Pro sports leagues are weird things. On the one hand, they exist solely for profit. They always have, that's why they have been created. The NHL generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. To that end, they sell everything from merch to tickets to tours to TV rights. They only really want to remind you of the for-profit nature of the beast when there's a player transaction. A player is traded or not re-signed and everyone sighs and says "it's a business, oh well" like something being a business makes it okay.
Fine, it's a business. We're reminded of that every day. Here are a few examples:
Ads on Jerseys: totally happening
It may not be this year or next year, but it's coming. They've been creeping onto practice jerseys, they're already on just about every hockey league that's not the NHL. The NHL won't turn its back on a highly lucrative revenue stream, even if they do a terrible job of negotiating a TV contract.
Thanks to Mike Leonard for the jersey photoshops.
A tax-dodging billionaire owns your team
This is true of just about every team in every league, but it's especially true of the Boston Bruins. Jeremy Jacobs made some headlines recently for taking the IRS to court over $85,000 claimed as tax-deductible team meals and hotels. The Bloomberg report even throws shade on the team for calling themselves "World Class."
Everything with a logo on it
The NHL does not consider anything "too sacred" to put a logo on it. If you can wear it, you can buy it with a logo on it and a significant markup. Everything from underwear to winter jackets. If you can carry it, you can buy it - or in the case of phones and tablets, a case for it - with a logo on it. Or a player's face.
Because it's a business.