it may be difficult to understand the point of The Guardian Project, but it's certainly an outside-the-box method of trying to get new, younger fans into the game -- the same fans that have the attention span of, well, a small child and freak out whenever the team mascot runs into the arena.
However, if they introduce The Guardian Project: The FLAMETHROWER!!!!, then I'm driving down to Target and buying one.