Chilling Effect? SL Hockey League Skates Over NHL IP

by Alphaville Herald on 08/02/07 at 11:58 am

by Fiend Ludwig

[Editor's note: When we sent Fiend Ludwig to cover the SL Hockey League, he found the gameplay impressive, though it looks like their merchanidising scheme could use some help from a virtual zamboni.
--Walker Spaight


I have watched hockey for as long as I can remember. In the winter when it is cold enough I play shinny on the outdoor rink near my house. In the summer I play hockey in an arena on my in-line skates. I love hockey. A couple of days ago, I watched a hockey game in Second Life; the final game of the Second Life Hockey League’s first season. Currently there are only two teams, the Whales and the Wolves, though sources tell the Herald this may expand to four next season.

Hockey probably has reasonable potential to become a popular spectator sport in Second Life, and with an increased number of teams in the league, this potential will only grow. The game appears fun to play and easy to learn. A basic equipment package is even available (almost) free — L$1 — at the rink. But not all was as smooth as it seemed.

When I arrived at the rink at »Jericho Hill«, the teams were warming up — rezzing their gear and skating laps of the ice surface. After some last-minute team juggling, the puck was dropped and play was underway. Even though there were quite a few spectators — 15 or so — the gameplay appeared quite smooth. The puck was difficult to see from a distance, but the players seemed to have no problem keeping track of it. A scripted scoreboard managed the game, dropping a new puck when the one in play went off the rink, announcing goals, and calling time at the end of the periods.


The final score was Whales 8, Wolves 1, which snapped a three game losing streak for the Whales, and solidified their first-place position at the end of the regular season with a record of 16-13-1. Following the game, a bevy of awards was distributed to the outstanding players in the league.

While a nicely put-together hockey game like this could easily catch on in Second Life, it seems very risky for the organizers of the SLHL to have real-life NHL team logos emblazoned around the rink, and for them to use the NHL “shield” shape for the SLHL symbol:


Professional sports leagues are highly protective of their copyrighted logos. [Authors note: See Uri's recent infringement article for a broader comment on this.] And as for the Linden Cup, all I have to say is — sacrilege! How dare you attach the name Linden to such a hallowed vessel?!


OK, so perhaps that was a bit harsh, but this is SL: you can create trophies in any shape imaginable. Using the NHL to sell this idea is the wrong way to proceed. Instead, build upon the clever game-play, low entry cost, and fan participation, and the product will sell itself.


14 Responses to “Chilling Effect? SL Hockey League Skates Over NHL IP”

  1. Jimbo Quality

    Feb 8th, 2007

    Ironically, I’ve been looking for the SL Hockey league for weeks now. Well done.

  2. csven

    Feb 8th, 2007

    Wow. I remember when speaking out against trademark infringement was a *bad* thing. Now it’s

  3. Prokofy Neva

    Feb 8th, 2007

    Again, before everybody climbs on the indignant, outraged, self-righteous bandwagon, I will remark again that there are no big corporations, entities, associations, organizations, that have ever slammed on LL and ordered them or their customers to take down stuff. That day may come, but then, those little avatars may say that their little dinky reference to the big guy wasn’t for profit, only had 39 eyeballs on it in what amounts to a private home of sorts, and was no big deal.

    We might GASP even live to see GASP one of those things the tekkies get all orgasmic about called EMERGENT BEHAVIOUR in which the corporations decide that they will not chase their logos and IP inside little games, because they help viral branding and good will. In fact, in the absence of a single case since 2003 when they opened the grid, I’d have to say that’s more than likely.

  4. csven

    Feb 8th, 2007

    …just an opportunity for Prok to talk.

  5. Prokofy Neva

    Feb 9th, 2007

    ..just another opportunity for csven to show off that he was on this issue “first”

  6. Anon

    Feb 9th, 2007

    .just another opportunity for me to continue a comment thread senselessly

  7. Alex Fitzsimmons

    Feb 10th, 2007

    I don’t know … I think Prokofy might be right.

    At the very least, the point he made is valid and worth considering.

  8. Crissa

    Feb 11th, 2007

    Of course, there’s dozens of shields, and whether they own the copyright on a shield logo is something you could go and look up…

  9. Crissa

    Feb 11th, 2007

    Of course, trademarks are another issue, but having heraldry doesn’t mean hey own every version thereof; and one has to even declare that it is in competition, which the SL league probably is not.

    Large franchises generally don’t go after their amateur or fans unless they’re in direct competition (often shirts or regalia), and with fifteen people watching and one blog reporting, I doubt that’s really going to happen.

  10. Crissa

    Feb 11th, 2007

    While the Anti-Defamation League may be able to hold the word Defamation sacred, it’s not because of any legal position – it’s because they have lots of money and who’s wanted to fight them on that merit alone?

    Legally, one cannot hold a word as their own – which is why many trademarks are combonations or words, foriegn, or misspellings.

  11. Artemis Fate

    Feb 11th, 2007

    I, for once, agree with Prokofy here.

    I don’t think most corporations will give a shit, and in leiu of all the recognization of viral marketing, they’ll probably see it as beneficial. There’s probably hundreds if not thousands of fan sites for NHL teams that use the logos and such that are allowed to exist for the sake that it’s good advertising and as long as they’re not profiting directly off of the logos, it doesn’t really matter.

  12. Moja

    Feb 20th, 2007

    I say get a life…and move on.. when it all comes down to it.. People are so jealous they didnt do anything great in sl that they try to mess is up for the rest…

  13. Tie Roux

    Dec 5th, 2007

    Game of hockey is great…the league is not. The league is run by a middle aged man who is trapped in a 5 year old’s mind. There is no freedom of speech there, which i like to think of it as a dictatorship. Jack cannot handle the league, which is falling apart, and makes me even the more happier. There are way to many accounts of muting, banning, and other crap that doesnt belong in hockey. Jack may try to be the “sane, nice guy owner who listens to everyone’s problem and doesnt edit or delete post, nor does he ban people because of their opinions,” which all of the above is false, and he pretends to run the league fairly, which is another load of crap that has come out of his already pathetic self. The league is composed now of “butt kissers” and “yes men” and if you say anything that goes against the league then youre banned. Hell, most of the time Jack deletes your posts and pretends not to have done it. All in all, the league has proven over time to be better looking then it really is, and its really not worth your time. If anyone has any doubts about what i have just said, or they dont believe me, i have notecards and posting that will prove you wrong, so instant message me in second life.

  14. Jack Belvedere

    Aug 7th, 2008

    Looking around the web for links to add to our league history, and came across this. Thanks to the author for the review. We continue to go strong, now about to enter Season 6 and 3 years of online hockey! :D We have a brand new script now and pretty excited to start the next season. If you’re reading this, feel free to come check it out. It’s all free.

    Tie’s comments…Wow. For the casual reader..This was a guy we had to boot from the league and ban from the sim for numerous problems with profanity, griefing, and poor sportsmanship at games.

    We’re continuing to welcome anyone looking for something different to do in Second Life! Stop on by Jericho Hill or send me an instant message in game.

    Jack Belvedere, SLHA Commissioner

Leave a Reply